Koeppel sees higher conversion in phone, Web address combo for infomercials

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Companies who use direct response television are finding the Internet to be an increasingly significant part of their marketing mix and a more cost-effective means of conversion.

Along with toll-free numbers, marketers increasingly are placing Web site addresses in their spots and beefing up their product sites.

"We're seeing more conversion of TV and the Internet," said Peter Koeppel, president and founder of Koeppel Direct, a direct response media buying agency in Dallas.

"Fifty percent of the people have high-speed broadband connections, so it's easy for them to log on to the Web site when they're watching a DRTV spot," he said, "and we're finding anywhere from 15 to 70 percent of the purchasers are making the purchase online instead of through the 800 number, which is actually good for the DRTV marketer because they're not paying the telemarketing costs."

Mr. Koeppel said that while some marketers feel they may not be getting the conversion they want, he has tested using the Web address in spots.

"One client didn't want to put the Web site on there because they thought the conversion would be lower because it was a higher-price-point product and they thought the telemarketing could convert," he said. "But once they put the Web site on, the overall sales went up 15 percent.

"Because people have high-speed broadband connections a lot of people are running their commercial again on the Web site so that the person who may have just tuned in and watched a portion of it can watch it again," he said. "And some of them are putting an 800 number on the commercial in case they do want to call in."

In fact, Mr. Koeppel said that most companies are putting both a URL and a toll-free number in their spots.

Just as adding Web addresses has been effective for DRTV, online retailers are finding that DRTV is helping them, too.

"I've had some clients use DRTV to take their online sales to the next level," Mr. Koeppel said. "From what I've heard, eHarmony was one of the first big success stories in that area. I'd heard their sales were maybe $20 million before they added TV to the mix and then went up to $100 million. They were only tapping a certain universe online.

"We've had some success with that also, using the power of TV to drive people to Web sites," he said. "It's been very effective in taking their business to the next level."

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