iChoose.com Pulls in Users With T-Shirt Giveaway

iChoose.com, a site that offers a download for consumers called the instant shopping advisor, is reducing its online CPM deals, citing them as failures. Instead, it has found success offering free T-shirts to consumers who install its software. Last Thursday, the site doubled its average daily number of installations thanks to the T-shirt offer.

The free downloaded software is a pop-up window that appears whenever a consumer proceeds to the check-out section of a site and presents the consumer with coupons and exclusive deals for the items in the shopping carts.

The CPM deals with sites fell flat because the iChoose’s name was unfamiliar and few consumers were bothering to click through, said Sheryl Gatto, vice president of consumer marketing at iChoose Inc., Dallas. Even fewer consumers downloaded the product, which is the ultimate goal of the site’s marketing efforts.

“For us, consumers visiting the site and clicking on the download is similar to someone coming and buying,” she said. “We thought we’d have good luck at shopping sites, but we didn’t see that.” There are no plans to continue those relationships.

The one campaign that has been successful has been the free T-shirt giveaway. One of the biggest problems the site faced was people who downloaded the product but never installed it. The company began offering the T-shirts as an inducement to install the software. The giveaway was supposed to be a three-day test, but the site will extend the offer indefinitely.

“I think we’d be crazy to take it down,” she said.

The site has tested the effectiveness of a variety of online and offline marketing campaigns since its launch in late November.

“My overall strategy is to test and test and make as many mistakes as quickly as I can, and refine it from there,” said Gatto.

The site’s latest efforts include testing television and radio at the end of the month.

“We’re learning what the impact of offline advertising has on specific market segments,” she said. “We’re testing variety of different mediums.”

The site considered using a celebrity for its offline campaign, but the ads tested poorly and the site decided to scrap the campaign. “Thank God for focus groups,” said Gatto.

Registering search engine keywords and cost-per-action deals with sites such as GoTo.com, FreeLotto.com and Promotions.com have been among the most effective marketing tools as of yet, according to Gatto.

“We’re going to do all of the CPA deals we can, but there aren’t that many out there,” she said.

The site is testing e-mail lists from YesMail, Cybergold, PCWorld, ZDNet and others. To date, the e-mail correspondences have been successful and the site is expanding the test significantly. iChoose.com is testing numerous offers to try and get consumers to click on an embedded link, including the ultra-successful T-shirt giveaway.

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