November 16, 2005, 12:00 AM

Potpourri Group makes online marketing a top priority

Now that Potpourri is established with American Capital Strategies Inc., which invested $188 million in Potpourri in June and now owns about 83% of the organization, Potpourri is busy looking at new initiatives, including paid and organic search.

Potpourri Group Inc. spent most of 2005 getting used to a new majority owner. But now that Potpourri is firmly established with American Capital Strategies Inc., a Bethesda, MD, investment banking firm that invested $188 million in Potpourri in June and now owns about 83% of the organization, the company is busy looking at new initiatives.

For example, high on the list of priorities is expanding Potpourri’s search engine marketing capability, particularly by paying closer attention to natural search results and expanding the company’s keyword inventory. “We are optimizing our 12 e-commerce sites for organic search,” says Potpourri president and CEO Jonathan Fleischmann. “Next year we plan to implement a program to monitor the results on organic search to make sure we continue to have appropriate and high position as the search engines change their algorithms.”

Potpourri, No. 319 in the Internet Retailer Top 400 Guide to Retail Web Sites, currently has a keyword inventory of 300 words and phrases. But Potpourri, which operates TheStitchery.com, Expressions.com, BackintheSaddle.com, NaturesJewelry.com, NorthStyle.com, ThePyramidCollection.com, Serengeti.com, In theCompanyofDogs.com and other sites, is also working with Mokrynski Direct, a list manager and direct marketing services provider, to expand the company’s paid search programs on Yahoo and Google.

Another priority is developing more effective e-mail marketing campaigns to Potpourri’s core customers, which include middle and upper-middle income Baby Boom women. “We have a very active e-mail program,” Fleischmann says. “Rather than expand the scope, we will be working to improve the productivity of the campaigns through testing and using our extensive marketing database to make the messages and content of the e-mails more tailored to each individual’s interests and needs.”

Potpourri sells a broad product line of home décor, casual apparel, gifts and accessories through its catalogs and e-commerce sites. An expanded paid and natural search program and more segmented e-mail campaigns will also help Potpourri do a better job of cross-selling. "Potpourri’s multi-title format results in strong selling synergies,” says Dale Stohr, principal with American Capital. “The company is able to leverage its loyal customer base and effectively cross-market products and titles to likely buyers."

Overall the web accounts for about 25% of sales at Potpourri Group, which are expected to exceed $200 million in the 2006 fiscal year, Fleischmann says.

 

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