September 3, 2009, 12:00 AM

How TheUltimateFacial.com brings customers back for a second look

With about 90% of marketing prospects abandoning TheUltimateFacial.com soon after landing on its home page, Convertis Marketing has found a way to bring many of them back with targeted offers, says Walter Long, vice president of business development.

With about 90% of marketing prospects abandoning TheUltimateFacial.com soon after landing on its home page, Convertis Marketing has found a way to bring many of them back with targeted offers based on their home page click activity, says Walter Long, vice president of business development.

TheUltimateFacial.com offers free trials for its $78-per-month skin-treatment kits, but about 90% of prospects who arrive on the home page through online marketing pitches, including search, e-mail and banner ad compaigns, abandon the site without signing up for a trial or making a purchase. Now, with a system that personalizes an e-mail marketing message based on visitors’ home-page click activity, the retailer is bringing many of them back and converting them to customers, Long says.

“We’re using targeted e-mails to get back in touch with many of that 90%,” he says.

Convertis is using a visitor-tracking and targeted-marketing application from Golden, CO-based Net-Results that records the pages a shopper visited before abandoning a site, then automatically sends her an e-mail message tailored to her click activity. If a visitor just views TheUltimateFacial.com home page before abandoning the site, for example, the retailer figures she balked at the post-trial $78 monthly fee and will automatically e-mail her a $25 gift card, Long says.

But if the visitor abandons the home page after clicking the “Terms and Conditions” link, Convertis will automatically e-mail a message that explains the value proposition of its skin-care kits and trial periods in addition to a $25 gift card or other promotion, Long adds. The automated e-mails go to the approximately 40% of site visitors who enter their e-mail address to receive information from TheUltimateFacial.com.

Although Convertis declines to reveal the percentage of the targeted e-mail recipients who respond to and sign up for a trial or make a purchase, Long notes that the targeted nature of the e-mails quickly produced a higher return on investment compared to earlier attempts to win back visitors. And since deploying the Net-Results application, Convertis has increased e-mail conversion rates by about 15% by tying e-mail subject lines to the click action a visitor took on TheUltimateFacial.com, Long says.

Net-Results also provides data reports, which Convertis accesses online, that show the percentage of e-mail recipients that have responded to each e-mail message. This enables Convertis to view the effect of not only different e-mail marketing pitches, but also of e-mails by the time period in which they were sent. It has learned, for example, that two automated e-mails sent out within a day of site abandonment-the first within five hours, the second within 24 hours-produce 75% of the orders received through the post-abandonment e-mails.

Long had expected response rates to e-mails to die out quickly after the second e-mail blast, but Convertis discovered that the remaining 25% of orders come from the third through fifth e-mails. “The lesson we learned was that there is still a lot of value in continuing the communication with shoppers,” Long says. Once an e-mail recipient signs up for a trial or makes a purchase, the Net-Results system automatically removes her from any remaining e-mail blasts in the current series of marketing pitches.

Convertis had also considered using either an in-house system or other outside vendors to manage a similar targeted-marketing process, but decided to go with Net-Results because of its level of functionality and price, Long says.

Michael Ward, president and founder of Net-Results, says the cost of deploying the Net-Results software runs about $250 per month for the average Net-Results client, but can range from $99 to $2,400 per month, depending on the average number of page views over a three-month period. The high end of that range would involve more than one million page views within three months, Ward says.

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