The Path of Least Resistance
Boost 1:1 Response Rates by Letting Your Customers Choose the Way
When marketers think about successful 1:1 campaigns, they think about factors such as the creative, the offer, the mailing list, and the selection of 1:1 variables. All of these things are critical to a successful campaign. But there is another, even simpler step that you can take to boost response rates.
It’s to provide multiple response mechanisms for your offer. Not everyone wants to respond to an offer the same way. One person might feel very comfortable responding by email. Another might prefer to respond by phone. Yet another might prefer to respond by personalized URL or general URL.
Consider your audience. A twentysomething sipping coffee in Starbucks might not respond to a tear-out form but be intrigued by a QR code directing them to a mobile website. But if you’re marketing to retirees, you might want to include both a tear-out form and an 800 number, even if you’re primarily hoping they’ll go to the Web.
Testing different response mechanisms is a great opportunity to learn about the different demographic groups in your database. One marketer recently offered recipients the opportunity to respond to the survey using a personalized URL or by filling out a tear-out card. It found a surprisingly high percentage of tear-out cards returned, many of them from older recipients who were not comfortable giving out certain information online.
So when you are planning your campaign, include detailed consideration of the response mechanisms you provide. Test different methods with different demographic groups. Once people respond, add this as a variable in your database and capitalize on this knowledge the next time.
It’s a simple way to boost your response rates, even without making any other changes.
Make your next mailing successful by offering different ways to respond, then let your customers make the choice.
Spreading the Word
Is Your Customer’s Voice Being Heard?
If you’ve been reading any of the marketing magazines lately, you’ve probably noticed the phrase “voice of the consumer” (VoC) popping up more often. VoC is an industry term for a customer-focused philosophy designed to get all areas of your business listening to customers and sharing this information toward a common goal.
Traditionally, VoC has been used at the start of new product or service launches to gauge the reception of the product. Over time, however, it has broadened to become a more comprehensive approach to customer service, customer engagement, and marketing. Your 1:1 printing strategy can be an integral part of this effort.
What is a VoC program? It can be as simple as having your customer service people keep a log of their phone calls with customers and share those logs during company meetings; or as sophisticated as an enterprise software solution that extracts and analyzes data from survey responses, email messages, company blog entries, and other communications, and turns it into actionable intelligence.
What can you learn through these programs? You might discover that a bottleneck in the online ordering process is inhibiting sales. You might uncover that a new product is tanking because it’s being merchandised in the wrong way. You might uncover an idea for a new line of services. Even your customer retention rates may benefit!
How should you get started?
Develop regular customercommunications based on 1:1 communication. Talk to your customers on a regular basis, and do it in a personalized way. Send customer surveys. Elicit feedback using personalized URLs. If the customer experiences a problem, send a personalized apology, ask for feedback on how to remedy the situation, and offer a personalized discount. Use every personalization technique at your disposal to make the customer feel noticed, valued, and appreciated.
Pull databases from different areas of the business into a separate marketing database. Consolidate data from customer support, invoicing, retail, and even online feedback forms. This gives you a full 360-degree look at your interactions with customers.
Close the feedback loop. Take what you learn to upper level management or company owners who have the power of decision making but who might not have regular contact with customers.
Take action! Too often, companies gather valuable information then let it languish without doing anything with it. Don’t make this mistake. Put a process in place to take the information you learn and use it.
Don’t be paralyzed by technology or procedure. The goal is simply to listen and to act upon what you hear. 1:1 marketing techniques with closed-loop feedback practices are a great way to get started.
1:1 Traffic Report
Using Google Analytics to Track Your Progress
If it was your New Year’s resolution to improve the effectiveness of your marketing, how do you determine if it’s working? Since one of the benefits of 1:1 print marketing is the ability to drive traffic to your website, one of the ways to determine success is to use Google Analytics and similar tools to monitor your Web activity.
Online analytics tools are about more than the number of visitors to your site. They can tell you where these visitors are coming from, how long they stay, which sites or search engines are driving the most traffic, and more.
In addition to basic site traffic, let’s look at some of the metrics Google Analytics offers.
- Absolute unique visits. Number of individual visitors (as contrasted with people who might be visiting the site more than once).
- Page views / average page views. When people come to your site, how many pages do they click on before they leave?
- Time on site. Once people hit your site, how long do they stay? Are they taking the time to read the content? Or clicking out right away?
- Traffic sources. Where are your visitors coming from? Are they typing in your URL directly? Coming from referring sites? Search engines? If the latter, which ones? What keywords are they using?
- Page navigation. Did people land on each page directly? Or did they click through another page to get there? After viewing the content, did they click through to more pages? Or leave the site?
What can you learn from this type of information?
If you’re running a specific 1:1 printing campaign, for example, you can watch how effective it is for driving website traffic—how quickly traffic peaks and how high.
Once people land on your main URL, if they leave without clicking through to other pages, it might tell you that you need to improve the relevance of your index page or make the content more compelling.
If you know the keywords being used to drive the most traffic from search engines, you can use this information in your SEO (search engine optimization) efforts.
If you track which pages people are landing on or clicking through most often, you can add content or links to those pages to maximize your message.
You make a significant investment in 1:1 print marketing, so maximize every dollar you spend. Once you’ve driven people to your website, free metrics tools can help you sharpen your message and improve site relevance, navigation, and functionality. You will capture more site visitors, hold them, and ultimately drive more conversion to sales.
Tips for Non-Profits to improve your fundraising
If you are part of a Non-Profit organization, you know that fundraising is always a challenge. Part of the fundraising process involves a continuous process of adding new members and donors, since existing donor attrition is inevitable. Below are some helpful tips that you may want to consider implementing as part of your fundraising plan.
- Create a communication strategy that involves maintaining regular contact with your members and donors. Both direct mail and email communications can be used to communicate with your members and they can often be used together to boost response rates.
- Let your members know about the good work you are doing and how their donations are being spent for these good causes.
- Thank your donors promptly for their gifts. Using a personalized letter that is signed by an officer is always a good idea. For larger gifts, a phone call to thank the donor may be in order. Show your donors your appreciation.
- Don’t ask for a donation in every communication you send to donors. Some of your communications should be more informative in nature; telling your donors about what you are doing and your plans for the future. If people know that you will ask for money every time they hear from you, they will likely tune out much of what you send them.
- Don’t lose sight of the 3 most important elements of your direct-mail fundraising: Your mailing list, your offer, and your design. You already know that your member and/or donor list is the best list. Consider having your existing donor database profiled so you can learn more about who your donors are. With this information, you can use it to find prospects who look and act the same as your donors and target them for prospect mailings and communications.
- Don’t expect prospect mailings to make money initially. Prospect mailings are designed to add new members. Once the prospect becomes a member, you can then appeal to them with future mailings and communications that can be quite profitable. Think of prospect mailings as a tool to develop new relationships with new members. Relationships take time to develop.
- Keep your mailing lists clean and updated to maximize the delivery of all mailings. And don’t forget to test everything about your mailings to determine what works best (and what doesn’t).
- Personalize your communications as much as possible. Address letters personally rather than generically. Show your members that you know them by name. Consider using the power of color variable data printing (VDP). VDP using color digital printing allows you to personalize your appeals using variable text and variable images and photos. The more information you have in your database about your members, the more personal you can make the communication that you send them.