by Joe Niewierski
It’s a fact that your customers are your best leads. This means that the most likely people to purchase your products and/or services are the ones who have paid for them before. It’s also a fact that it costs far less money to keep a customer than it does to go out and get a new one. These are the two reasons that using direct mail postcards to keep
in touch with your customer database is a must. There are a few rules to follow when marketing to contacts in your company database.
Rule No. 1: Collect all of their information.
It sounds like a no-brainer but you would be surprised. The more information that you have on your customers the more likely it is that you will be able to get in touch with them to let them know about specials or to remind them it’s time for their next service. Also, don’t neglect to ask for your customers' email addresses, everybody has one and most will give it up pretty easily.
Rule No. 2: Don’t treat your customers like prospects.
Make sure when you collect the information in your database you differentiate between people who have placed an order in the past and people who have not. Customers want to feel like you are paying attention to them and when they have placed a few orders with you and are still getting your "10% for First Time Buyers" postcards they tend to feel unappreciated. Bottom line, if they don’t qualify for an offer you are sending out, don’t send it to them.
Rule No. 3: Don’t let your designs get stagnant.
When you are mailing to databases of people that you have never spoken to before it is OK to send them the same postcard multiple times. It helps to increase recognition and will eventually increase your response rate. Dealing with customers and prospects that you have already spoken to (meaning they already know most or all of the details of your business) you need to mix things up a bit. Your mailings should be attention getting and informative. If you have started offering a new service recently, a postcard designed to let your database know about it would be a smart move. The main point is to keep your company in the front of their mind and to keep them reading your postcards.
If the promo that you send to your database gets too repetitive your customers will lose interest and at that point you are just wasting your money on postage because your postcards won’t get the attention that you want.
One of your main goals should be to educate your customers about how your product or service works and this will in turn help them to get more use out of your entire line of products and services. Many times it is as simple as sending out mailings that make your customers aware of all that you can do for them.
Take, for example, a California based software company called Forté Systems. Not only do they use direct mail postcards to acquire new business, they know how to use them to effectively market to their current customer database as well. To fully understand how you will need a little background information.
Forté Systems is one of the current leading companies in Medical Practice Management and Billing Software. This means that their software will essentially run an entire medical office. The software can be purchased in any one of four levels, depending on budget and number of doctors working for the practice.
Once a medical practice becomes a customer of Forté Systems the marketing strategy is changed to reflect the rules above. They are no longer trying to convince the doctor to become a customer, they are now educating them on how better they can be served by Forté Systems’ products.
Now the customer receives direct mail pieces concerning:
• Updates on software upgrades (example 1)
• Notices when they are running specials (example 2)
• & information about Other Forté Systems products such as software training tutorials on CD (example 3)
This enables them to continue to service their customers at the highest level and also helps to strengthen the customers loyalty to Forté Systems. Sometimes you lose customers because they either forgot who they dealt with last time they made a purchase or they received some kind of promo from one of your competitors and decided to check it out. If the customer is constantly updated about what is available from your company they will not have to spend their valuable time doing research and will be less likely to "shop around." This will help to control the normal attrition of your database to other companies.
The pieces are all designed with the Forté Systems logo prominently displayed on the front and back - the same general feel and most importantly the same color scheme. Picking a company color or group of colors and sticking with it will help to increase recognition and readership of your promo. Simply put, your customers will get to the point that they read what you send them. They need to know it is from your company before they read it because if it doesn’t look like what they are used to you sending it may go in the trash without a second look.
Being great at what you do is not always enough to keep the customers that you have earned. With all of the competition out there today you need to be constantly reminding your customers that you are the best at what you do. Direct mail postcards are the best way to give them that reminder.
Always remember to keep mailings that you send to your database informative, attractive and most of all current. Personalize everything that you can and make sure that what you are sending to a past client actually pertains to them or their company. Anything less and your customer may start to drift, and the only people that are going to be happy when that happens are your competitors.
Joe Niewierski, the VP of Marketing & Promotion at PostcardMania, became a published writer after graduating with a BA in Advertising from the University of South Florida. Joy Gendusa founded PostcardMania in 1998; her only assets a computer and a phone. By 2004 the company did $9 million in sales and employed over 70 persons. She attributes her explosive growth to her ability to choose incredible staff and her innate marketing savvy. 70% of her staff are young creative minds under the age of 35, like Joe. Visit Joe at her website at www.postcardmania.com
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