3 Tips for Lifting Response and Profits
These are tough times for direct marketers across the board. Postage and paper costs continue to rise, the economy is sluggish and response rates are falling as consumers become more judicious with their purchases. Customer files are shrinking, and marketers are taking a hit.
Jason Riccardi, vice president of global circulation management and database marketing for B-to-B and B-to-C direct marketing solutions provider MeritDirect, describes this shriveling consumer base problem as a "leaky bucket" in his whitepaper, Three Ways to Lift Response and Profitability. He goes on to illustrate that the "water inside is your customer file ... more and more of your customers drip away." In order to maintain size, explains Riccardi, marketers must fill the bucket just as fast as the water drips. Here are three tips he offers on just how to keep that leaky bucket full.
1. Align Your Testing Plan With Your Goals. Riccardi says companies too often look for a breakthrough in response rates by testing ideas that are designed to provide small incremental lifts when they are looking for big increases in response, many times focusing on creative. Creative, according to Riccardi, is only a small driver of response, whereas open rate tests can have a bigger impact. Marketers should make sure they know what kind of tests can lead to the results they are seeking. "Ensuring that your tests are in line with your goal," Riccardi wries, "ensures that testing dollars, and more importantly time is not being wasted."
2. Put Something in the Envelope. Adding weight and additional postage in this time of high postal costs sounds crazy, but Riccardi stresses: "Sometimes crazy can work." Putting something in the envelope other than paper, he says, makes the mailing stand out and creates a virtual 100 percent open rate because people are compelled to see what's inside, even if they already know. He also notes that when people feel like they are getting something for free, they take advantage of it, making your campaign even more likely to get opened. The whitepaper also encourages marketers to tout the item, using the word "free," on the outer.
3. Outsourced Circulation Management. The best-kept secret, says Riccardi, is outsourced circulation planning. Most small to midsized companies struggle to monitor the marketplace, identify trends and take advantage of cutting-edge techniques in-house because they operate in a vacuum and turnover disrupts the flow. Hiring an outsourced circulation management team that can focus all its attention on these matters can remedy the situation and save you money in the long run.