A Road Less Traveled
Staying in touch with your customers is no easy task--as any direct marketer will tell you--and trying to get a repeat sale can be an even harder proposition. But Prentice Hall has taken a route that makes doing both seem like a simple task.
Prentice Hall, a publisher of mostly business books, has found a way to reach and thank its customers, while at the same time pitch another sale to them. We recently received a mailing from the company in a white, #10 envelope with three clear plastic windows (801PREHAL0801B). Visible through the largest of the windows is a message stating, "Thank you for your order." Inside is a letter with a short note thanking the customer for payment on her recent order. But what we also found is an offer to purchase four more books that are related to the one the customer had already bought.
The offer--a 30-day free trial on any, or all, of the books presented--gives the customer the option to either keep the books and pay the balance later, or return them and be charged nothing. Enclosed is a postage-paid BRE that allows the consumer to choose to either pay now or receive a bill later. Most importantly, the letter also includes black and white images of the suggested books, along with a brief description of each.
This approach works for a few reasons. First, since the recipient is already a customer and the letter directly mentions the purchase, she is more apt to open the mailing, thinking that this letter is in reference to that previously placed order. Upon opening the envelope, the customer is likely to be pleased with a letter of thanks. Second, the letter recalls what the customer purchased and is offering her similar titles. Here, Prentice Hall runs with the chance to provide personalization, and it works. Third, the offer is not just to purchase additional titles, but to let the consumer test them during a 30-day free trial. This removes the burden of immediate payment, thereby enhancing the offer. In addition, this type of marketing is relatively inexpensive and can yield sizeable profits.