Break Out of Your Comfort Zone
And they're ready and willing to try new things. They already know how important it is to build relationships with customers and, I expect, once they get the kinks out, they'll be a direct marketing powerhouse—maybe in five years.
Here are a few new things I wish we'd all start doing:
1. Test letters. I've seen one letter beat another by 1,300 percent! Everything else in the package was the same. Letters are cheap to test which gives you a wonderful opportunity to find the best approach, voice, edge and personality—the perfect combination to get a response. Test a letter from one of your customers, a letter from someone who works on the manufacturing side of your program, or, if you're in publishing, a letter from the author of the book you're offering. Just make sure the letter is signed by one person, not a group.
2. Try really wild things. Offers are fun, but we seem to get stuck in the discount-price categories. Try hard offers, information, books, contests, surprise gifts, or even a choice of gifts for a change. A few years ago, a medical publishing client told us she could pay only 20 cents for a premium. So we created a bumper sticker that read "Say Thanks to a Nurse." Response went up, and people called to order bumper stickers for their hospitals.
3. Test all kinds of segments in your database. Invite people to buy from you again by testing a simple letter asking them to come back. Some Doubleday Clubs use the image of a little cat begging on hands and knees in their come-back appeals. It's irresistible.
If people are defecting, ask them why. Maybe it's your product or your customer service. A survey might help you fix what is broken. (Unhappy customers who get their complaints resolved often become best customers.)