Calling All Mailers: Ideas for Phone-Mail Integration
Telemarketing may have a bad rep in certain circles, but a number of direct mailers have found it to be the perfect compliment for their mailbox-bound efforts, especially when their goal is to be a little more aggressive when going after prime targets.
Take Chicago-based B-to-B publisher and seminar host Lawrence Ragan Communications, for example. Direct mail had been the centerpiece of the marketer’s efforts for years, but a desire to up the ante on its marketing efforts led the company to test some alternative channel strategies. “We needed to be a little bit more aggressive,” explains the company’s marketing director of publications, Frank Bleers. “We could do that by mailing more, but it’s not necessarily about mailing more. … So, now we follow some of [our mailings] with phone calls.”
Mailers interested in adding telemarketing to their channel mix—or those who are looking to improve the quality of an existing program—may benefit from some of Bleers’ learnings from the field:
* Choose the right efforts to call about. Telemarketing is not cheap, and it can be intrusive if it’s done too much. Determine which mail efforts will benefit most from a phone call, and try to limit the number of times a prospect or customer is contacted. Testing is, of course, the best way to figure this out.
* Test how much lead time to give. If the call comes too soon, recipients may not have received the mailing or had a chance to look through it, yet. If the call is too late, they may already have forgotten about it. For the most part, Bleers has seen seven to 14 days work the best. And in this case, erring on the side of too early is a better strategy. That way, reps can make a few calls off the list and then see if the timing is right. If not, they can put it aside and come back to it in a few days.