Making the News Work for You
These powerful appeals arrived at the same time people were seeing the devastation of Andrew on the front pages of their newspapers and on television.
In all, 330,000 pieces went out, bringing $5 million.
Incidentally, if you want to create a sense of even greater urgency, use a pre-printed UPS or Federal Express form and envelope as a reply device. The prospect will perceive it as a very expensive addition to the effort and very flattering. But Federal Express and UPS envelopes and forms are free, so you only pay for those that are returned. Hopefully the order or contribution will more than offset the cost of the reply shipment.
P.S. Do you have any stories of how the news was used to generate sales or enhance customer loyalty? If so, won’t you share them with readers by posting them below? Thank you.
Takeaways to Consider
- Check out Roger Craver’s current advice in the wake of Hurricane Sandy.
- Be continually aware of news developments—internationally and nationally. Developments that impact your life also will impact your customers’ and prospects’ lives.
- At every staff meeting, raise the question: “Anything in the news that can affect our business?”
- It can cost you nothing to reassure customers and prospects that their well-being is paramount. For example, the P.S. is one of the most-read elements in a letter. Here’s a sample P.S. that could be added to every customer communication—sales letter or billing effort:
—P.S. Because of the high price of oil, many companies have raised their shipping charges. I have ordered an internal study and found a few areas where [COMPANY NAME] can trim expenses, which means your delivery costs will NOT be increased in the foreseeable future. What’s more, when you purchase of $100 or more, shipping is free.
- Note the use of “I” rather than “we.” The letter is personal correspondence from one writer to one reader. “I” write “you” a letter. “We” do not write a letter and more than one person does not sign a letter. “We” is impersonal and cold.
- If big news hits some area of the country—or the whole country—can you jump in the mail—or online—quickly with some kind relevant offer to make your customers’ and prospects’ lives easier? Not next week or next month. It has to be in the mail (or the e-mail inbox) the next day to be effective.
- Never send out a mailing that doesn’t demand a reply. That’s throwing away money, because if no one replies, you’ll never know how effective the effort was or even if it was delivered.
Ehrlich - Posted on September 13, 2006
Denny, thank you for a very interesting article: it spoke directly to my Direct Marketer's and Relationship Manager's heart. A similar story happened to me on 9.11.2001. Only the company I worked for at the time didn't see the positive impact my suggestion could have had on customer good will and business. I was at a Neurologist convention in Dublin when the Towers went down. Since many neurologists from the US attended the convention, most of them decided to spend only minimum time at the convention in order to be able to watch the news on the TV in their hotel room. Participating at a convention or fair is always a huge investment. In addition to a large booth, our company had a very nice hospitality suite, which remained empty that day. That afternoon, when I saw that most of our visitors were leaving for their hotel, I recommended that we organize a television and satellite dish in order to give people the opportunity to catch up with the news in between symposiums, so that they didn't need to go back to the hotel. Total cost for the whole duration of the convention: $ 2'000. The argument I got was: it's too expensive. I argued that considering our investment in the hospitality suite alone was close to $50'000 this was hardly a big investment. They then insisted that we would have the hospitality suite full of people and that it would be impossible to conduct business. I argued that with 9/11 in their mind, most people didn't have a head for business anyway and that this would be a great occasion to show them the human/caring side of the company. The decision remained: No!!!
Needless to say that the convention, including our booth and our hospitality suite was nearly empty for the whole duration of the event....The company clearly missed a great opportunity to foster good-will among their key target group. Especially important since they were planning the launch of their block buster medication 1 year later in the USA...