Mailing on a Shoestring Budget
Put Test Dollars Toward Offers
When you are managing on a shoestring budget, and in a down economy, be sure to test your offer. “I think in this economy marketers … have to understand the perceived value and give people a compelling reason to part with their hard-earned money, because you are competing for their shrinking expendable revenue right now,” Martel says.
Johnson says looking at the copy platform is a smart, inexpensive test. For example, if you normally lead with greed, you could test fear or exclusivity as a platform to write around or include a freemium to encourage reciprocity. He also warns that the best price or deepest discount may not always be the winner, because low prices can negatively affect a product’s perceived value, even in a down economy. “The human mind seems to think that just because the offer is better, it’s going to work more efficiently or more effectively for the prospect or customer—and that’s not always the case,” Johnson says. “So if you’re normally offering 20 percent off, now might be the time to test 15 percent as opposed to 25 percent,” he explains.
Focus on Best Customers
The 80/20 rule rings even more true during downtimes. Marketers who have had to cut acquisition funds will want to focus on key accounts and recent or frequent customers. Johnson suggests to only approach the first two tiers of prospects, instead of typically going to all three. “This is an excellent time to be shoring up relationships with existing accounts—making sure the CRM data is accurate and complete and using that as an opportunity to educate and cross-sell other products and services,” he says.
Use direct mail to deal with the “I didn’t know you did that” syndrome, Martel advises. If you need to cut back on acquisition mailings, include an open referral channel in mailings sent to your best customers. “What I would suggest is doing two reply cards—one for the recipient and one for a friend,” Johnson says. “It makes it real easy. They can just rip it off, and it doesn’t cost you that much.”