Shari Altman

Shari Altman
Keep Them in the Fold

Done well, continuity marketing can be quite a lucrative business. But it also can be a risky business as the profit from continuity marketing comes from a marketer’s ability to acquire a customer once and ship paid products to him or her multiple times. Most marketers lose money acquiring continuity customers or, at best, break even. To be profitable, you must retain customers beyond the initial order. To improve retention you must: • Add or increase the number of retention-driving tactics; and • Reduce or eliminate actions that are retention killers. Retention drivers are policies or promotion tactics that increase the length of

An Outsourcing Checklist

Whether you go through a formal RFP process or not, careful consideration of your requirements and the prospective fulfillment center’s capabilities to meet those requirements is necessary to making a decision that works for you and your customers in the long run. To end up with a fulfillment partner with which you are truly satisfied, please don’t short shrift this decision—spend the time necessary to make the right choice. If you don’t have the time or expertise internally to evaluate your options, consider hiring a consultant or other outsource selection professional to do this for you. The time to discover a fulfillment center cannot

Placing Inserts in DRTV-Sold Product Shipments

If you’re successfully using inserts or are planning to test inserts for customer acquisition, consider testing inserts in DRTV product shipments. DRTV tends to generate large volumes of customers and thus lots of shipments that can offer insert space. Because buying from DRTV involves a certain amount of impulsiveness and customers are almost always first-time buyers, DRTV buyer files tend to go stale faster than direct mail or catalog buyer files. As such, inserts are an ideal way to reach these consumers because they allow you to reach them when they are at their hottest. The challenge for insert marketers is how to maximize response from

Present the Same Payment Plan for All Offers

If you use a payment installment plan for your primary offer, make the same payment plan available for your upsell offers. It’s a disconnect for customers who purchase a product on an installment plan to then be offered an upsell that requires a single payment. What’s more, your upsell conversion rates will increase when you offer the same payment plan. So, if your primary offer is for three payments, then offer three payments for each upsell as well. This allows your call center reps to position the upsell purchase in a way that is more palatable to customers. For example, your rep can offer to

Prioritize Your Upsell and Cross-sell Offers

When offering multiple upsell or cross-sell offers during inbound telemarketing calls, pay close attention to how you prioritize these offers. In general, the conversion rate will drop with each successive offer, so it makes sense to present your most expensive and, presumably, most profitable upsell or cross-sell offer first, then the next expensive offer and so on. There are a few exceptions to this rule: A continuity or auto-replenishment program should always be offered first because it invariably delivers more lifetime profits than any single upsell—even though the up-front revenue may not be the largest of your upsells. Cross-sells that are closely aligned to a particular item

Multichannel Testing

From our days as neophyte direct response marketers, we have heard the mantra: “Test, test, test. And when you’ve done that, test some more.” The reality is there’s no substitute for well-planned and carefully executed testing to move your brand’s direct results to the next level. The complications of multichannel marketing add to the complexity of marketing programs and, as a result, testing plans. But the Web offers opportunities as well. Everything on the Internet happens quickly. And it offers significantly lower testing expense—without incurring major production costs. So why not take advantage of the benefits available online to improve your entire direct response program?

New Customer Welcome Programs

By Shari Altman Five ways to make new buyers feel appreciated—and more apt to buy from you again Consider yourself as a consumer or business customer making your first purchase from a new vendor, supplier, catalog, store or Web site. You overcame the innate risk of buying from a firm you've never dealt with before—risk that the product will be in stock and appear as expected, risk that what you are purchasing will deliver the value anticipated when you decided to plunk down your own (or your firm's) cold, hard cash. Don't you want to be welcomed and recognized, and know that your

Want Fries and Shoes With That?

By Shari Altman Improve Your AOV With Well-crafted Upsells and Cross-sells. When you visit McDonald's or Hardee's and place your order for a burger or chicken sandwich and a beverage, you will almost certainly be asked, "Would you like fries with that?" At its core, upsells are just like those french fries—an added item that "goes with" your initial purchase. In fact, a telemarketer I worked with years ago even used the term "french frying" as a pseudonym for upselling. Cross-selling really is a variation on upselling, where an item is offered that doesn't necessarily "go with" your customer's initial purchase, but that

Time for a Marketing Tune Up

Even small adjustments can keep your sales and profit engine humming. Sometimes a marketing program sputters and wheezes like a car on its last legs. Often, results are just not what they could be. Like a car that doesn’t start smoothly, many marketing programs could benefit from a tune-up. Similar to telling your mechanic the car’s status when you drop it off, marketing tune-ups benefit from a review of the current situation in comparison to historical averages or results of past campaigns. This will give you a sense of where problems and opportunities lie. You will be able to see what key performance indicators