Keeping your mailing list up to date is essential for making the most of your marketing dollars. It ensures that your messages arrive in a timely fashion and provides other benefits such as cost savings and better targeting. Let’s look at five benefits of an up-to-date mailing list to motivate you to make this one of your top investments.
1. Gives you a strong foundation. Accurate, up-to-date lists are the starting point for creating relevant, personalized communications. Keeping your mailing list clean, accurate, de-duped, and up to date is a best practice that should be part of your routine. If you get in the habit of keeping up with the basics, it will help you with more sophisticated targeting later.
2. Keep customers happy. Nothing says, “We don’t care,” like a misspelled name or street address. Sure, your mailer might get there (eventually), but at what cost? Keeping your list up to date ensures that your target audience knows you care enough to get it right.
3. Keeps costs down. With an inaccurate list, you are printing and mailing pieces that may never arrive. Don’t waste money! Ensure that every piece gets to its destination. With an accurate list, you also save money by not sending duplicates to the same individual or household.
4. Provides anchor points. As you compile your records, basic data points can be used as reference points for future refinement and additions to that list. For instance, is Jane C. Cochran the same person as Jane Cochran? Can Bob Smith be distinguished from Robert Smith, Jr.? These questions can be answered by cross-referencing data points from an accurate mailing list.
5. Improves targeting. Once you are confident in your list, you can begin to build more detailed profiles of each person. You can purchase additional data to construct more complete profiles that will help you improve your targeting and personalize your communications even more.
Invest in your mailing list regularly. Not only does it help you create an accurate, up-to-date profile of your customers that improves targeting and saves money, but because your email, social, and mobile marketing all draw off the same list, it also benefits your marketing in other channels.
What does it take to create customer loyalty, the kind of loyalty that makes customers stick with you, even when their favorite sales representative, hair stylist or financial advisor moves on?
Here are some tips from the experts.
1. Know your customer base. Customer bases are not homogeneous. They are made up of different demographics, with different needs and with different motivators for shopping with you. Profiling your customers can tell you a lot about how to keep them. When was the last time you did a customer survey or conducted a focus group?
The more you get to know the unique makeup of your customer base, the more you are able to adjust products and services to respond to their unique needs and the more likely you are to hang onto their loyalty.
2. Make it personal. Shift from mass mailings and generic communications to personalized print communications as much as possible. This should go beyond “Dear <<name>>” and include content driven by demographics, demonstrated preferences or past purchase history. The goal here is not just to let your customers know that you know their names, but to increase the relevance of your communications to their lives.
3. Spread the communication around. Some companies assign each customer a specific customer service representative or sales consultant. This creates a special relationship between customer and sales rep that can be invaluable. The downside is that this relationship can become so valuable that, should the sales rep leave the company, your customer might be willing to leave with them. For this reason, encourage your customers to have multiple contact points within your company.
4. Increase the frequency. Stay in communication with your customers on a regular basis, not just when there is a special promotion or event. This is the idea behind most drip marketing campaigns. They help develop a relationship that creates a value beyond price and convenience and keeps your company top of mind.
5. Reinforce and reward loyalty. When customers are loyal, let them know that you appreciate it. Then reward them for that loyalty. Send them special “loyal customer” discounts, personalized to their unique habits and preferences whenever possible.
Retaining customers takes effort. It requires a customer retention plan and an intentional, focused effort to keep those customers you’ve worked so hard to have. What’s your plan?
Think you can’t afford direct mail because you’re a local business with a tight budget? Think again. With USPS Every Door Direct Mail (EDDM), you can send targeted direct mail for a postal cost of $.20
or less per piece. Even target addresses by age, household income,
or household size.
Use EDDM for just the right audience:
- Grand openings
- Local sales and promotions
- New locations
- Discounts and coupons
- Local events and more
Contact us to find out how!
Are you up for a surprise? In a customer satisfaction study of 10 major industries, nearly three-quarters (72%) of respondents indicated that they were delighted with the products or services they purchased, yet 88% said that they were willing to switch providers for any reason!
How can this be? If customers are happy with the products they buy, how can they switch so easily? Because so many companies offer products and pricing similar to one another’s. That’s why maintaining customer loyalty takes more than the basics. You have to make people feel valued, not just by offering them great stuff, but by how you treat them. Give them a great customer experience.
According to Price Waterhouse Coopers, 73% of consumers consider customer experience important in purchasing decisions. This means that all things being equal, they will go where they feel most valued and appreciated.
That’s why a consistent, high-quality drip of customer communications is so important. It makes customers feel noticed and valued, not just when you want them to purchase something.
- Set up a series of “nurturing” mailers throughout the year. Make it a continuous client contact program that demonstrates that you are sincerely grateful for their business at regular, pre-planned intervals.
- Use the data you’ve collected to grow your relationship with these customers. Offer valuable tips, newsletters, and case studies that remind clients of your commitment to service, value, quality, innovation, and loyalty.
- If you are going to cross-sell or upsell, make those suggestions valuable and relevant to your customers based on the information you have collected, such as their past purchases or subscriptions that are expiring.
- Ask for their feedback. People love when you ask their opinions. Now act on what you learn. Communicate through tangible actions that you not only care about what they have to say but are willing to act on it, too.
Direct mail isn’t just for customer acquisition marketing anymore. It is a critical part of effective customer retention.
Got a silo problem? If you’re like most companies doing targeted and personalized marketing, you do. You may have plenty of customer data, but it might be in different places (silos), and these places often aren’t talking to each other. As a result, your marketing is less effective than it could be.
Here are some risks to having siloed data:
- Unhappy customers. Whenever mail gets lost because you have the wrong address, whenever a mail piece arrives with a bad name, or you offer to sell a long-term customer a product they already own, you risk alienating that customer.
- High costs. The average price of every piece of returned mail is $3 (Source: Pitney Bowes). This is not just the postage and printing. It’s the cost of the piece coming back to you, figuring out what went wrong, and taking the time to fix it.
- Lost sales. How many marketing opportunities are lost because the data on customers’ preferences and behavior is siloed in different departments? That translates into lost revenue.
Let’s look at five steps for getting rid of those silos.
1. Connect inbound mail to outbound mail.
Build in tracking mechanisms that allow you to connect the incoming to outgoing mail. This can be as simple as adding a barcode unique to each participant. When the response envelope comes in, the barcode is scanned. This connects the incoming mail to the outbound file, linking the customer information together.
2. Centralize data capture.
Centralize mail processing in one location. Capture mail coming in from marketing, sales, customer service, web forms, and anywhere else in your company.
3. Extract what you need.
Your mail contains lots of essential details that can be useful to your print and digital marketing. Extract all of the insights you can, including names, addresses, channel preferences, transaction history, and customer surveys. Input it into a centralized database that can be accessed throughout the organization.
4. Look and learn.
Assign someone with a marketing and data background to analyze your database to understand what it tells you. Contained in there are critical nuggets about customer behavior, channel preferences, and more. Need help? Just ask!
5. Put it to use.
With a closed-loop on your mail communications and a centralized, up-to-date database accessible by all departments, you have a powerful marketing tool at your disposal. Take what you can learn and use it to improve your targeted and personalized direct mail marketing or other customer communications.