One Effective Way to Increase Your Response Rates
All of us are struggling these days to find new tactics to increase our catalog response rates. With postal rates increased, we’ve all been working hard to reduce our catalog costs. But how many times can we cut trim size, reduce paper weights or cull our mailing list? What new tactics are there to help increase mail and e-mail response rates to help us offset those higher postal costs?
Many B-to-B catalogers have tested sending an e-mail announcing the arrival of a new catalog. I’ve seen some success with these programs, especially when the e-mail is well-targeted, relevant, properly executed and contains a compelling offer on the new catalog being received.
But here’s a fresh idea: In addition to e-mail, I’ve seen some testing with guided voice mail. Here, the mailer leaves a voice mail message for the catalog recipient in advance of the catalog being received. Ideally, it’s short and personal.
Something like, “Hi, this is Terry, your sales rep at XYZ company, and it’s Tuesday, Aug. 2. I wanted to let you know our new catalog is on the way to you and has a great offer on page 3. For our best customers like you, we’re doubling that offer if you order by Aug. 15. Make sure you take advantage of this limited-time offer.”
You get the idea. This particular message tests the “curiosity factor.” (“What is the offer on page 3 anyway?”) Other offers you might test would be more specific and detailed. But make sure they’re relevant, timely and as personal as possible in a mass voice mail.
This tactic only works when you have direct-line telephone numbers with voice mail, and you leave the message overnight so the recipient hears it first thing in the morning. Each assigned sales rep should do a recording to help it be more recognizable or personal.
There are a number of companies out there that have the technology to offer this service. Once such company I recently became aware of is www.boxpilot.com. You may want to take a look at its Web site for more information. In particular, look at the case studies. They’re illustrative of how to use this tactic.
It also has applications in outbound telesales, where actual connect rates are hovering around 15 percent of calls made. The better telephone sales reps these days are very good at making voice mail presentations, maybe even followed up with a personalized e-mail. When you have a new product announcement, major price changes or other important news, guided voice mail can be useful.
If your or your company has been doing something similar and would like to share your results or ask me a question about it, I would be more than happy to hear from you.
Terence Jukes is president of B2B Direct Marketing Intelligence Inc., a strategic consultancy based in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., that services clients in the U.S., Canada, France, the U.K. and Germany. You can reach him at www.b2bdmi.com or (954) 566-4451.