Six Low-cost ‘E-ways’ to Meet or Beat Your 2007 Plan By Year’s End
The last I checked our last reader poll asking catalogers whether their sales were meeting, beating or missing projections, it looked somewhat encouraging. When asked if at this point of the year multichannel marketers were on plan with original forecasts for the year, 59 percent of our readers said they were either on plan or ahead. Even better news showed that none of you were missing its numbers badly.
There are still 41 percent of you, however, who are slightly below plan, so let’s see what we can do to move those numbers up by the end of the year. Here are six tips easily put into action.
1. Add in some more e-mails. From what I’ve seen, many companies under-mail their e-mail lists. Certainly the fear of opt-outs has you a bit nervous. So let’s put your nerves to rest. The bottom line is this: Provide relevant information via e-mail, and your customers decide whether or not to opt-out. And if they do opt-out, they were going to anyway.
2. Offer news. Yes, provide industry news, product news or just about any news content that fits your target market. Send out your product-driven e-mails and your news-driven e-mails separately. Include an offer in your news e-mails, but make sure it doesn’t overpower the information you’re providing.
3. Add more product-driven e-mails. Test adding more frequency to your product-driven e-mails. They’re low-cost and can provide immediate feedback on whether you’ve reached the “one too many” tipping point. Chances are, you can add in more and not rock the boat.
4. Tease and chase. Send out an e-mail announcing your next catalog and include a coupon for their next catalog order. Or chase your catalog mailing with a special offer after it’s in home to keep the order curve from dropping. Test timing around your catalog drops to see what best works for your customers.
5. Go viral. There used to be a segment of the order form where customers could write in the names and addresses of people they thought would like to receive a catalog. Though many catalogers have gotten rid of the traditional bind-in order form these days, that opportunity is all but lost. If that’s you, try sending an e-mail to your customers offering a tell-a-friend program. Offer both your customers and any prospects they recommend a discount. Test having your customers forward the e-mail vs. having them type in addresses to see which method works best. Remember, your best salesperson is a satisfied customer.
6. Confirm and offer. When you send out e-mail order confirmations, always include an offer. Beyond this, use these e-mails to cross-sell compatible merchandise. This one always gets me, especially when I get my iTunes order receipt and there’s music recommended that’s relevant to me. The concept of what other people purchased who also purchased my music always piques my interest.
Next week: More ways to get the P&L numbers rising (just the Ps, of course) before the year is up.
Speak to you next week.
Jim Gilbert is president of Gilbert Direct Marketing, a full-service catalog and direct marketing agency. You can reach him at email@example.com or 561-302-1719.
Jim Gilbert has had a storied career in direct and digital marketing resulting in a burning desire to tell stories that educate, inform, and inspire marketers to new heights of success.
After years of marketing consulting, Jim decided it was time to “put his money where his mouth was" and build his own e-commerce company, Premo Natural Products, with its flagship product, Premo Guard Bed Bug & Mite Sprays. Premo in its second year is poised to eclipse 100 percent growth.
Jim has been writing for Target Marketing Group since 2006, first on the pages of Catalog Success Magazine, then as the first blogger for its online division. Jim continues to write for Total Retail.
Along the way, Jim has led the Florida Direct Marketing Association as their Marketing Chair and then three-term President, been an Adjunct Professor of Direct and Digital marketing for Miami International University, and created a lecture series, “The 9 Immutable Laws of Social Media Marketing,” which he has presented across the country at conferences and universities.