From the Welcome Message to the WinBack Program, lifecycle marketing is a way of communicating with customers that adapts to their changing needs. Why is it so effective?
- Because lifecycle marketing acknowledges that customers aren’t static – they evolve.
You could say acquiring a new customer is step one of 100 steps, but it would be more accurate to say that it’s step one of an unknown number of steps. Customers’ needs change; what worked for them in January might be wearing thin by September. Keep in touch. Communication that’s tailored, creative and proactive–whether it’s done through surveys, milestone programs or referral solutions programs–has a positive influence on retention rate.
- Because it’s much easier to convert a lost customer than to win a new one.
It may seem counterintuitive that a “lost” customer would be more likely to return to the fold than a new customer would be to sign up, but the numbers don’t lie. Marketing Metrics show that probability of selling to a new prospect is 5-20 percent while the probability of selling to an existing customer is 60-70 percent. And consider it from customer’s perspective. Say the cost to renew a subscription to your favorite magazine increases. Even if you love the content, there’s a good chance you’ll pass. It’s not a rejection of the product; it’s a hold out on the price.
Imagine how much more cost-effective it would be for the magazine to send you a discount offer to renew rather than devise a completely new strategy to get the attention of a prospective customer.
- Because it’s more than just an invoice.
Would you want to hear from someone only when they’re asking for money?
OSG offers an array of lifecycle marketing solutions. Get in on them.
As more and more companies transition to electronic billing, it’s important to remember that digital solutions can also improve print and mail services. Paper can be optimized. MailTrekˢᴹ, OSG’s tracking application, combines the latest United States Postal Service (USPS) technologies with our own software to track your outbound and inbound mail in real-time. Here are five ways this can improve your business.
- More efficient mail delivery means more control.
An obvious point, but nonetheless worth emphasizing: You’ll know when your invoices are sent out and when they reach their destinations. Each piece of outgoing mail gets an Intelligent Mail barcode (IMb) specific to its envelope, which allows it to be tracked (or “trekked” if you will). In your OSG InSight client portal, you can see when the envelopes are scanned and know the delivery status.
- Tracking outbound mail can help with staffing.
Since you know the status of your mailed invoices and statements, you can better predict the staffing needs at call centers. When the customer calls spike in volume, you’ll be ready.
- You can verify a customer’s check is in the mail.
That IMb code? You can also add it to the return or remittance envelope. There’s no guesswork—the check is on its way or it isn’t. Which brings us to the next point.
- You’ll have better insight into cash flow.
Because the inbound mail has the IMb codes, managing cash flow becomes much easier and much more efficient.
- You’ll likely reduce the number of mailings while improving customer relations.
MailTrekˢᴹ isn’t just a tracking application; it’s a line of communication. By opening this channel, you’ll have a better understanding of your customers’ payments and contact them less frequently. Increased efficiency for all.
In conclusion, as your company evolves its invoicing practices, it makes sense to maximize the digital potential of whatever system you’re currently using—even print.
There’s a reason major companies like UPS and DirectTV devote pages on their website to topics like “A Simple Guide to Understanding Your Bill” or “How to Read Your Bill.” They’re anticipating an all-too-common issue: Bills are hard to read.
In fact, the most common cause of late payments is that people have trouble reading their bills. Poor organization and confusing design can slow down a person’s quick scan to see what’s owed and when. It’s a strange phenomenon given that these organizational choices will also slow down a revenue stream for the company issuing the bill. And since paying bills isn’t an activity typically linked to pleasure in the first place, the easier clients make it for customers, the better. Because what’s a common reaction to stress and confusion? Avoidance.
Two Things to Consider:
- Composition is an essential element of a bill’s design.
Beyond logos and color scheme, the placement of a bill’s key components is crucial. The total amount due, the due date and the summary of charges need to be nicely organized and obvious. This isn’t the time for bold artistic expression. Keep it clean.
- Every element of the bill/invoice should also be working to that same end.
If you’re incorporating dynamic messaging into your billing (which we highly recommend!), use that marketing as an opportunity to get a customer’s attention. Make it eye-catching and smart, but don’t overwhelm the space and add an additional layer of confusion.
By Guest Author, Ashley Sherrow, OSG Manager of Production Graphics
Did you know that a dynamic message on an invoice or statement is a designated area that allows you connect directly with your audience? It’s your monthly opportunity to relay a specific message to your customer. And since research tells us that invoices are opened 97 percent of the time, you are virtually guaranteed of having your message read.
Using a little bit of creativity you can create a message that is eye-catching, colorful and informative. The OSG data-driven application, Campaign Composer, gives you full transpromotional marketing capabilities that compliment your statement or invoice package.
So what do you need to do?
First you’ll want to compose your message.
- You can do this using design programs such as InDesign or Illustrator. Designing your message in one of these programs makes the design process easy. Also, since these are the same programs we use in the OSG Creative Studio, should you need help, we can guide you through either of these programs to help you get the message you need created.
- Tip: If you are designing multiple messages within an area, it is a good idea to separate the messages with a thin line between each message, or a border around each message.
- This space provides a great opportunity to cross-sell and up-sell your services or even your customer’s services. Not sure what to feature? Think about deals, sales, promotions or even important messages you want to share with your customers.
Next, as long as you’re designing a bill or invoice, why not create a whole invoice package? You can coordinate by utilizing other OSG communications tools such as Envelope Messaging, Additional Message Page and OSG Inserts.
You’ll want to be sure you’re designing your message to its full potential. To ensure this, here are some things to pay attention to:
- Is the message sized correctly so that it will fit into the message space on the bill?
- How will your message look on the invoice/statement? Make sure your messages blend in with the colors and style of your invoice/statement.
- Have you used imagery and colors to your advantage?
- Choose bright colored images and text that will stand out and grab your audience’s attention.
- Remember, less is more – you don’t need to plaster the message area with tons information. Short and sweet. Then direct the customer to a website for them to gather more information.
While the Big Branding Things at a company get done, it’s the Little Branding Things—the ones that seem too obvious to mention—that can slip through the cracks. It happens. Here are three quick check-ups to ensure your company branding is in tip-top shape.
1. Sincerely, All of Us.
Anything that leaves your office is your office, which is why consistent email signatures are important. If Diane, Jim and Sam have the same sign off, but Todd changed the font and added his favorite GIF to the bottom, someone should ask Todd why. Personality is important, and there may be allowances depending on the industry, but there’s something reassuring about clean messaging. Consistency is not boring; it’s got a nice hum.
2. The newest logo is the only logo.
If you’ve refreshed, tweaked or bulldozed your company logo over the last few years, make sure everyone has the latest one. Even better, make sure that logo is on everything: invoices, press releases, business cards, brochures, t-shirts, etc. When there are too many files floating around, you’ll see this on the computer:
One file, with the year, that’s easily accessible for everyone. Done.
3. “Is this still what our company does?”
It’s not a silly question. Maybe your advertising firm didn’t become a candle shop overnight, but as an organization grows and changes its scope based upon revenue, customer feedback or demand, the message sent out to the world needs to match those shifts. At the very least, scan your website to make sure something you stopped doing in 2012 isn’t still on home page. Even if a brand refresh is in the works, quick five-minute (or even five-second) changes can save hours later.
This past weekend we changed our clocks to Daylight Savings Time and this week spring officially begins. So while we’re busy changing over all of the clocks in our homes and checking our smoke and carbon monoxide detectors, what else needs checking, changing and perhaps needs a thorough spring cleaning?
When’s the last time you did a full marketing materials review? Lifecycle marketing campaign review? Are all of your collateral pieces up to date? Do you have any outdated information on your website? Are your graphic standards and writing guides current?
If you can’t remember the last time you updated or reviewed any of these, this is a great time to do so. You don’t have to check all of them at once, but how about making a spring resolution to check them before the first day of summer?
Here’s another question. Are you taking full advantage of color in your marketing and transactional documents? A recent Pitney Bowes study found that 69 percent of the study participants were more likely to open an envelope with color or graphics on the front than those without. People naturally gravitate to colorful products.
Going through a marketing review once or twice a year is a great exercise for you and your team. You may find some things that need to be retired, updated or redesigned. But when you’re done, you’ll have a more cohesive look and feel representing your company.
This weekend is Selection Sunday. You know what that means! Tourney Time is upon us. What that also means is that employers can expect to see a slight dip in productivity this month. According to a study by employment consulting firm Challenger, Gray and Christmas, nearly 2.5 million people devote over an hour of each workday to following the NCAA Tournament. So that’s an hour you’re not actually spending on work. To help your productivity we’ve pulled together three easy ways for you to maximize the effectiveness of your invoice or statement package.
- Add an insert to your next invoice or statement package mailing. They fit easily into your mailing and provide cost-effective one-to-one marketing to your customer base. Don’t have one? Not to worry, the OSG Creative Studio can design one for you.
- Add a Full Color Dynamic Message to your invoice or statement. Your readers are already looking at your invoice statement. Why not add a message unique to them on the invoice as well? A recent Pitney Bowes study found that color increases reader’s attention by 82 percent.
- The invoice isn’t the only colorful part of your invoice or statement package. Are you taking advantage of Full Color Envelope Messaging? That same Pitney Bowes study found that 69 percent of the study participants were more likely to open an envelope with color or graphics on the front than those without. Take a look at your envelopes and see if they could use a splash of color.
By implementing some or all of these ideas you can end up being the winning team and enjoy a championship season.