With data showing that transactional documents are increasingly being used as promotional tools, it’s a good time to revisit some basic marketing practices. Here are some insights straight from the OSG Creative Studio.
- Make your message strategic.
We’ve mentioned before how important it is to use data to create dynamic messages. When you have real insight into your customers’ needs and patterns, the endless marketing options become more tailored and, ultimately, more effective. Use a paper bill to push the switch to e-bill. Up-sell or cross-sell one of your services. Offer an enticing promotion. Just make it count.
- Then make it pop.
Size the message properly, incorporate color, and avoid information overload. Less is more.
- Don’t disrupt the flow.
No marketing should disrupt the clarity of the bill or invoice’s key elements. Make sure the framework is there, so the message doesn’t add confusion. You might even consider upgrading your entire invoice package with envelope messaging or an additional messaging page.
The term “data-driven” is becoming increasingly ubiquitous across industries, and with good reason. All marketing should be data-driven. Creating targeted messages that reflect and anticipate the needs of your customers is crucial. As we’ve said before, when contact is frequent, as it is with invoicing, the messages must be timely and relevant.
A newer customer may simply have different needs than one who has been with you for seven years. Someone already using one of your products shouldn’t see a promotion for it. Investing time in personalized incentives is worth the effort. It keeps your messaging fresh and shows your engagement in the full customer lifecycle.
With tools like OSG Campaign Composer, you can segment your customer base to analyze customer trends and history, avoiding these kind of oversights. Once you’ve set the filters and created your campaign, you can select which segment receives specific dynamic messages, envelope messaging, and inserts.
It’s also worth the effort to consider how the message is being received by the customer. In our omni-channel world, content and the technology that deploys it have to be working hand in hand.
The data keeps rolling in—you have to roll with it.
Outsourcing your transactional communications can have a powerful effect on your business and its bottom line, whether you opt for an EBPP solution or traditional print and mail. Here are three specific reasons to do it.
- Free up your employees’ time.
Billing can be a complex process. Using a single-source provider for all your billing and communication needs eliminates the internal day-to-day tasks that bog down employees. They can use their productivity and passion in different ways while we streamline this process.
- Benefit from the latest technologies and operational experience.
Digital, print and mail, mobile: Offering those channels isn’t enough; they must be optimized. At OSG, we use programs like MailTrek to monitor inbound and outbound mail, which improves the efficiency of your collection efforts (and ultimately saves you money). We offer dynamic messaging, which turns invoices into marketing tools and engages customers month to month.
Our solutions are also practical. With production facilities across the country, our distributive print process guarantees a quick turnaround time.
- Move into the future with us.
As technology continues to evolve, customers are going to expect an omni-channel experience—an unbroken stream of access to their information. Through new acquisitions, more robust printing processes, and additional digital solutions (i.e. OSG Letter Composer), we’ve positioned ourselves to move with customers as they engage with the world. Because this is ultimately about more than billing—it’s about communication.
It’s almost a new year. Let’s talk strategy.
As 2017 winds down, it’s a good time to think about the small marketing messages you can send to customers that will help you finish the year strong and begin the next one on the right foot. Start with something simple: Happy New Year.
We realize you might not want to send out a separate card or write a clever note. That’s not necessary—just use your envelope. Our Full Color Envelope Messaging℠ allows you to print a full color New Year’s message right on the outer envelope of your invoice or statement package. You can even add an image for more impact. Since research shows that customers are more likely to open an envelope with color on it than one without, you get the benefit of knowing they’re nearly guaranteed to see both the greeting and the invoice or bill.
OSG’s Dynamic Messaging is another way of reinforcing your brand and messaging on the invoice itself. We’ve gone over the many benefits of that before, but as January approaches, consider how we can help you use it effectively throughout the next year.
It’s all about the data when it comes to customer communication.
Data tells the story of your customers and outlines what information you should be sharing with them. This is particularly important regarding the marketing messages you include with bills and invoices. When contact is frequent, the messages must be timely and relevant.
Data also tells the story of what’s already worked in with your previous messaging. Why send a “Subscribe Today!” message to a customer who just signed up? Why push a product to a people already using it? Analyzing customer trends and history is crucial. You should also be able to make timely updates based on that information.
OSG Campaign Composer is a data-driven application that allows you to segment your customer base. It’s designed so you can filter specific data to send one-to-one marketing messages that make sense. It exists to complement your invoicing or billing packages, to enhance marketing capabilities, to and make communication specific and targeted.
Here’s how it works:
- Define the filters.
A filter is set for one or more conditions you apply to your data to identify which accounts will be targeted by a campaign.
- Create the campaign.
Build the message that will target those specific customers.
- Create the package.
The package selects a segment of your customer base to target. It also specifies which dynamic messages, envelope messages, and inserts that segment should receive.
Another crucial feature: this application is timely. You can update the messaging at any time, ridding invoices and bills of stale, tired content. You can also send an endless variety of messages and cross-sell and up-sell products more effectively.
It’s essential to be using your data in a way that makes sense and brings you the biggest return. Your customers aren’t all the same. Why not try something different with them? Read more here.
Effective communication is about more than a smartly worded subject line or a crackerjack social media strategy. It’s also about more than just talking. Relaying information to clients is the backbone of any successful business, whether it’s through an e-bill, a marketing campaign, or an envelope. Here are four ways to do that more effectively.
- Listen first.
Or if no one’s spoken for a while, ask a question. It’s amazing how long someone might deal with something being wrong before speaking up about it. Check in with the client. Check in with staff. You can’t fix anything before knowing it needs repair.
- Simplify a complex process.
When we create transactional documents for clients to send their customers, we’re focused on a.) making the client’s cash flow more streamlined, and b.) creating materials that are readable, engaging, and clear. We’ve talked before about the two questions a bill needs to answer right away. You can apply that principle to almost anything communications-related. What are the most essential things that need to be stated? What’s irrelevant? Break down an intricate process into bite-sized pieces of content.
- Focus on storytelling.
You hear this a lot now: “Tell your business’s story.” A story has many elements, but they need to be adding up to the bigger picture. Be consistent with your design aesthetic. Share relevant updates. Stay in touch. Tools like OSG’s Letter Composer make it easier to send information and improve customer service while keeping branding consistent.
- If necessary, change the conversation.
At OSG, we offer a breadth of communication solutions, because we recognize that there are nuances to every industry and lifecycles that happen within them. Whether it’s a Back to School campaign in the summer or a new billing statement format, we can find something that starts a new conversation with your customers and increases your revenue.
We offer technology that improves the customer communication experience. A key component to that improvement, however, is to use technology in a way that empowers your staff and makes their workload more manageable. (Happy employees = happy clients.) An example of a product that offers that mutual benefit is OSG’s CSR eView℠.
CSR eView is a web-based application that allows your customer service representatives to access customers’ invoices or bills quickly in real time to address their concerns and questions. If you’ve ever made a call feeling frustrated or confused by a billing statement, then you realize the value of having an application that would allow your reps to see documents the way customers see them. This makes communication more fluid, of course, but it also reduces the amount of time a CSR spends on the phone altogether.
We also archive PDF images of the invoices or statements for CSR eView users, and maintain a log that records the date, time and activity. This technology will empower your team to:
- Find answers more quickly in high resolution
- Give more accurate answers
- Provide the best customer service possible
Contact us to start improving your team’s workflow today.