If you looked in your inbox right now, how many messages and promotions would you see? From email to social media to direct mail, you (and your clients) are constantly bombarded with companies trying to get their message in the hands of their customers. So, the question becomes: how do you make your message stand out among the hordes of others? We’ve put together a few simple tricks designed to help your message grab—and keep—the attention of the reader.
1. Turn on the Right Channel
The first step is deciding where to send the message. Your customers have a litany of communication channels to choose from, and it is up to you to accommodate their channel preference. This is by no means a one-size-fits-all situation. A segment of your customers will prefer email communication, while others won’t even have email accounts. The right communication channel can be the determining factor as to whether your customer ever sees your message, so choose wisely.
2. Add Some Color
Color highlights important information in your messages, drawing the attention of your reader. Using color can have a big impact, so it’s imperative not to go overboard. Pick 2-3 colors that are consistent with your branding and don’t be afraid to add various shades of those colors to enhance to your design. Use white space to your advantage; this will help to draw the eye to the important information you want to get across. As Chris, our in-house graphic designer puts it: “Leave room for white space. Not every inch of your message has to be filled with something. Blank space will actually enhance your design and draw more attention to the pertinent information in your message. Sometimes, as they say, less really is more.”
3. Design for Action
You will want to create a design that is eye-catching, colorful and informative. Keep to your company’s branding to maintain consistency. Don’t overdo your design. Too much information can be off putting, leaving the reader unsure where to look. Make good use of your text, images and color to leave an overall good impression with your customer. A well-constructed design will be sure to get your reader’s attention!
4. Consider the Recipient
Personalization has become so prevalent across every industry that it is no longer acceptable to simply send out mass communications to your entire customer base. When your customer opens their email or direct mail, they want to see a message that relates to their specific interests and buying preferences. If it doesn’t, your carefully crafted and designed communication is headed straight to the (virtual or physical) trash. Utilizing data in your communications allows you to target your messages to each customer, ensuring you keep the customer’s attention by offering promotions and products that directly address their specific needs.
Don’t let your critical customer communications get lost in an inbox. Whether it is relaying vital billing data or checking in about a new service, each message you send relays important information to your customer—and important information deserves to be noticed. Still not sure where to start? We’ve got you covered.
To be frank, paying a bill is never going to be exciting for a customer. What it can and should be is convenient, simple, and seamless. Customers receive 4.1 pieces of transactional mail per week. The payment structure needs to fit within their framework, to feel like it’s tailored to them specifically. It seems like paying electronically would be the obvious choice. We are in an ever-expanding digital landscape where so much of our lives are tied to online interactions and transactions.
But these are bills and habits are tough to break. This brings us to the essential—and perennial—question: How do you get someone perfectly satisfied with their service to switch from paper bills to e-billing? You incentivize, and those incentives must be good. Here are three.
- Offer a discount.
Offer e-billing as part of a discounted service plan. It’s concrete and uncomplicated. It requires no effort on their part, but the difference will be noticeable.
- Enter them into a sweepstakes.
Nothing like a prize to sweeten the pot. Try a major gift card or the latest gadget (we are pushing e-bills, after all).
- Tie in a charitable cause.
Present customers with the opportunity to give back in some way. This could be something as straightforward as a tree planted for every customer who signs up for paperless billing.
Remember that once the customer switches, the service must be on point. Ultimately, the best incentive is having the best solution.
When you’re trying to reach customers with an important message, time is of the essence. A self-service program that simplifies the process is key to streamlining communication. OSG Letter Composer is just that.
Using an online composition tool, you can customize and edit customer letters, regulatory notices, collection letters, and other personalized communications. Because you’re in control and driving the process, you don’t have to wait for approvals. Upload the content into the program yourself and go from there.
While content is king, design is crucial to effective communication. Letter Composer allows you upload your logo and other branding elements to create consistency in messaging, the thing for which every company should be striving. Anyone in your office can use the program, and it will make your company’s brand and messaging look more composed.
Make the letter creation process easier, and deliver customer communications more effectively. Contact us for more information.
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.