Even with our Dynamic Messaging, Envelope Messaging, and Lifecycle Marketing options, we recognize that the bill’s efficiency and clarity come before any other bells and whistles. Here are the two questions every bill should answer immediately.
- “How much do I owe?”
This is a case where the bottom line should be the top line, whether it’s a paper bill or an electronic bill. The number could never be too obvious. Loud and clear, front and center.
- “When is it due?”
The final call for payment is almost more important for you than it is for the customer. Don’t bury this somewhere on the bottom of the paper or screen.
Any other messaging, information, or design should support these two pieces of information, because the third question is the one we’ve all asked ourselves upon opening the mailbox or inbox:
- “Is all I ever do pay bills?”
Well, yes. That’s all any of us do. To take the edge off and strengthen customer retention, it’s a smart idea to include special offers, refer-a-friend inserts, or any other communication that reinforces the relationship and reminds the person why they do business with you in the first place. But first, answer those two questions.
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.
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.
The results are in! “Greenery” has been named the color of the year for 2017. Last week the Pantone Color Institute®, the global color authority and provider of professional color standards for the design industries, announced the “fresh and zesty” color as the perfect representation of our hopes for the coming year. This choice of color is based on the need for reunification as a country and as a world during a tense political climate. Pantone explains that this color is always present when bold change is occurring, when grass starts to grow again and trees take root. Interestingly, this color also tends to manifests itself when the world is ready for a massive social change.
Color is a powerful communication tool and its effects should be taken advantage of and maximized. What better way to get the year started off on the right foot then by working with your billing company to choose the right colors to get your message across? Your billing company has plenty of color options, so take advantage and reach your customers in the subconscious language of color. According to Xerox Corporation, color increases readers’ attention span by 82 percent and improves reading comprehension by 73 percent. Get 2017 started off on the right foot with deliberate use of color.