Back to school isn’t a day or a frame of mind—it’s a powerful marketing season that kicks off earlier than you might think. (Some schools start up again in early August.) And as one of the biggest spending seasons of the year, back to school is also an opportunity to drive some new business and get creative with your marketing efforts.
In other words, summer is over, but that can be a good thing.
The monthly invoice package you send customers can include an insert that’s designed within this framework. Offer “last chance” summer sales, promote the latest products and services you have, and anticipate your customers’ needs. These inserts are also a great way to touch base with them before the next big spending season.
OSG Creative Studio has a lot of experience creating these types of targeted messages , and we can come up with a fun campaign that fits within your brand guidelines and taps into this market. Contact us for more details before school’s back in session.
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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.
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.
Do you have a referral program in place for your current customers to refer friends and colleagues to your business? Studies have shown that referrals are extremely important to the success of a business. Take a look at these statistics and then see if maybe you want to set aside some time to create one or revitalize the one you have in place.
- According to The New York Times, 65% of new business comes from referrals.
- Nielsen reports that people are four times more likely to buy when referred by a friend and that 92 percent of people trust a referral from a friend.
- A customer who is referred by another customer has a 16% higher lifetime value, according to a study by the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School of Business.
If you think about it, it makes perfect sense. Satisfied customers make the best advocates for your company. And since they know both your company and their friends/colleagues, they can actually target the right people for the right product/service. So not only can they act as your brand ambassadors, they can do the initial audience segmenting for you too. They’ve had a good experience with your company and products. Now encourage them to tell their friends, family and colleagues about your company and the great service you provide. Not only will they bring in new customers, increasing your revenue stream, you will also make your current customers happy when you reward them for their efforts. That’s important too. They’re helping you out so you should do something for them. It doesn’t have to be cash back but consider a discount or credit to an invoice or statement.
Think you’re too small a company to be able to implement such a plan? The OSG Creative Studio is available to help you every step of the way. Contact them directly or talk to your Account Manager.
Think about implementing a Referral Program. You and your customers will be glad you did.
Do you have a company newsletter? It’s a great way to stay in touch with your customers and build brand loyalty.
Think in this day of Tweets and Posts that newsletters are no longer relevant? In a recent report issued by Quartz Insights, 60 percent of over 1,300 global executives, indicated that they read an email newsletter as one of their daily news sources. They also indicated that they get their news twice as often from email than from video.
The study went on to report that if they read work-related content that they felt was valuable, 88 percent said they would share it via email.
So, what are you waiting for? Not only is a company newsletter a great way to stay in touch with your customers on a regular basis, research shows that the content will be read and, if deemed valuable, shared.
What should the goals of your newsletter be?
- Educate Your Target Audience. As a valuable source of information for your customers, your company newsletter can update them on the latest happenings within your company, answer frequently asked questions, include store hours and contact information or further explain a service plan.
- Establish Recognition. Establishing your brand is powerful. The regular delivery of your newsletter will help your customers develop a strong sense of your brand. Your newsletter is a simple and effective marketing tool that is perfect for spreading information directly to your audience. Use it to announce a new product, promotional discounts or just send season’s greetings.
- Increase Web Traffic. Your newsletter is the perfect vehicle to drive traffic to your website. With the proper use of content and links within your newsletter, customers can quickly and easily access your website which helps further establish your brand. A company newsletter is also a subtle reminder to those customers who may have lost touch with your business.
- Communicate More Effectively. Developing reliable and timely communication with your customers is important for your business to thrive. Although you have plenty of marketing tools at your disposal, only a newsletter gives you the adequate space you need to speak directly to all of your customers. This compelling form of communication will become something your customers will look forward to receiving.
Does your company produce a newsletter? Is it print, electronic or both?