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.
Checking the mail nowadays really means checking for what you’re going to keep and what you’re going to toss without opening. In that competitive atmosphere—fighting for a customer’s attention over Bed Bath & Beyond coupons and pre-approved credit cards—sending multiple mailings a month is overkill.
OSG’s Additional Messaging Page is designed to let you communicate more with less.
The AMP makes it easy to turn a transactional document you’re already sending into a multipurpose document. It’s a supplemental page that prints seamlessly alongside the invoice or statement. (In other words, they can’t just throw it away.) This also saves you money on printing, postage, and administration costs.
The specifics of the message are in your hands. It could be a welcome letter, a monthly promotion, or, yes, an incentive to try online billing. It can be single or double-sided, full-color, and targeted. It uses OSG Campaign Composer to segment your customer base so people aren’t receiving redundant or irrelevant messages.
The options are endless, but the pieces of paper won’t be.
Any marketing initiative has buzzwords, and sometimes those words can seem at best vague and at worst empty. Multi-channel and omni-channel are two common terms you’ll hear floating around in discussions on customer communications. To cut to the chase: There is a difference, and the difference is important.
Multi-channel communication refers to the use of different types of channels with your brand or product at the center of this communication. These channels include mail, email, websites, phone calls, social media—any means of connection between you and your customers. A multi-channel approach gives the customer a choice in how to reach your company or product. Each of these channels is distinct and (hopefully) strong, but they working toward the same end—you.
Omni-channel communication is about creating a fluid customer experience across these channels. It’s common now for a modern consumer to switch frequently between channels (Think of how often you are on your laptop and then look down at your phone.) An omni-channel approach aims to make that switch seem natural and consistent. In other words, the customer’s view and experience are central to the process, and data is used to make that experience integrated and remove the “feeling” of channels.
If multi-channel is more about availability, than omni-channel is more about consistency. While multi-channel centers your brand or product, omni-channel centers the customer.
Imagine this: Madeline Frasier, a longtime subscriber to your magazine, has just sent you a check. She’s a few days late with her payment, but it’s on its way. No one knows that, though, and because the account is still listed as outstanding in your database, a collection letter is sent to her house. Your company has now spent money to collect money that’s already in transit. If only there was a way to see that Madeline had mailed her check.
OSG MailTrekˢᴹ is the way.
This tracking application taps into USPS barcode technology to track your inbound and outbound mail. An Intelligent Mail barcode (IMb) is printed on each piece of outgoing mail, which gives the USPS the data it needs to get your mail delivered to the right address on time. You can also include this barcode on the return or remittance envelope to see the status of incoming payments in real-time. This, in turn, will help suppress collection letters to customers.
For some of our customers, we have been able to achieve suppression of 4 to 5 percent of their production volume, while others have achieved as high as 12 percent suppression.
With MailTrek, you’ll improve the efficiency of your collection efforts by reducing the number and frequency of your mailings, and you’ll also improve your customers’ experience. Who wants to get a letter when they’ve already paid? Your company saves money on another letter, and Madeline isn’t annoyed.
A nine to five strategy doesn’t work in a 24/7 business climate. From a company perspective, having access to your transactional document information any time of day isn’t a luxury—it’s essential.
We developed OSG Insight with that around-the-clock necessity in mind. This tool gives you a real-time snapshot into your business with us any time of day. Once you log into your account through our website, you can oversee all of your billing and invoicing jobs. Need to check the status of a file at 9 p.m.? Do it. We designed Insight to give you more control but also to increase the level of transparency with us as your billing partner. In short, you get insight into what we’re doing on our end.
You can also opt for even more control when you begin working with OSG. When we do your onboarding process, we can set your account for client review and release. You are the one who clicks Release This File to send the job off after a final review.
Additionally, you can manage the marketing component of your transactional documents through the portal. Your custom library—housed on the site—stores any marketing messages you create or upload. It also houses custom images specific to your company’s brand. Update your messaging, then edit and delete as you go.
Other Insight-ful things:
-Upload files to the OSG site for processing
-Run accounting reports based on OSG invoices
-See the status of past jobs as well as current ones
-Keep track of available insert inventory
-Run postage reports as far back as a year
Added bonus: You don’t need any special software for Insight. We host it.
Contact us for more details.
If your company’s goal is to move customers from paper bills to electronic, we understand why. Electronic bill payment and presentment (EBPP) is cost-effective, environmentally-friendly, and customer-centric. But now you have to convince them of that.
Because of the perpetual digital revolution we live in, it seems like customer migration to a digital platform would be simple. What many customers really want, though, is the option to move freely between channels without any disruption of their experience. And some don’t want to give up print mail at all.
Our OSG eAdoption program guides you through the electronic adoption process. When you’re pushing electronic billing, it’s important to focus on working smartly and in stages. Not everyone is going to bite right away. Conduct surveys, communicate frequently, and spread your paperless messages through multiple channels—eblasts, postcards, inserts, and invoice and envelope messaging. Here are some of our other recommendations.
- Run marketing campaigns—multiple campaigns.
Marketing is a crucial element here. If Marjorie Duncan has been receiving a paper bill from you for 30 years, she’ll likely need more than a one-time suggestion to go paperless. Introduce, explain, and then start again from a different angle.
Simply put, the best way to get someone to do something is to give them a great reason to do it. Consider offering electronic billing as part of a discounted service plan. Tell customers you’ll donate to an environmental cause. Be creative.
- Manage the customer experience.
Once the customer migration begins, make it worth it to them! Your EBPP system should be easy to navigate. Customers should feel a sense of control, whether through notifications of invoice availability or through SMS text-to-pay options.
In the end, it’s crucial to be consistent with education, awareness, and incentives. We can help create an adoption plan that works.
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.