New Year’s Recap Part 2: 19 Direct Marketing, Call-Center and Social Media Tips of 2009

Presenting 12 more tips to help your business optimize profits this year. Direct mail marketing and analysis, call centers, e-commerce websites, and customer testimonials are all examined.

(For part 1, and tips one through seven dealing with social media, lead generation and Twitter, click here.)

Direct Mail Marketing and Analysis
8. Concentrate 40 percent of your efforts on lists. Spend an additional 40 percent on your offer. Tie it all together by allocating 20 percent to creative execution.

9. Calculating cost per acquisition (CPA) by incorporating catalog costs helps you understand the relationship between sales demand and the costs required to stimulate that demand. Many of the most successful catalog marketers use CPA as a regular way of doing business. CPA can do a better job of evaluating the true performance of customer results vs. prospecting results, which have different cost structures.

You can even better evaluate the use of co-op databases, which have different results and costs. You’d expect customers to achieve positive CPAs — i.e., profit — and prospects to generate negative or true CPAs. The formula for calculating CPA is as follows: (net demand – cost of goods – mailing costs) / number of orders.

10. I’m also nuts about other financial analyses, such as lifetime value, squinch (square inch for measuring catalog space usage), cash flow, balance sheets, etc. To this day, I’m amazed at how many people I work with, smart people, who still want to practice direct marketing by the seat of their pants.

Marketing just doesn’t make much sense without financial understanding. Too many direct marketing companies think they’re brands. And too many direct marketers think they “know” what their customers want and, hence, perform no analysis.

11. The chatter I hear every day is that direct mail is dead. Mostly, this is perpetuated by pure-play internet folks who believe marketing is all about “pull” rather than “push.”

12. I particularly like this passage from the DMAchoice website: “Direct mail is a green way to shop. If Americans replaced two trips to the mall each year with shopping by catalog, we’d reduce our number of miles driven by 3.3 billion, a 3 billion-lb. reduction in carbon dioxide and a savings of $650 million on gas alone.”

Call-Center Tips (From the C-Level Down)
13. Want to know what’s going on in your organization? Run, don’t walk, to your call center and spend time listening to order calls, customer service calls and other inquiries. I guarantee you’ll be enlightened and find ways to improve your product(s) and service.

14. Talk to your call-center staff — especially frontline reps. These people are the true unsung heroes in your companies, and they intimately know what’s right and wrong with your products and service.

15. Want to see your average order values, conversion rates and lifetime values go up? Bring a call center into the mix. Think about it this way: If your website converts 4 percent of visitors, even the worst of call centers will convert at least 10 percent of callers. That’s a 2.5:1 ratio, on the low end.

16. Function under the guise that great — even sometimes so-so — direct marketing will make the telephone ring, but expertise in the call center will make the cash register sing!

Your Website
17. Prominently display your phone number on your homepage and ALL pages of your site. Make it big. Make it stand out. And put it in multiple places on pages. Your prospects and customers don’t want to have to work to find you.

18. Consumers don’t have the time to spend on your site figuring out how to contact you with their simple questions. They don’t want to search your FAQs or dig around for contact info. They want answers immediately; otherwise, they don’t care how good your products are, they won’t order. Don’t lose business over this.

Getting Testimonials
19. You’d be surprised how easy it is to get testimonials from your customers. In most cases, all you have to do is ask.

One thought on “New Year’s Recap Part 2: 19 Direct Marketing, Call-Center and Social Media Tips of 2009

  1. andy says:

    thank for your advice, to become a pro blogger, or succesful webmaster i should implement your suggestion above in my website or blog, especially for direct mail marketing and information about website. Direct email indeed a good way to keep communication with our subscriber and update routine information so they’ll get new information. But maybe we can give something within this email, so they’ll pleased and keep to be loyal subscribers in our site.

    For website, you’re right that we have create a detail information, for example in “about us” or “contact us” menu so the visitor will easily find out to contact us.

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