We want to talk. How should we contact you?

Once upon a time you were able to reach your customers and targeted prospects with direct mail, newspaper ads, outbound phone calls, email blasts and even enhanced yellow page listings.

If you are using the same channels to reach your audience that you employed ten years ago, you are finding it more and more difficult to deliver the same message.

While targeted and personalized messages in the mail can still be effective, response rates to offers are down 30% to 40%. Newspaper advertising, as I documented in a previous blog is 40% less effective than it was in the 80’s and 90’s and just as costly. And of course, telemarketing took a 50% hit in usefulness with the advent of the do not call list. In the last decade, the phone book has gotten smaller and smaller and barely qualifies as a decent kids booster chair anymore. The most important thing to know about email is that large generically addressed blasts don’t work anymore either. To maintain any effective return your email messages need to have a very targeted single message and be personalized for each individual.

The shift away from traditional channels of communication is in part led by technology and just as importantly changes in lifestyle. We are a people who work longer hours, have crowded schedules, watch TV in an on demand mode, and search for our news, as well as our next purchase, on a smart phone.

In addition to all that, people appear to be less likely to call you back when you leave a voice mail message or an email asking them to do so.

There seem to be only three effective strategies to deal with this quandary. First, once you have successfully engaged a customer or prospect keep in touch on that same communication channel at least twice a month with a personalized offer, news of a new product or service or a special event. Second, the best way to re-connect with a customer you have lost touch with or a prospect you are trying to connect with for the first time is to try multiple channels to see which one generates a response. Be sure to extend a significant incentive ($25 or more) for a limited period that will generate a timely call or visit in the near future. Third, ask the customer or prospect for the most effective way and time to reach them and be persistent.

Explore posts in the same categories: Audience Targeting, Direct Mail, Email, Media, Web traffic

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5 Comments on “We want to talk. How should we contact you?”

  1. They thought We want to talk. How should we contact you? was pretty awesome.
    Lesley Carter

    Thanks Lesley.

  2. emorydigital Says:

    Steve-a good case for marketers to review their customer contact strategy frequently. What worked yesterday often is not what works today when it comes to contacting customers and where they spend their time shopping for information and products. Look at your friends, family and business associates to see what mobile devices they are using. iPads, iPhones and their look a likes are not going away.

  3. As a print media buy, I actually find that newspaper ads are less expensive than a decade ago. I specialize in national classifieds and print in general has much more opportunities for discounting. There are more “free ad” discounts than ever. I think the newspaper industry has had to compete with online ads so they’ve had to discount pricing.

    • Leigh Ann,
      Thanks for your comment. I have very limited experience in the national classifieds arena. I am delighted to hear that the industry is reacting to online competition with more competitive pricing.

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