Turn Complaints Into Loyal Customers

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Everybody gets customer complaints once in awhile. Improperly handled, those complaints can erode customer relationships. Properly handled, they can actually deepen them. How is this possible? Studies have shown that companies’ responses to critical customer feedback can change the way consumers feel about companies, products, and brands. Customers value brands that listen and respond to them, so it is important to develop a company culture of responsiveness and caring.

Here are some tips to help you turn a negative into a positive:

  1. Set up a formal customer feedback program. Create an environment in which it’s easy for customers to make contact with you. Customers are more likely to provide feedback by print or email than they are at the checkout counter.
  2. Ditch the boilerplate. If a customer complains, personalize your responses to each individual and his or her specific issue. Give them a real human being to deal with.
  3. Pre-fill response forms. The easier you make it for customers to return forms, the more likely they are to do so. Pre-fill information such as name and address, make and model of product, and serial number.
  4. Use multiple channels. Surveys show that when brands communicate with customers across multiple channels, customers are happier with their purchases and the brand overall. Create a consistent brand experience regardless of channel the customer uses to communicate with you.
  5. Tap into your customer data. Data-driven communications can really help with customer retention and customer satisfaction. Use triggered messaging to automatically generate a thank you (such as personalized thank-you emails) to let them know you appreciate the feedback, whether positive or not.

Need help setting up a multi-channel customer feedback program? Let us help!

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Maximize Your Marketing

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Did you know that 72% of consumers say they would rather connect with brands and businesses in a multi-channel environment (SailThru)? And that 55% of marketers now use three to four channels to reach their target audiences, up from 44% two years ago (Direct Marketing Association)?

Creating a multi-channel mix doesn’t have to be daunting. Here are six tips for maximizing your efforts:

1. Don’t let data paralysis keep you down.
“Multi” begins with two. Start with a simple one-two punch with email and direct mail. Or direct mail to mobile marketing video via QR Code. Add social media sharing buttons to blog posts and e-newsletters. Then add in other components one at a time.

2. Know the strengths and weaknesses of each channel.
Marketing channels are not interchangeable. Each has strengths and weaknesses, so know the pros and cons of each channel and match them to the right stage in the campaign.

3. Know your customers’ channel preferences.
For some campaigns, you may want to use multiple channels to reach the same customer at different times and in different ways. Other times, you want to communicate primarily or initially through their preferred channel(s). For example, if you offer a customer newsletter, don’t assume everyone wants the print or email version and send every person the same thing. Ask which channel they prefer, then honor their request. You’ll get more responses and improved customer loyalty that way.

4. Remember that social and mobile channels are driven by print.
If you want to grow your email and social media efforts, start with print. That’s because print is one of the key drivers of awareness of email and social media exposure and sign-ups.

5. Break down the silos.
Although multi-channel campaigns don’t have to be integrated, simple reasoning says that they should be. All of these components need to work together, whether through a marketing automation system or being driven by human decision-making. This requires breaking down data silos.

6. Match channels to their place in the sales funnel.
Marketing channels are not interchangeable. They are used at different times and for different purposes. Understand the role each channel plays in your sales funnel and match the channels up appropriately.

Need help understanding the benefits of each channel and putting together an effective mix? Give us a call – Multi-Craft can put your ideas in motion!

 

 

 

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Checklist for Clean Mailing Lists

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When it comes to direct mail, maximum results start, not just with a mailing list, but with a clean mailing list. So what does a “clean” list really mean? Here is a quick checklist that can help.

  1. CASS Certification. CASS Certification is the process we use to check the validity and deliverability of a physical mailing address. Bowman Street isn’t the same as Bowman Avenue, and getting it right can make the difference between the mail getting delivered or not.
  2. Address Element Correction (AEC). When CASS Certified address-matching software cannot match an address, it becomes a candidate for AEC. AEC corrects problems such as misspellings, nonstandard abbreviations, improperly ordered elements, and address lines that contain information other than the actual address. It also fixes missing elements.
  3. National Change of Address (NCOA). According to the USPS, 40 million people move every year, but their old addresses often remain in your database. In fact, estimates are that 8% of mail is undeliverable because of incorrect addresses. Taking the simple step of updating the addresses of new movers can save you thousands of dollars.
  4. Locatable Address Conversion System (LACS) Link. This method allows you to update addresses when a 911 emergency system has been implemented to convert rural-style addresses to city-style addresses or when a street address has been renamed or renumbered.
  5. ZIPMove. Sometimes addresses undergo a ZIP Code realignment, and when this occurs, ZIPMove will update your database to reflect the new ZIP Code.

You’ve taken the time and effort to collect the names and addresses of customers and key prospects. Now let us help you maximize your investment by keeping your list clean and updated so every mail piece hits its target.  When you’re ready to put your ideas in motion, Multi-Craft is ready to help!

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Does 1:1 Printing Really Make A Difference?

More and more, we are hearing about print personalization, or variable data printing, to achieve higher response rates and better ROI. But does personalizing by name, geographic location, or demographic information really make that much difference? Can’t you just achieve higher response rates with a better offer? An over-sized postcard? Or a really great design?

These things do increase response rates, but they aren’t replacements for a personalized approach. Consider these research findings:

  • 56% of consumers are more likely to buy from a retailer that recognizes them by name.  (Accenture)
  • 59% of consumers say that personalization influences their purchase decisions. (Infosys)
  • 84% of consumers say personalization makes them more likely to open a direct mail piece. (InfoTrends)

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Personalization works because it’s, well, personal. From a consumer perspective, it’s less about what’s good for the marketer and more about what’s good for them.

Why does it work? Just think about how you are being marketed to. What motivates you as a consumer? When you shop online, you are asked to register so that the site can greet you by name. Cookies follow your every move so that when you return, the page views are customized to your purchase or viewing patterns. At the grocery store, your receipt is printed with coupons based on the items you just purchased. When you receive mail from your financial advisor, it contains information only on those funds in which you have invested or that are relevant to you based on your past investment history.

Consumers—all of us—are used to being marketed to on a 1:1 basis, even if we don’t think about it this way. Personalization has become so ingrained in our experience that we barely realize it anymore. If you aren’t incorporating personalization into your print marketing (as well as your email and other digital channels), you are out of step with marketing’s cutting edge.

Need help personalizing your next print or multi-channel marketing campaign?  Let Multi-Craft help put your 1:1 ideas in motion!

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Qualitative Data Vs. Quantitative Data: Do You Know the Difference?

When it comes to personalized marketing, whether in print or email, there are two types of data: quantitative and qualitative.

Quantitative data is data that you can put numbers on—household income, ZIP Code, number of children. We often call these demographics. Qualitative data is data that you cannot put numbers on, such as preferences and behavior. We often call these psychographics.

Marketers have become used to using quantitative data to speak more personally and relevantly to customers.  Customers in this household income bracket get these offers. Customers in that household income bracket get those. Customers with elementary school age children get information on Product A. Customers with high school age children get information on Product B.

Qualitative data can seem more challenging than quantitative data, but it can be even more rewarding. This is because, while we can make general statements about certain demographic groups, it’s limited. Just because someone is a homeowner doesn’t mean they need roofing services, for example. Conversely, people who receive Trail Runner magazine are likely to be interested in similar types of outdoor running gear even if they have different ages and household incomes.

This is why marketers are increasingly using both quantitative and qualitative data to inform their marketing strategies.  For example, a manufacturer of outdoor running gear might start with lists of people who read Trail Runner and similar magazines, then sub-segment offers based on other factors, such as income or geographic region.

So when it comes to creating targeted and personalized direct mail and email campaigns, think in terms of data that can be put into numbers and data that cannot. Then, most importantly, how they go together.

Let us help you put your personalized marketing in motion!

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What Is Really Motivating Your Customers?

When we think about motivating consumers to make a purchase, we think about using the right mailing list, creating the right offer, and having a compelling call to action. Whether creating a direct mail piece, a sales letter, or a magazine advertisement, those elements are critical. But the reasons people buy can also be more complex.

Particularly in the B2C environment, emotional factors are often at play. For example, if you are selling exotic vacations, you aren’t just selling a cost-effective hotel with great food and a seafront view.

  • You are selling relaxation.
  • You are tapping into the desire to escape from the daily grind of meetings, presentations, and child rearing.
  • You are selling the desire to be catered to.

Tapping into these deep emotional wells can help you sell more.  Instead of mailing a postcard with the headline, “Get 25% off plane tickets today!” Try, “Don’t you wish the office were a Thousand Miles Away?” Or, “Isn’t It Time that Someone Pampered YOU?”

Think about a parent dreaming of excitement beyond the children’s homework, playing shuttle for soccer practice, and meetings for the PTA. A trip offering whitewater rafting, bungee jumping, and skydiving might tap deep emotional needs for adventure.  Try a postcard with an image of the face of a skydiver, wide-eyed and exhilarated—cheeks flapping in the wind—that says, “You, too, can FLY!”

Whether you are developing direct mailers, sales letters, or magazine ads . . .

  • Think about unmet frustrations and deeper emotions that might drive recipients to make a change.
  • List the potential motivators. To be recognized at work? Get a promotion? Be challenged? Break out of the mold? Feel empowered, youthful, and sexy?
  • Show — don’t tell. Use the power of graphics to tell a story.

Emotions are powerful marketing tools. Emotionally driven purchases tend to be less price-sensitive and more spontaneous. The medium of print has the ability to tap into those emotions and motivate behavior in a way that no other medium can do. Take advantage of it and let us help you put your ideas in motion!

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Benefit From Effective Branding

Related imageAn effective brand creates an enduring perception in the minds of your customers and distinguishes you from your competitors.  An investment in branding can pay off in many ways.

Increase mind share.  When you want a cola, you think of Coca-Cola or Pepsi.  If you need a bandage, Band-Aid comes to mind.  Are you top-of-mind in your market segment?  The sensory components of printed materials engage readers on an emotional level, connecting customers to your brand in a way electronic marketing can’t match.  Consider incorporating a gloss varnish, embossing, a distinctive die cut, or one of the many textures now available in papers and other substrates.

Build loyalty.  A memorable experience with a quality brand creates loyalty, which translates not only into the likelihood of a repeat sale but also an increased probability that the customer will buy related items from the same brand.

Benefit from referrals.  People who have never used your product or service may still recommend it if they’ve encountered your brand enough times to develop a sense of familiarity.  Printed collateral can be more visible to the casual observer as the prospect doesn’t have to consciously seek out your message.  Include your social media information on your printed products.

Command a premium price.  A powerful brand can lift your product or service out of the ambit of a commodity, so you have buyers eager to pay more for what you’re selling.  Many companies sell coffee, so what makes people stand in line and pay top dollar at Starbucks?

Lower your marketing cost in the long run.  Although you have to invest resources to create a strong brand, once it is established you can maintain it without having to re-tell your story. Many budget-conscious marketers rely heavily on electronic media, but research shows that people still prefer print.  We simply don’t have the same visceral reaction to an e-brochure as a professionally printed piece.

Less risk for the consumer equals more sales for you.  If someone is put on the spot to make a decision, he will most likely choose the brand-name supplier.  Consider monthly postcard marketing so prospects interact with your brand regularly.  Printed materials have the advantage over electronic media based on portability and permanence.

Building an effective brand is a continuous process.  Evaluate your brand’s market position periodically to make sure it’s fresh and relevant.

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