Thursday, December 8, 2011

If you build it, they may not come! Thoughts on closing the sale.

I have been conducting e-mail campaigns for a few years now. In that time, I have sent out over 1 million prospect letters to prospects for undergraduate degree completion programs or graduate programs. An interesting trend has occured that I didn't anticipate, nor did I expect. Most clients look at their direct mail/e-mail campaigns as an end all and be all. Literally "If we send it they will come" perspective. Yet, like most campaigns a few facts need to be reviewed.

First if you watch TV, look in magazines, read newspapers, what strikes you about the ads that you see? Yes, there may be too many of them, but, the fact is, they are repetitive! In order to generate sales, businesses have learned to repeat the same message over and over again to get someone's attention. This is the first rule that I see happening. Mail fewer pieces but send them more often is very helpful when planning a direct marketing program.

Second, something particular to e-mail campaigns is what are prospects "clicking through to"? Basically most clients click through to the program web page, or to the general website for their school. There is no way you can track performance if you do this. They go, disappear into the mass of traffic that goes directly to your website. You MUST create a landing page. That page is specifically designed to do two things. One, capture their name/address/phone and e-mail. Next you MUST succinctly state your special offer for them giving you their information. As an example, if you offer a $1,000 scholarship for registering and attending your institution, the landing page informs them that if they don't fill out this form, they will not be eligible for the scholarship. Cause and effect. You want $1,000, tell us who you are.

Third, follow up on the campaign. Using the landing page, using whatever response vehicle you can manage contact, these prospects multiple times, just like commercial retailers do. The recency/frequency of contact are keys in winning over prospects.

So, how do you build an effective e-mail campaign? That will be in the next blog within the next few days.