Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Fulfillment Power: Using collateral for sales

It never ceases to amaze me just how many businesses forget to leverage their fulfillment package, whether it’s print or electronic, to help bond with customers and gain continued sales.

Here’s my viewpoint:

I’ve just ordered a widget. I can’t wait for it to come. I’m soooo excited. Finally, that nice brown box comes in the mail and anticipation builds up. I open the box and see…

…a packing slip and my widget.

Just like Debbie Downer on Saturday Night Live…"whaa, whaa, whaaaaa."

Wow, talk about letting the air out of my excitment balloon.

Now, what I would have liked to see and actually expected to see (maybe it’s because of my direct marketing background) would have been a nice, warm and fuzzy "thank you" or "welcome letter." Something from someone of importance…the CEO, the Director of Client Services, whomever. And a simple, personable note letting me know they appreciate my purchase and my continued business.

What’s also nice is getting a special new customer appreciation offer, such as a special discount or coupon certificate or code to use online. I’d also like if the widget company threw in a catalog of all their widgets. Since I’ve ordered one, I may need to order again and they’d be right there to help me out.

Doesn’t that just make good business sense?

Here are some simple ideas, when applicable, for print and electronic fulfillment that helps encourage sales and customer lifetime value:

  1. Personal Welcome or Thank You letter
  2. Catalog (whether it’s for newsletters, products, or services. It could highlight all products OR current top sellers).
  3. Cross-marketing flyer (a flyer highlighting a current hot product OR a natural, synergistic up-sell from the product ordered).
  4. Coupon or special discount offer (or if electronic, coupon/promo code for online ordering).
  5. Free sample (Women may remember Avon used to include tiny little lipsticks or perfume with their order. This approach is similar, could be a small, economy/sample size product OR bonus report or download access. Customers love, love, love freebies!).
  6. Renewal (in publishing, this is called "renewal at birth". If you’re selling a subscription service, include a renewal order form with your first issue).
  7. Friends and family savings (another coupon for customer to pass on to friends or family. This encourages viral/word of mouth marketing).
  8. Packing slip with product return label/instructions

As most marketers know, the first 0-30 days is when a client is red hot. Don’t leave them cold. Leverage this time frame with your correspondence and turn your fulfillment pieces into another way to monetize sales and relationship build with your customers.

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