Successful crosschannel marketers recognize that the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow really depends on leveraging the strengths of all channels. Here’s a few tips for 2012:
1. Continue Prospecting: Focus on growing your 12-month buyer file. If your 12-month buyer file is growing, you sales will increase (the opposite is also true). Good sources for new buyers are pay-per-click (PPC), search engine optimization (SEO), inquiry programs and traditional catalog prospecting. Email lists are expensive to rent and generally do not work for catalogers. Likewise, postcards aren’t cost efficient for prospecting either.
2. Mail Your Housefile: Continue mailing your housefile and all of your 0-12 month buyers regardless of the channel they came from. Don’t assume that just because a new buyer came from the Internet, they should not be mailed. Segment one-time buyers from two-time-plus customers. Often, the one-time buyers searched for an item online, found it, but have no intentions of purchasing again. This segment might not need to be mailed as often.
3. Lifetime Value (LTV): Not all customers are created equal. Different channels result in different lifetime values. For example, the LTV of a one-time only Internet buyer might not have the same LTV of a new buyer generated from a cooperative database prospect list. Base your prospecting decision on the LTV and not on the initial order.
4. Matchbacks: While not perfect, they are a must and should be done frequently. Matchbacks will help you identify where orders are coming from. At least 80% of orders cannot be traced to a specific source code without the help of a matchback.
5. Maximize Page Counts: Don’t reduce your page count because you feature more items on your website—maximize your pieces to at least the U.S. Postal Service piece rate maximum weight of 3.3 ounces. Postage is at least 50% of the cost to print and mail a catalog. Therefore, leverage the postage costs by circulating more pages and featuring more products.
6. Don’t Eliminate the Order Form: A printed on-page order form will do. It doesn’t have to be a separate bind-in order form. Often, the order form is useful for reference to a customer even when they’re placing an order online or by phone.
7. Use Promotions: Use online-only promotions to drive traffic to the Internet. Use email campaigns to A/B split test offers. Test offers with no dollar minimum. Often the response rate and average order size will both increase when there is no dollar threshold.
8. Segment Internet Buyers by Source: Most mailers find buyers who come through programs such as Amazon are not profitable to mail even once since these buyers generally bought based on price and have no brand loyalty. Buyers who buy from search engines should be differentiated based on which search terms they used. For example, someone who searched on your catalog name will probably be a good customer. On the other hand, someone who searched based on something like “cheapest lamp” will most likely not be a repeat buyer. It’s important to know where Internet buyers came from to determine whether they should be mailed.
9. Enhance Older Buyers on Your Housefile: Use one of the coops to enhance the older parts of your customer file. One trick is to flag older buyers who have made a coop purchase in the last year from another catalog. These names are more likely to respond even if the entire recency-frequency-monetary value (RFM) segment isn’t profitable to mail in a weaker season. Alternatively, you can flag your older buyers who haven’t made a coop purchase in the last 24 months. These are good suppression opportunities even in stronger RFM segments.
10. Use a Coop to Flag Holiday Season-Only Buyers. Suppressing these buyers from spring/summer mailings can boost overall performance of the buyers who are mailed.
Stephen R. Lett is the president of Lett Direct, Inc.