Nov 10, 2009

Lumpy Mail – Secret Weapon or Dud?

"Tom, if you’re not using Lumpy Mail, you are missing a great opportunity.”

The speaker was Jim Cecil, founder of the Nurture Marketing institute, and a lecturer at a marketing conference I attended in 1993. Jim had been talking about some amazing results he had obtained using regular mail, with an enclosure large enough to make the envelope “lumpy”. When doing a B2B mailing for a large software company based in Washington State (!!) he achieved a 63% open rate. (In direct mail circles, that is considered REALLY good).

Since that time I have used lumpy mail from time to time, where the value of new relationships was high enough that it made sense to do anything we could to make a connection with a target. As a matter of fact, I am working on two such programs now for a couple of clients. They work because, as one happy customer put it, “With [lumpy] mail pieces I've experienced as much as a quadrupling in response rate over "flat" letters and postcards. There's just nothing like dimensional's like being a kid again, ripping open your mail to see what the surprise is inside! ”

If it is such a great technique, why isn’t every B2B solicitation “lumpy”? Because the other side of the coin (pun coming!) is cost and lead quality. The cost per lead makes this technique an unprofitable one if the Lifetime Customer Value is not greater than $500, in my opinion. And then there is the cost of the “enclosure”. I got a piece of lumpy mail last week with a pen inside. I opened it, kept the pen, and threw out the mailing piece. You want to avoid buying the lead with an enclosure that is too valuable.

Howard Sewell, of Connect Direct Inc., a highly successful direct mail firm that focuses on high technology businesses, advises his clients to ask these questions before embracing lumpy mail for a lead generation campaign:

  • Is my goal maximum response at any price, or is it minimum cost per lead?
  • How much is a lead really worth to our company?
  • What qualifies a prospect as being a genuine lead, and will this campaign generate those kinds of prospects?

Oct 11, 2009

Facebook for Business?

Many People have asked me about the suitability of using Facebook for business development. Recently, The Professional Services Journal posed this question to its readers, and the Journal's editor recently summarized the feedback. Here is her article, reproduced with attribution:


Face It: Facebook Can Help Businesses

Do it right to make it work

by Meryl K. Evans, Editor, Professional Services Journal

While many businesses see Facebook (FB) as more of a personal social network where people find family and school friends, an equal amount of businesses have set up shop on Facebook to create communities and boost brand loyalty.

Facebook allows you to assign minimal access to people whom you don't know well or know only on a professional level. They won't be able to see your photos and other personal information.

Not all readers agree on whether Facebook should be part of your business marketing strategy. Their advice falls into one of the following three ideas:

  • Take advantage of Facebook Pages and Groups.
  • Go a-twitterin' instead.
  • Look to your customers.

Take advantage of Facebook Pages and Groups

Facebook Pages and Groups can be a great place to serve your customers, share tips, announce upcoming free seminars and so on. When creating a Facebook Page, focus on offering value to your customers and mention your blog, newsletter and other resources. A good social network strategy uses various social networks and refers them to each other since everyone has a preference for one network over another.

Go a-twitterin' instead

For some businesses, Facebook might not be ideal, and they should look to Twitter instead. "Facebook is designed to keep you on the page as long as possible with all those annoying applets and friends poking you. Ignore FB and work a Twitter account into your business. It's best to focus your efforts on one avenue in social media rather than spreading yourself out too much," says Greg Wolkins, Web consultant with Catscape.

Look to your customers

Marketing's first rule comes to play here. What do your customers want? What do they use? "The whole point of social media is that it is social. Determine where your customers and collaborators are and join them. If you discover that your community is on Facebook, then develop a quality presence there. The same for LinkedIn or Twitter. The first question to ask is always, whom do I want to interact with and where will I find them? Once you answer this question, you'll know where you need to be," says Joan Koerber-Walker, chairman of CorePurpose, Inc.

Some business-to-business (B2B) companies have not yet warmed up to the social networking thing, especially with Facebook. CEO and President of Retention Resource Center Terri Schepps says, "If a business is consumer-focused, I can see the value in having a Facebook page. Facebook is not the best platform for B2B businesses. Mixing personal and business can be risky for both."

You can manage your Facebook account to connect with business contacts while minimizing what they can see on the personal side of your FB account. Users connect with others, join networks through Group and FB Pages and reinforce their business brand. In fact, should you decide to try FB for your business, discover 32 ways to use Facebook for Business.