It is the kind of conflict that ties marketers in knots. They know it’s important to connect with customers and prospects one on one. Yet sales is a numbers game, and it’s all too easy to think of the recipient as just a name on a list – one that you “nurture” through customized, well timed-email “drip campaigns,” and increase “touch points.”
Marketing jargon aside, how does one achieve the scale and efficiency of automation and digital communications – yet still find a way to treat the customer as individuals and show them that you care? Said another way, how to balance the super ego of good customer relations with the id or baser impulses of mass blasts?
We’ll never get back to the days when great service meant greeting customers by name as they walked into the corner store Yet today’s tortured marketers can rest easier as there are a number of ways to strike a middle ground. Think of it as mass customization, a manufacturing principle, applied to your sales process.
One way to do this is send your prospect a handwritten card. “Um, a card? Like, with real handwriting?” I can hear you asking this, and how to make it happen across your hopefully massive database. The super ego is realizing that it might actually be a good idea, while the id is already a couple of steps ahead, wondering how to send the work to India.
But there are ways to scale handwritten communications. Just like marketers in growing numbers are again waking up to the advantages of email marketing (after all you have just one inbox that you check often), they’re realizing the importance of the physical mailbox. Direct mail is coming back into vogue, with 70% of Americans saying that snail mail is more personal than the internet, according to the Direct Marketing Association.
Technology can let you have the “cake” of quantity (mass blasts) and eat it too (i.e. the quality of the manual approach of a handwritten note). You need a way to stand out.
Rising above the Digital Noise
In a world of digital distraction, noise and interruptions, a physical card or note can be the secret to breaking through and connecting with busy customers. It can provide welcome relief from other things that demand attention. Personalizing the piece with handwriting and other elements creates a special connection between the sender and receiver.
While most physical and virtual messages are quickly sent to the junk mail pile, a real note with handwriting demands extra attention. But it can be hard to maintain these kinds of campaigns, and they cost money and time. Luckily, there are tools that automate the process, such as Thankster.com.
It authentically simulates handwriting and can even replicate the sender’s writing. When combined with the latest marketing automation tools, they can let you stamp each note with your personality on a mass scale. This combines the power and efficiency of marketing automation with a vehicle that grabs attention, delights recipients and boosts open rates, sales and referrals.
Users can create projects at the site, or integrate with a CRM. With the latter, you can trigger a card mailing based on rules, such as passing purchasing or donation thresholds. This allows you to carefully control how many cards are sent, to ensure that they continue to go out over time, and ultimately facilitates measurement of ROI.
For example, if you want to trigger a card to be created and sent out after a customer passes a purchasing milestone or speaks with your team, you can use an automated handwritten card solution, like Thankster, to weave personalized handwritten cards into your marketing campaigns, whether it’s to support nurturing campaigns or loyalty programs.
Other Ways to get Personal
Automating handwritten notes is not the only way to forge a stronger connection with the customer on a mass scale. Here are two others.
SaleMove offers a dramatically improved online customer experience. It takes you many steps beyond the the typical live chat and phone support. Support channels are often uncoordinated and frustrating for the customer. SaleMove elegantly integrates IM, phone support, video chat and email so that the team’s left hand knows what its right hand is doing – and together they seemlessly solve customer problems.
Here’s another. In your efforts to get personal, you don’t want to stray into “creepy” territory. That is exactly what retargetting ads do. They’re the ones that seem to stalk you, based on a website visit recorded in your browser cookie. Solutions like Listen Loop offer a much smarter approach. They personalize Web ads based on rules and information about the user’s company.
There you have it – you can have mass communications, and your personalization too. I hope you found these ideas helpful. Would you like to share any additional thoughts or ideas?
About the authors:
Paul Geller (CEO) is a serial entrepreneur with both online and offline success. After completing his MBA at MIT (Sloan School), Paul ran a computerized analytical trading fund for Kidder Peabody & Co., Inc. and went on to start his own hedge fund (Centurion Capital Group). In addition, Paul was the CEO and founder of Delivery.com, selling a majority interest to a major financial services firm in 2008. He founded and is currently running Thankster.com.
Based in New York City, Bob Geller is president of Fusion PR. He is a veteran of tech sales, marketing and PR and has developed best practices for working social media and content marketing into the PR mix. Bob has been covered in publications such as PR Week, Entrepreneur, MarketingProfs, PR News and Bulldog Reporter. and writes and speaks frequently on social media, content marketing and PR.