Saturday, August 31, 2013

7 Ways to Maximize Fulfillment and Collateral Pieces for Profits

 My latest article in Target Marketing...

Sure, fulfillment and inserts aren't as sexy as other forms of marketing, but they can be viable ways to bring in steady, ancillary revenues.

I've seen some online publishers bring in hundreds of thousands of dollars with a carefully thought-out insert program. For instance, taking a direct mail control piece and adding it in customer fulfillment packages as an insert. A no-brainer, right?

Wrong! You'll be surprised how many businesses are leaving money on the table by not doing this.
Are you leveraging your fulfillment kit? Do you have a strategy for your inserts?

Here are some simple ideas, when applicable, for print and electronic fulfillment that help encourage sales (cross-sells) and help customer lifetime value:
  1. Personal Welcome or Thank You Letter (whether it's for newsletters, products or services. It could highlight all products OR current top sellers). This is the first thing a new customer will see. Make sure it is written in a personal, comfortable tone—welcoming the customers and reiterating what a good decision they just made and thanking them for their purchases. You can also add a little verbiage about your core values and what makes you unique in the marketplace. Be sure to reiterate any product guarantees you have, as well as customer service contact information.
  2. Cross-marketing Piece. This can be a current direct mail piece edited for insert purposes. A flier highlighting a current hot product OR a natural, synergistic upsell from the product ordered. Or a "customer favorites" catalog. This encourages continued purchases now and down the road.
  3. Coupon or special discount offer. (or if electronic, coupon/promo code for online ordering). Consider offering a special "thank you" coupon or a "share this with a friend/family member" coupon for additional sales and viral/word of mouth marketing.
  4. Free Sample. (Women may remember Avon used to include tiny little lipsticks or perfume with their order. This approach can be translated in most any business—it could be a small, economy/sample size product, a bonus report, or more. Customers love, love, love freebies!
  5. Renewal at Birth. This is a popular publishing term. If you're selling a subscription service or continuity program, you can include a renewal order form with your first issue at a special early discount rate.
  6. Packing Slip. Many people overlook this fulfillment piece, but it can be used for more than printing out what is being sent to your customer. You can print your return policy/instruction on this piece of correspondence, as well as adding several product return reasons to help evaluate customer satisfaction and product refinement, going forward.
  7. Feedback/Testimonial Form. Have a form to solicit customers' feedback and testimonials. This information could be priceless, as far as customer service, marketing, and new product development. Make sure your testimonial collection process is compliant so you can use stellar comments in future marketing efforts.
As most direct response marketers know, the first zero to 30 days is when a customer is red hot—as legendary entrepreneur and best-selling author of, "Ready Fire Aim," Michael Masterson,Opens in a new window would say—in their "buying frenzy." So don't leave 'em cold. Give them cross-sell and upsell options.
Leverage this timeframe with your communications and turn your fulfillment pieces into another way to increase sales and relationship-build with your customers.
You may just turn on an additional revenue stream for your business!

Sunday, May 12, 2013

7 Tips for Using ‘Power’ Polls For Listbuilding

[From my Target Marketing blog post]

Most people know Web 2.0 is simply the evolution of the Internet into an environment of interactivity, reader participation and usability. Web 2.0 opens up the dialog between user and website or blog. This connection can help generate traffic and a viral buzz.

But from a search engine marketing (SEM) standpoint, the benefits are clear and measurable: More traffic and frequent interactivity (or posts) equal better organic (free) rankings in search engine results. Getting good organic rankings is a powerful way to find qualified prospective customers.

So what online tactic encourages Web 2.0 principles as well as helps with search engine results page rank, visibility and listing-building efforts? Targeted online prospecting polls, also known as "acquisition" or "lead generation" polls.

Based on the specificity of your poll question, online acquisition polls can help you: collect relevant names and email addresses; gauge general market (or subscriber) sentiment; and generate sales (via a redirect to a synergistic promotional page). Polls also allow for interactivity, where participants can sound off about a hot topic.
I've been including strategic acquisition polls in my online marketing strategy for nearly a decade now and have rarely been disappointed with the results. Some websites, like surveymonkey.comOpens in a new window, allow members to set up free or low-cost surveys and polls. However, it may not allow you to include a name-collection component or a redirect to a promotional or "thank you" webpage, which is essential for a success.
If that's the case, either ask your Webmaster to build you a proprietary poll platform or use a poll script. You can find examples at hotscripts.comOpens in a new window, in a new window, and micropoll.comOpens in a new window.
Here are seven ways to help create a winning prospecting poll campaign:
1. Engage. Your poll question should engage the reader, encourage participation, pique interest and tie into a current event. And be sure to have a "comments" field where people can make additional remarks. Sample topics: politics, the economy, health, consumer breakthroughs, the stock market, foreign affairs.

2. Relevance. Your poll question should also be related to your product, free e-newsletter editorial, or free bonus report (which can be used as incentive). This will greatly improve your conversion rate. Let's say your free offer is a sign-up to a stock market e-newsletter and the upsell is a redirect landing page promotion to a paid gold investment newsletter for $39/yr. In that case, your poll question should be tied with the editorial copy and product, something like "Where is gold headed in 2013?" Investors who favor gold (your target audience), will respond to this question … and engage. You are gaining these qualified prospects as leads and perhaps buying customers.

3. Incentive. After people take your poll, tell them that to thank them for their participation, you're automatically signing them up for your quality, free e-newsletter or e-alerts … which they can opt out of at any time. To reduce the number of bogus email addresses you get, offer an extra incentive free "must-read" report, too. And assuming it's your policy not to sell or rent email names to third parties (and it should be, based on email best practices), indicate your privacy/anti-spam policy next to the sign-up button on your email sign up form. This will immediately reassure people that it's safe and worry-free to give you their email addresses.

4. Flag. Having your poll question somehow tie into your product makes the names you collect extremely qualified for future offers. Each name should be flagged by your database folks according to the answer they gave by topic category. You can create buckets for each product segment. Using our investing e-newsletter example, categories could be gold, oil, income, equities, etc. Segmenting the names into such categories will make it easier for you to send targeted offers later.

5. Results.  Use the poll feedback for new initiatives. In addition to collecting names, online polls will help you gauge general market opinion—and could help you come up with new products.

6. Bonding. Strengthen your new relationships. You need to reinforce the connection between the poll people just participated in and your e-newsletter. So make sure each name that comes in gets an immediate "thank you" for taking the poll. This could be via autoresponder or redirect "thank you" page. On your "thank you" page/email, can be a link for the downloadable, free e-report you promised. Consider sending a series of informational, warm and fuzzy editorial autoresponders to help new subscribers get to know who you are, what you do and how your e-newsletter will benefit them. This will help improve their lifetime customer value.

7. Results. Gratify participants with the results. Don't just leave poll participants hanging. Make sure you tell them the results will be published in your free e-newsletter or on your website (to encourage them to check it regularly), and then upload the results, as well as some of your best, most engaging comments. This is great editorial fodder, as well as helpful to increasing website readership and traffic.

Marketers have used polls internally (on their own company websites) for years. But now more than ever, with its cost effectiveness and efficiency, polls can be used to collect targeted leads and interact with prospects.

Polls aren't just for finding leads, either. They are also great for measuring market sentiment, doing competitor analysis and new product development; which, in turn, can help customer retention, customer service and sales.

Monday, December 17, 2012

Maximizing and Monetizing Your Mobile Marketing Efforts

A recent study by Google showed that 72% of consumers surveyed said want mobile-friendly site. And if you’re site isn’t one of them you may be losing leads and sales.

The fact that we’re a nation that is on-the-go and pretty much living on our smart phones or tablets means that you’re website should be adapted to these mediums to help monetize your business.

It also means that thinking about mobile marketing and how to incorporate various forms of that into your marketing strategy should be high on your list for 2013.

Mobile Friendly Must Haves

There are certain ‘must haves’ that consumers noted they are looking for in a mobile friendly website.
Such features include:

1.  Being fast.  This means having a site that loads in around 5 seconds or less.
2.  Being user friendly. Having large buttons, easy search capabilities, limited scrolling or pinching are key, based on consumer feedback.  Something to consider is having responsive templates that adjust accordingly based on the users device, albeit template, desktop or mobile phone. It’s also important to have quick access to company information such as easy-to-find business directions, contact numbers, product and purchasing information.  Even better, consider adding a ‘click to call’ access button to contact a customer service rep to take an order via the phone as well as an option for users to visit a non-mobile site.
3.  Being social.  To continue bonding and viral marketing, don’t forget links to your business’s social media profile page.
If you’re a smaller business that may not have the staff or resources to include these features into your website, there are some free and trial mobile conversion websites worth checking out, these include:, ,

The App Attack

If you’re pondering if your business ‘app worthy’ or how you can leverage apps for additional sales or leads, here’s some food for thought…
Paid apps could be a great way to add ancillary revenues to your business and free apps could be used for collecting important data (leads) which can be used for cross-selling. Some businesses even obtain revenues through ads that are built in the app from sponsorship partners.
Whichever business model you choice, you still have to decide what you’re app will feature.  Typically, content is king.  For instance if you’re a financial publisher, you may consider having an app that has stocks alerts and ideas, technical analysis, commentary and actionable data that your end user (investors ) would find beneficial. Know your audience and decide what kind of content is ‘app worthy’.

Then of course you need to market and distribute your app for increased visibility. You can promote your app though affiliate and joint venture emails, press releases, content marketing, online classifieds, and guerilla marketing in related forums and message boards. You can also include your app in various marketplaces including Play/Apps Store (Droid and iPhone), Blackberry Appworld, Apple Apps Store/iTunes, and Amazon Appstore for Android.

Of course, fees and commissions vary, but some are more cost-effective than you think. Here’s a great article with more information.
I also found a free service worth checking out called as an alternate distribution channel for your app.

QR Codes

You’ve seen ‘em, those little square bar codes on just about everything these days.  But not everyone is using them properly and not ever business needs them.  QR codes, used the right way, can be a great way to take offline marketing leads online. For instance, consider putting these little guys on your business cards, collateral material, fulfillment kits, promotional flyers, press kits, brochures and other printed materials. Why?  It’s a way for a consumer to ‘scan’ the barcode and be redirected to your sign up/‘squeeze page’ or promotional webpage to provide further information, and more importantly, collect valuable data on them so you can follow up accordingly.

SMS Texting

Recent studies show that 97% of text messages are read within minutes of receiving them. SMS text message marketing allows you to communicate directly to your target market by sending a simple, quick text message. This permission-based program is perfect because your recipients have opted-in to receive your messages. If you choose SMS texting for either bonding (editorial) or marketing (promotions), in addition to your standard anti-spam and privacy policy verbiage, make sure on your sign up form it’s clearly stated that subscribers who elect to be contacted this way they will receive important messages and special offers from the publisher and select third-party partners as well as may be subject to text messaging fees from the phone carrier. This article shows a good example of a text message disclaimer.

In my experience, this medium has been most effective with premium type services where members rely on critical real-time alerts from the publisher that are pure editorial. The marketing aspect is ancillary.

So if you’re looking to be a leader in your industry and not a laggard, it pays to conduct some ‘due diligence’ on your website and think about which mobile marketing strategies may be right for your biz and audience.  With our social and communications landscape always changing, staying abreast of the latest tools, trends and is imperative for businesses to survive and thrive.

Monetize Your Great Content In 2013!

Dozens of top publishers, marketers, business owners, and entrepreneurs are already using  my SONAR Content Distribution ModelTM to earn amazing ROI from content they already have. You can, too--even if you've never done Internet marketing before! Content Is Cash shows you how to systematically integrate and synchronize today's best web marketing techniques to drive more traffic, visibility, buzz, leads, and sales for your business. It's not theory. It's a proven, cost-effective and real-world strategy allowing anyone with content to turn traffic into profits...and the results are quantifiable!

What makes the SONAR Content Distribution ModelTM different from other online marketing strategies?

SONAR focuses on maximizing original, high-quality, and 'UVA' (useful, valuable and actionable) content then targets the dissemination of the content on the Web by audience (via manual research and selection) in relevant, synergistic locations.

The SONAR 'system' is successful because it leverages organic/free online channels (no additional advertising or PPC fees), it's comprehensive (using content marketing, social marketing, online PR, and more!) - and most importantly - it's timeless.

In other words, when done correctly SONAR is not applicable to search engine updates, such as Farmer/Panda, and the most recent, Penguin -- all of which ultimately go after spammy websites as well as irrelevant, low-quality content and links.  SONAR works with the search engines, not against them.

With SONAR, content quality and relevance is key!

What's your content marketing strategy for 2013?

To learn more please visit or
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