Opportunities for DM and eCRM in E-commerce?

Despite sounding like a bowl of alphabet soup, opportunities often exist to integrate DM (Direct Marketing) with eCRM (electronic Customer Relationship Management), to help e-commerce website owners extract more value from their existing customer relationships and extend their lifetime value.

Imagine the scenario -?? a hard working ecommerce website owner fights to attract visitors using time consuming SEO and costly PPC, then spends time optimising their website to convert said visitors into new customers. With a typical conversion rate from visits to orders of just a few percent its a lot of effort for a relatively small reward in the form of that first order. In fact the cost of acquiring the order can even swallow up the profit margin on the products sold.

If the website owner is switched on, then they will look to eCRM to try and extract further orders from their ecommerce customers. They may build an opt in database of customers and carry out regular email marketing to it, which could also generate 2nd, 3rd or even monthly repeat orders.

But the emails are competing with the numerous other electronic clutter which saturate our email inboxes every day.

So how about the seemingly radical yet reassuringly comforting idea of going back to traditional direct mail to follow up on your commerce customers? After all, you already have their addresses from when you shipped products to them. How attention grabbing would it be to receive a follow up physical mailing, clearly branded in the same style as your website, and nicely produced to convey quality.

Following up by direct mail would certainly help overcome nagging doubts in the customer’s mind that your web business?? is a real business and not in fact run by a teenager from a spare bedroom in Slough.

A real mailing also circumnavigates email inbox clutter to speak directly to the customer, often giving you more time and space to say more than can be said (or downloaded) in an email.

Linking DM with eCRM may sound hi tech and radical, but in fact it simply marries the old with the new.

What’s the secret of great comedy (and direct marketing)

You may have heard the joke where one person asks the other ‘what’s the secret of great comedy?’ Before the other person can finish replying, the questioner blurts out the answer;


Whilst reading a post on another blog about the golden rules of direct marketing, it occurred to us that timing should be included in this list, along with all the other usual suspects like getting the readers attention, adding a PS, split testing, follow ups and so on.

Now, timing may not strike you as being top of the ultimate direct marketing checklist, but its already a key factor when carrying out email marketing, which lets face it, is an electronic branch of direct mail. Email marketers know from their own experience that the optimum time to broadcast their email could be a Wednesday morning, Friday afternoon, or Sunday evening.

Of course, direct marketing is not as immediate nor tactical as email marketing, so time-based targeting down to the hour of day isn’t possible.

But it is perfectly possible to:- Plan your mailing so it will be received on a specific day of the week; a midweek for b2b perhaps, or Friday for a consumer offer on leisure or eating out at the weekend. Or how about a dreaded Monday morning to promote help and support for businesses, or financial services to money strapped consumers?

  • Schedule a mailing for a specific time of the month. We’ve come across even micro e-commerce websites which have seen how sales would usually increase just after the last Friday of the month, just after most people get paid. There’s no reason why mailings cant use the same principle.

  • Identify key seasons or times of year to promote specific offers. If you’re not sure what to promote when analyse monthly sales for each of your main product lines, and cross check with website traffic as further proof of seasonal peaks or troughs.

  • Respond tactically to topical events or news. Have the basic elements of a campaign in place ready to be completed and adapted at short notice, even if its only your covering letter that changes. How many domestic holiday providers were ready to capitalise on volcanic ash clouds, collapsing tour operators and industrial action earlier this year?

These are just a few examples of how to use timing to get more from your direct marketing campaigns.

And by the way, we’ve scheduled this blog post to be published here and on Twitter on a Friday lunchtime, just in time for a little light reading over your sarnie!

Telephone Preference Service (TPS) Registrations Reach New High

The numbers of both UK home and business phone numbers registered with the Telephone Preference Service, or TPS, has reached a new high. Nearly 18 million UK addresses have now registered a home telephone number with the TPS, and almost 2 million businesses are registered with the CTPS, the business version of the register.

The TPS, which is run by the direct marketing industry, acts as a central register of numbers whose owners have chosen not to receive unsolicited sales and marketing phone calls, sometimes known as cold calls. Both consumers and businesses can register with the TPS or CTPS, free of charge.

The increase in TPS registrations increases pressure on any organisation that uses the telephone for commercial purposes. If a business calls a TPS or CTPS registered number on an unsolicited basis, it is in breach of the Privacy and Electronic Communications (EC Directive) Regulations 2003, which states that it is unlawful to make unsolicited direct marketing calls to individuals who have indicated that they do not want to receive such calls. If found to be in breach of these regulations, the business could face legal action and even a ??5000 fine.

To help protect businesses which need to use the phone for business Selectabase provide a number of low cost solutions to help callers check the phone numbers in their database against the latest versions of the Telephone Preference Service suppression file, which is updated monthly.

Organisations using the phone can check phone numbers against the latest TPS register before they call individually at www.tpscheck.co.uk, or check larger lists of numbers with Easycheck software.

Nice example of why deduping is important

Nice example of why its important to dedupe your mailing lists before sending a direct marketing campaign http://bit.ly/bEFfNs