Another important consideration is the type of experience your prospects have when they go to the PURL landing page. What will drive them there? What is your offer? Can they sign up for discounts on certain products and services? Are you inviting them to an open house? What are you giving back in exchange for their contact information? The pay-off for responders should match their needs and interests as well as yours.
Managing Sales Leads
In a best case scenario, you’ve identified a promising and relevant prospect list and developed creative materials that are appropriate and attractive to your audience or audiences. Let’s suppose that the day those PURL direct mail pieces are delivered, you begin receiving heavy response traffic at the landing page. Now what?
Is it likely that those who respond to your PURL are going to actually commit to buying something on the spot? This may be true in some cases, such as for printers who offer personalized business cards consumers can design themselves and order from your website. However, most printing jobs are more complex and require more extensive communication with customers. This is especially true when you’re selling business-to-business printing services, or you hope to establish yourself as a provider of multichannel marketing services. A clever and innovative PURL might hook these prospects, but converting these leads into paying customers usually takes more effort.
PURL landing pages that offer perks like newsletters or special discounts can help to introduce you to a prospect, but developing a longer term business relationship means ongoing communication. Print buyers want to know exactly what you can do for them and perhaps who else you work for. Can you show them samples? Can you channel their leads to a call center? Do you offer Web-to-print? Can you work with and archive their databases and digital artwork files?
You can take all of these questions and turn them into topics for continuing communications. For example, the first direct mail PURL invitation you send out may direct prospects and customers to a landing page that includes a PowerPoint or video presentation about your company and encourages them to sign up for your newsletter or company blog. When they’ve expressed interest, follow up with them regularly with information like brief case histories, announcements of new capabilities and technologies, samples of your work, articles from magazines or newspapers where you’ve been mentioned, invitations to join your social media network on Facebook or LinkedIn, design tips, suggestions about how to achieve “green” goals, or your sponsorship of the local Little League team. The possibilities are endless, but all should aid in creating a profile for your company that brands your business as one the customer wants to work with.
Positive responses to one direct mail or PURL campaign can boost your sales leads and even your revenues over several weeks, but your long term success depends on a continuing campaign to identify new prospects, convert them into customers, and then carefully maintain customer relationships. Your customer database and a PURL application may be all that are required to take the first steps, but to make your marketing program truly effective you also need to measure and track responses so that you can follow up appropriately with every customer.
As you work with customers, you learn more about them and their preferences. This information can serve as a springboard for increasing your sales to them. You may work with customer databases as well, and store and track their marketing information as part of the service you offer them.
Today’s technologies certainly can support all of these efforts, but while many solutions are available to implement each application and support each communication channel, you may want to avoid amassing a disparate conglomeration of technologies and applications—one database for prospects, another for existing customers, another for client Smith’s email blasts, for Jones’ customers who don’t want phone calls, or for customers you haven’t heard from in six months. This can result in the digital equivalent of a mass of sticky notes pasted on the bulletin board—for you as well as for your customers.