ToolBox - answering questions on e-mail, CRM, and direct mail

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Toolbox, a new section of DMNews, answers questions on direct marketing and trends in the market from our readers.

E-Mail

What features can be added to an e-newsletter to boost click-throughs and yield member referrals?

"It's not uncommon for an e-mail marketing campaign to plateau after a few months," says Michael Teitelbaum, president of TruePresence, Inc. "This is particularly the case with e-newsletters, where the format and features are stable; recipients already know what to expect once they see the subject line. Introduce a new feature or vary the format to keep recipients intrigued." He suggests adding a "question of the month" or user-generated content. Including a brief survey or small contest will also drive click-throughs. "If you want recipients to pass along your newsletter, make it easy for them by providing a æSend to a Friend' feature," he adds.

CRM

What are some of the best practices in lead-nurturing?

Kathy Rizzo, VP of marketing at TeleNet Marketing Solutions recommends telemarketing, "to call and ask pointed questions about prospects' business challenges, "pains" and priorities, which will provide the information necessary to appropriately arrange your prospects into major categories." Once you have made contact with prospects, one way to keep track of them is touch scoring. "Every touch is not created equally," Rizzo explains. Touch scoring requires two considerations. "First is the expense of the touch," Rizzo says. "A one-on-one conversation is typically the most expensive, and thus receives the highest score." The impact of the touch should also be taken into consideration. "A one-on-one conversation provides the most impact, as information is being given and received at the same time," Rizzo adds. "By placing a simple score on each touch, you can monitor the average score required to nurture a æsale-ready' lead."

Direct Mail

Does direct mail work in business-to-government?

"Yes," says Mark Amtower, a specialist in b-to-g marketing. "B-to-g includes federal, state, local, education and much of health care. In Washington, DC, there is still a delivery issue for federal mail, but outside DC, and in the state and local market, direct mail works very well, if targeted properly." He adds that you don't need a contract to sell to government, "if the order is under $3,000 at the federal level. The SmartPay government credit card is designed to offer purchasing flexibility for front-line managers in the field to order from known vendors. Under $3,000 û the micro-purchase level -- no credit cards are required." The SmartPay card will account for just under $18 billion in FY 2007. Amtower also notes that good b-to-g lists are available. "There are subscriber, response and compiled files, as well as a list of Federal SmartPay card holders. Many traditional b-to-b publications have pockets of government readers, and the government trade press is also a great source of lists."

Send your questions to: Lauren.bell@dmnews.com. Please contact us if your are interested in contributing to Toolbox.

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