When my Dad owned a jewelry manufacturing company in New York City, buyers would come into the showroom and look at his current season’s merchandise.
That showroom was really beautiful, a lot prettier than our own living room at home. There were plush couches and ottomans, and sparkling showcases with
figurines in them. Black velvet showed off his costume jewelry.
One time I asked him why he had such a fancy place, when we needed a new couch (so I could show off to my friends too).
He said that “you have to make your best customers feel special”. When you stop doing that, they start buying elsewhere. Actually, the relationship regresses and when you see the person again, there is an awkwardness. This happens when companies start changing who they think their target market really is.
I think that happened with Chico’s. They sell women’s clothes, and had lycra kinds of outfits in black and other colors that were easy to coordinate. I bought them all the time, because they don’t crease in my suitcase, and I can put them in the washing machine.
Then Chico’s started going after a younger demographic. They added linen clothes to their racks, and the Southwestern look that might attract new customers. What happened? They lost me, for sure, and lots of women like me who travel all the time.
Who wants a Southwestern look in New York City?
So, consider who your best customers are, treat them very well, and don’t go in some weird direction…hoping to find more customers, and then alienating me (a power shopper)!
20. Your best list is your current customer file. Your second best list is probably past customers. They’re your greatest direct marketing assets. Use them! But make sure the files are clean and up-to-date.
21. Direct response lists are always your best bet for outside lists. Someone who’s bought something through the mail is more likely to buy from you … especially if they’re recent buyers.
22. Have you ever tried a compiled list? Of course. Have you ever tried slanting the creative to the compiled list? Probably not. Names on most compiled lists have one thing in common (lawyers, accountants, soccer Moms, etc.). Whatever that one thing is, try reflecting it in your creative.
23. Use a great list broker. Ask for references, and describe your goals, package and target market. These are bright, dedicated people who want to do a great job so you’ll use them again and again.
24. Try to make your direct mail look and sound like it was touched by a human being. Customers and prospects tend to respond better when they feel like they are interacting with a real person.
25. Make sure all of your communications have the same brand personality. Read the rest of this entry
A couple of months ago, two engineers dropped by our office to talk about a lead generation program for their consultancy business. “Things are slow,” said one of them, “and we might have to lay off some of our staff.”
So we asked questions and learned about how they made their money, got an idea of their budget and they went away while we went to work developing a program for them.
I called them a week or so later to set up our next meeting and they asked if we could postpone for a while because they were up to their elbows on a new project that had just come in.
“Sure, we can wait,” I said.
I wanted to add “But I don’t know if you can” and then ask if he’d ever heard of Howard Ruff.
Howard Ruff was one of the first of those financial self-help authors. At one point, back in the ‘70s, his newsletter “Ruff Times” had 175,000 subscribers. If he still has that many, all those $149 subscriptions bring in about $2,600,000 a year. He had his own syndicated TV show for a while and he’s written a lot of books. One of them was on the NYT bestseller list for over two years.
I remember him for one great line he came up with back in 1975. He wrote “It wasn’t raining when Noah built the ark.”
Read the rest of this entry