Live from List Vision: E-Cards, Guarantees, and Other Quick Tips

Aug 17, 2006 4:15 PM  By

New York–Think e-cards are stupid? Then you weren’t sitting in the audience at the “50 DM Ideas in 50 Minutes” panel discussion at the List Vision conference at the New York Marriott yesterday.

Melissa Rothchild, senior director, marketing communications for CPA2Biz, gave an eye-popping anecdote, in which she said an e-card offering a discount to CPAs on their fifth anniversary as customers resulted in a 50% open rate compared with the industry benchmark 30%, as well as a 24% click-through rate compared with the industry standard of 7%, and $66,000 in sales.

The key to the program is that CPA2Biz, the primary provider of marketing and technology services to the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants, sends the cards when customers aren’t expecting them, she said.

“I had to do some lobbying internally initially, but now that they’ve seen results, they’re excited about [the program],” Rothchild said.

Denise Elliott, vice president of sales and marketing for financial publisher Kiplinger, also offered unconventional tips, such as revamping guarantee copy. As an example, she read a cookbook’s guarantee copy inviting buyers to use the book from cover to cover, get it gravy-stained, and if they still aren’t satisfied, return it for a full refund.

“Guarantee copy should be something that actually stirs you to action,” she said. Elliott also said outer envelopes with “do not bend” printed on them have been working well in the publishing industry.

“I suggest if you haven’t tried it, you should,” she said. But, she added, postal code requires that envelopes with “do not bend” written on them must contain something of value that should not be bent. “The Wall Street Journal” uses a bookmark, for example.

“While the value may be debatable, you can argue about that with your postmaster,” she said.

Kevin Lee, founder/executive chairman of search consultancy Did-It, recommended that marketers get a handle on how many Website visits prospects make before they buy. “There could be a long research cycle that involves more than one individual, especially in business-to-business,” he said.

Susan Isley, vice president of marketing for Petals Decorative Accents, stressed, among other things, making sure all marketing programs and materials look the same and are sending the same message.

Referring to the concept as “surrounding the brand,” Isley said, “There’s nothing worse than sending an e-mail out with 25% off while a full-price catalog is hitting people’s homes.”