A key lesson I learned from some of the industry’s smartest marketers is that a prospect who doesn’t convert is not always a lost sale. They taught me that there’s a big untapped revenue opportunity in following up immediately with prospects who have expressed interest, but decided not to buy for one reason or another. They taught me the importance of response time and having a system in place for immediate follow-up before a hot lead cools off.
I’ve come to call this ability to strike while the iron is still hot “marketing velocity.” And what’s required to pull it off is automated remarketing technology.
Here’s how it works:
We recently helped a nutritional supplements merchant boost their TV response ad conversion rates by quickly hitting luke warm prospects with a follow-up promotion while their motivation still ran high. The company would run 1-800 ads on the Lifetime network, targeting primarily women looking to get their physical lives back in shape.
Sixty percent of people who were motivated to call in decided not to buy. Perhaps the phone banks were jammed and they didn’t feel like holding. Or maybe they needed to rethink the $29.95 per month subscription cost. Whatever the reason, they wavered despite their demonstrated interest.
Automated remarketing services enabled the merchant to immediately glean name and address data from the phone numbers of the 60% who didn’t convert. Within the next day or two, those prospects received a direct mail postcard offering deep introductory discounts if they acted soon.
A significant percentage did — an additional 12% of those undecideds converted into buyers. The key was hitting them with incentives while the ad and the emotional driver that led them to call in the first place were still fresh in their minds.
Without real-time response capabilities, those prospects probably would have received the incentive weeks or months later — whenever the merchant’s next direct mail cycle occurred, long after the ad and emotion withered away.
A cable and satellite service provider experienced similar returns. When it ran TV ads, it got a 50% conversion rate. Not bad, but not great. When it did separate direct mail campaigns, it got a sub-1% response rate, which is an industry norm. But when it combined the two campaigns with a real-time automated remarketing incentive, the cable company experienced a six-fold increase in responses, and 33% increase in conversion rates.
The bottom line is that companies running direct-response TV campaigns are spending millions, yet most are leaving a good chunk of those investment returns behind. All their money and effort is spent on taking orders from already converted buyers.
But as my market mentors taught me, if they treat the non-converters as motivated leads, they can dramatically boost their conversion rates. The marketing velocity approach lets marketers pursue the larger majority who didn’t convert by identifying who they are in real time and getting a targeted incentive to them while they are still in the purchase decision cycle.
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Director of Consumer-Facing Services for TARGUSinfo, a marketing services company in the Virginia suburbs of DC.
You can reach me at paulmcconville at TARGUSinfo dot com.