Friday, July 22, 2011

Incentive To Reply

I’ve just got off the phone with Paul Strachan. He and I share the same problem – maintenance of a contact list, including solicitation of responses.

I see it as a problem, regardless of the channel used, of eliciting (but not soliciting) a response to each telephone call, email or postal mail I issue.

My marketing strategy includes “touching” everyone on my contact list once every two months. Family (my close entrepreneurial colleagues and buddies don’t count, we’re ALWAYS yakking on the phone)

Right now I’m mailing out an essay to everyone on my list; next time it will be an email, then a phone call, and so on.

Phone calls:

are the pits “Sorry I missed your call, please leave a message and I’ll get back to you”. They won’t, unless I give them a reason.

My Postal mailings:

get attention, what with the cute stamp and the thought-provoking 60-second read, but how do I know that they got there?


get the Delete key, unless there’s a compelling reason to reply; worse, perhaps, the spam filter button.

Visit for this image! IncentiveToReply.png

For each channel, for each such emission, I need to give my contact an incentive to reply; I’d like to say “Let me know if you’d like me to continue trying to keep in touch with you”, but I’m still above begging, for now.


Postal mail



Voice mail

Drop the card in the mail.

Click Reply, then Click Send

What struck you most about the article?

I have a gift card to send, please confirm your postal address.

Use the stamp

Did you like the stamp?

The table is incomplete, but you can see where I’m going. It will cost me a little bit more time and money, but I ought now to get feedback that is currently missing, and in some cases, conversation where there is silence.

Note that these efforts are all aimed at maintenance of my contacts list, not at generating sales.

Drop the card in the mail

I can enclose a stamped, self-addressed postcard (with my own promotional material on it – they’ll read it before posting it). It’s not a great deal of effort to drop a card in the mail. No need to sign it. Each card bears their unique record number from my contact database, so I know where they’re from.

Use the stamp

I can drop one of my personalized stamps in with the letter, a $1.00 value to impress a friend or relative. Since each stamp includes “” it is also a chance to spread my web site address around.

Click Reply, then Click Send

What could be easier than just two clicks to keep yourself on the list (and confirm your postal address for the gift card offer)?

What struck you most about the article?

If I phone and get through, I want to have a question about the most recent issue, whether it was an article, a gift card, or an eLetter

Did you like the stamp?

If I phone and get through, I want to have a question about the most recent vehicle. If I’d done a mailing with a cute stamp, I can ask about the stamp, another way of asking “Are you impressed?”.

I have a gift card to send, please confirm your postal address.

When, not If, I get a voice-mail, I need a compelling reason for them to call me right back, and sadly, it will cost me money.

It’s a bribe, albeit a small one.

I don’t have to tell them that it’s a $5 Tim Horton’s card, but I can dream that they will be delighted when they get it in the post, especially if I hammer home the message with a typical postal offer (Drop the card in the mail, Use the stamp, ...)

Talk to Me !

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