Posts filed under ‘Telemarketing’
Q: I’ve been working for a pest control company for two months now as a telemarketer. Now, my concern is, I haven’t gotten very good responses. I call Tampa and Orlando and Tampa is generally more difficult, because almost everybody who answers just yells and hangs up. I’d like to know if telemarketing is the right path for this type of business, or if there is a better way to get to customers about pest control.
A: It’s interesting. There are two sides to telemarketing, in my opinion. On the positive side, recent Direct Marketing Association research reports that telemarketing now has the highest response rates of any direct marketing channel (average at about 5%, if you can believe it!). On the negative side, there is the growing customer attitude that you’re experiencing. People hate telemarketers…The growth of the National Do Not Call list is perfect evidence of this.
With that said, and probably because I have a fair amount of experience using outbound telemarketing successfully, my personal opinion is that it is a valid channel for pest control, or really any consumer service. I’m assuming that you’re following the rules and are only calling people who are not on state and national do not call lists. That’s a given. Here are a few other tips to increase your success.
- Make sure that you have done the work and are targeting your prospects correctly. I’ve experienced optimum success when I’ve employed a statistical approach for list selections. Perhaps you can build a model that clones current customers sourced through telemarketing. Try to find people that look exactly like those who’ve purchased through this channel before. If you do this, make sure that your data source contains lots of insight about the home the prospect lives in–I’ll bet that things like age of the dwelling and size of the home are key predictors of the types of prospects who might be most needing your services.
- Be clever in your calling tactics. For example, have you thought about the best time to call each prospect? Think about this: professionals typically are not home in the daytime and retired folks are. Make sure that you’re segmenting your list and calling people when they’re most likely to actually be there. Seems like a no-brainer, but most telemarketers don’t have the insight into their prospect lists to understand this key characteristic. Of course, the more people you can actually reach, the more efficient your outbound campaign will be. And, this type of segmentation works. I once had a client who sold services to consumers. When they employed a Best Time to Call strategy, results were boosted by 20%. 20%!
- Get a handle on actual results. I know it can be extremely frustrating when you’re making calls and getting negative responses. No fun, at all. However, be sure to quantify your results. If possible get an understanding of how much a customer costs to acquire via your telemarketing channel verses other channels. You may be surprised that telemarketing remains a low-cost acquisition channel. And, if it’s not, then it definitely is time to move your marketing dollars elsewhere.
Which brings us to the final part of your question, which is: Is there a better way to get customers? My recommendation here is to test all sorts of channels. Perhaps you can advertise on appropriate websites that cater to homeowners/home improvement. Consider inserts (either in newspapers or in local direct mail coupon mailings). Test standalone direct mail. Take a look at where your competitors are advertising. Look into social marketing–perhaps you should start a blog to build awareness of your brand, build credibility and increase website traffic. In a nutshell, be creative and test, test, test!
Q: I’ve been using direct mail for years. I want to try other channels and have considered telemarketing. I think that if I followed up DM campaigns with a phone call, I may increase my response rates. I’ve heard from others that telemarketing is not nearly as responsive as it used to be because of the D0-not-Call list. Does telemarketing still work? Do you recommend using it?
A: The simple answer is YES! While you should always take a look at what your offer is to determine which channels work best for any multi-channel marketing approach, the reality is that telemarketing remains one of the most responsive channels to utilize in your direct marketing mix.
Those who have registered their phone numbers on the DNC list don’t want to be contacted via the phone. However, there are still many who haven’t registered despite their ability to do so. Some of our clients utilize telemarketing only — specifically because those who they now contact are more likely to want to be contacted via the phone, therefore, they are more responsive to a telemarketing call.
If the product or service that you sell lends itself nicely to a telemarketing script, we recommend testing telemarketing as a follow-up to your next direct mail campaign. By testing, you will get a feel for the reaction of prospects to using the channel. In addition, you will most likely get some good intelligence on how to tweak your script for the most success.
Q: Are companies still doing outbound telemarketing? I know that since I’m on the Federal Do Not Call list, I personally don’t receive many phone calls, but I’m wondering if marketers are still using telemarketing.
A: Believe it or not, telemarketing remains a viable channel for many direct marketers. In fact, response rates and ROI from telemarketing remain strong. Of course, the big issue in this industry is that it’s hard to come by enough phone numbers to make a campaign worthwhile. So many people have signed up on the DNC list that quantities of phone-able records are pretty tiny.
With that said, I’d definitely consider telemarketing as part of your multi-channel mix.