Most companies have spent tens of thousands, if not hundreds of thousands of dollars, building their house list. This list is usually comprised of several sub-categories:
1. Active Customers: traditionally a customer that has made a purchase within the past 12-24 months.
2. Inactive Customers: sometimes past donors, expires, etc. These are typically people whose last purchase, donations, or renewal was 2-5 years ago.
3. Dead Customers: a customer that has shown no interest or had no activity for over 5 years.
4. Prospects: people who have requested a catalog, called the office to request a price or product information, stopped by an exhibit during a trade show, etc. These are also typically grouped by acquisition date.
Companies with larger files will typically use a more sophisticated system … scoring each name based on RFM – recency, frequency and monetary. By creating a scaling system, points are added for how recently the customer made their last purchase, the number of times the customer has ordered, the amount of money spent. By combining these traits you come up with a score (similar to your FICO score) giving each customer and prospect a rating number. So your best customers might score 700-999 … your second best customers might score 400-699, etc.
You should mail your best customers constantly. In the world of emails, it’s been demonstrated that too many emails increase unsubscribes dramatically. That is not true in the postal world. It is not uncommon for a catalog company to mail 15-20 catalogs a year to their best customers. The second best group might get 5-8 catalogs and the worst performing names might receive 1 or 2 catalogs.
Work your list hard and often.
Sell your customers more of the same products they have previously purchased from you. Upsell and increase their order value by offering them special deals within the same category of products they have already purchased from. Cross sell them with offers of additional products.
Offer special deals to people who haven’t bought in a long time.
Entice them to make one more purchase.
We have always made more money by mailing more frequently. I am not a believer in the idea that mailing too frequently “burns out” a list.
For years we mailed our list 3 times a week. I’m not suggesting the list performed as well after 3 months as it would have if we had mailed once a month. But by mailing them 37 offers in 3 months, we made a great deal more money than mailing them once or twice a month.
Your list is your greatest asset. Mail it frequently.