Improving your response rate

MarketingFile - When should your email go out?
MarketingFile - When should your email go out?

The list

The quality of the list is the single most important factor affecting response rate. See our other sheet, Hints & Tips – List Selection & Targeting on ensuring you’re using the best possible list. Also consider that people who are not inundated with offers are more likely to respond so you may increase response by using lists that are less frequently used, or by targeting so as to avoid the inundated.

The offer

If the product or service you are promoting is lacking the basic features expected or your price is too noncompetitive, your response will inevitably be poor. Assuming these fundamentals are OK, you may consider the following to help to boost response;

  • Offer a free sample or trial to enable your prospects to experience your product or service.
  • Offer an incentive. Be careful with the economics here. Ideally link the incentive to purchase rather than simple response. The gift itself should be relevant to your target audience, or failing that, of universal relevance.
  • Offer a discount or special price. Again be careful with the economics. A 20% discount may increase response to cover its cost but a 30% discount fails to pull the extra response needed. Experiment with different ways of describing the discount – “buy one get one free” usually works better than, “2 for the price of 1”, “half price”, “50% off”.
  • Always set a limited time to respond if providing an incentive, discount etc. This encourages the recipient to actually respond rather than putting it aside until later – and stick to it!

The Mail-piece

Try not sacrifice clarity and response generation in favour of cutting edge creative genius. Relevant photographs increase response more than drawings or diagrams. Keep your mail piece to the point, you need to explain the benefits of your product or service but not ramble on, include testimonials and try to answer the reader’s questions.

Use a strong headline (repeat this on the envelope if possible) and make use of headings, sub-headings, indents and bullet points as most people will scan the piece before they read it properly. Use plain English and short sentences. Don’t crowd the page – leave plenty of white space. This all makes your mail-piece easier to read and increases response. Consider using an easy to read font such as a serif font. Research suggests this is more likely to be read and remembered.

Personalisation of the mail-piece can improve response dramatically. However personalisation is not simply scattering the prospect’s name throughout the mail-piece. It is tailoring the text of the offer to the recipient and demonstrating the benefits to them personally. Thus a short piece promoting events local to the recipient will generate a better response than a huge tome covering all events nationally.

If you are mailing to a named individual, make sure you get the name right, but do not be afraid to mail without a name (or without a salutation if it cannot be derived). “Dear Reader” is acceptable – or better, replace the salutation completely with a bold heading. Some business mailers claim to improve response by not mailing to a name at all, preferring to mail to a job title, which can be exactly the person you seek to reach e.g. The Network Security Manager.


Obvious really – make sure you time your mailing to drop at a time when your prospect is most likely to buy. For business mailings try to avoid times when your prospect is likely to be away or manically busy (e.g. industry trade fairs). There is some evidence that business mailings arriving mid-week are more responsive than those arriving on a Monday or Friday. This is particularly true for email campaigns.

Many believe that consumer mailings are more likely to be read thoroughly at weekends. Many mailers avoid the holiday period altogether but a growing number have realised that not everyone is away at the same time and that those that are at home are more likely to read a mailing when there is less on the doormat


Very important. To increase your response rate consider contacting each prospect more than once – and at least quarterly. Increasing the frequency normally increases the response rate and many direct marketers now prefer to contact prospects monthly. Consider following up your mailing with a telephone call. Particularly in business to business, a follow-up telephone call 3-4 days after the mailing has landed can significantly increase your response. A call-mail-call pattern can produce even greater results.

The response mechanism

The simple rule is to make it as easy as possible to respond. Different people will prefer to respond in different ways so make sure you offer all the options (mail, fax, telephone, email, web-site). Do as much of the work as possible for the prospect. If you provide a reply card, fill in the prospect’s details – this can increase response by up to 15%. Always repeat the main points of the offer on the reply-card – people may just keep the reply-card and wonder later what it was about. Repeating the offer may just get it sent back to you.

Consider paying the costs of response. Use reply-paid postage (you only pay for the replies that are actually mailed). Use a free-call or local-rate telephone number. If your prospect must pay the full call charge, use a non-geographic number to avoid the “not local – too distant” argument. Always tell your prospects how much (or how little) the call will cost – many people confuse 0945 (local rate) with 0898 (premium rate) and will assume the worst.

Test, Measure, Improve

If you are considering a large volume mailing, do a test-run initially to a smaller number to ensure the response is acceptable. You may even try two or more different lists, letters or offers to see which works best (make sure you can tell from the responses which campaign they came from).

Beware of mailing to very small volumes as you may get a very low or zero response and conclude (wrongly) that the campaign does not work when the same campaign sent to 1000 or more would deliver more statistically significant (and acceptable) results.

Direct marketing is part science, part art. You will not get everything right first time. You will need to refine your campaign over time to maximise your response. The crucial thing is to measure the response from each campaign and learn from the experience, thereby improving your response rate over time.

List selections

MarketingFile - List selections
MarketingFile - List selections

Who should you be targeting?

In simple terms you should target the people who are likely to be the most profitable to you.

Existing customers

Analyse your sales figures by customer and identify the most profitable. Note that these are not necessarily your largest customers if you give volume discounts, nor the customers who order most often once all the order processing and support costs are accounted for.

Often you will find 80% of profits come from just 20% of your customers, known as the 80:20 rule, meaning if you find another 20% of high spending customer, you can increase profits by 80%!

Profile your most profitable customers

Look for similarities amongst your most profitable customers to build one or more profiles. For business customers look at business activity, geographic location, business size, HQ or branch, job-title and any other factors relating to your specific product or service. For consumers consider their age, sex, marital status, where they live, number of children, occupation and income, home and car ownership. If you don’t have this data available you can be creative, see below.

You may find that there is more than one definable group of “best” customers – possibly buying different products or services from you or buying in a different way.

New company or new product launch?

You may not have relevant sales data to analyse, but hopefully you have some inkling as to the target market for your new product or service. If not then some research is required. Alternatively you can test the response to your best guess with a small volume campaign before committing to a major investment.

Choosing which database to use gives you access to a huge range of databases (over 50 at time of writing). Establishing which one to use is key to the success of your campaign. Consider also that your best prospects may be found in more than one of the databases. In this case you may choose to test the responsiveness and return on investment of each in turn.

Choosing a business database

If you need to target companies within a particular industry only, consider a “Business Sector List”.

If you need to target a particular job-title across a wide range of industries, consider a “Job Function List”. If you cannot find either of the above, or if you want to target a large number of businesses in a local area, consider a “General Business List”.

Choosing a consumer database

To target a particular type of person identify the category that most closely matches the characteristics or behaviour you want to target. If you cannot find what you are looking for, or if you want to target large numbers of consumers within a local area, consider a “lifestyle” database.

Making your targeting selections

Select your targets from the chosen database according to the target profile(s) you defined by including them as selection criteria.

Include the targets you want - exclude those you don’t want

Your targeting should also account for the people you don’t want to reach, this is sometimes more difficult to define but will reduce waste and save you money.

Look down the list of selection criteria and whenever you catch yourself saying things like “age doesn’t seem to matter” or “we don’t have any data on company size” pause a moment to consider if you shouldn’t be including or excluding at least some names based on this criteria, e.g.

  • When using an international database – exclude the countries you don’t / can’t service
  • When using a general business database – you may wish to exclude public sector organisations or not-for-profits
  • Large businesses and small businesses have different buying scenarios – you are unlikely to appeal to both with the same offering
  • When mailing consumers – you may wish to exclude the very old

Geographic selections

Think about the area(s) you wish to target. Is it a territory that is defined by postcodes or counties? Is it defined by the distance your customer is prepared to travel to your premises? Is it a number of scattered postcode sectors?

If you don’t have detailed knowledge of your target area you are best to limit your geo-selections to include only a single type of selection, e.g. postcode, town or county.

If using distance from a point, bear in mind that this is “as the crow flies” and may include areas you do not immediately consider to be “close” to you, e.g. Kent is only a few miles from Essex geographically but is rendered distant in travel terms by the Thames estuary.

Be creative - think laterally

Some of the most successful campaigns result from slightly lateral thinking at the targeting stage. For example;

  • Selecting people who have credit cards is an obvious choice if that is your preferred payment method, but it is also a good indication that they take credit and may be swayed by an attractive credit deal
  • If your product is a people carrier, consider targeting families with large numbers of children (rather than the usual conquest make/model combinations)

Such targeting is often blindingly obvious with hindsight – but then so are most good ideas.

What if your count is too big?

You can always reduce your count by taking only records 1 to 1000 but far better to select the 1st 1000 by company size (or whatever is relevant), or even to focus your targeting on a smaller defines target group. If you want to target segments individually, select a number of postcodes at a time. This way you can be sure there are no duplicates in later purchases, even if the list is updated.

What if your count is too small?

When selecting a particular data field it may only be partially populated, resulting in smaller counts as the “unknowns” are not taken into account. You may consider excluding other selections to include the “unknowns”, however this only applied if the data field is not critical to the campaign.

Job titles

If we have the job title you want then great, but don’t dismiss the companies where we “only” have a default contact. These are usually smaller businesses where the default contact is the boss and is actually the person you need to reach for most purchasing decisions.

Telephone numbers

Not all our records have telephone numbers on. In fact we are deleting numbers every day as more people opt out of receiving telemarketing calls by joining the Telephone Preference Service. So if you want to ensure all your prospect records have telephone numbers, make sure you select “has tel no” as a selection criteria and then buy the “tel no” field at output.

Single-use or multiple-use? enables you to purchase data for either single-use or multiple-use. The actual license-to-use varies slightly depending on the list-owner who supplies the data (please read the license terms carefully).

Why buy for multiple-use?

To increase your response rate we would recommend you consider contacting each prospect more than once – and at least quarterly. Increasing the frequency normally increases the response rate and many experienced direct marketers prefer to contact prospects monthly.

It makes sense to contact your prospects frequently for the same reasons that companies run a long series of advertisements in magazines or on television. Prospects often require multiple exposures to an advertisement before they buy. Making multiple contacts increases your prospects’ awareness of your company and also increases the likelihood that your message is received at a time that your products or services are needed by them.

The Sales Letter

MarketingFile - The Sales Letter
MarketingFile - The Sales Letter

The writing process

Put as much effort into the letter as you did into the brochure. Research shows the letter is usually the 1st thing people read. Get it right and people will read and keep your information. Get it wrong and they won’t.

Know your customers

If you don’t know about your market, their needs and anxieties you will not know “which buttons to press” and your response will be minimal.

Reread and re-edit

Never send your 1st draft. Put it to one side for a while, reopen it and reread it. Think of a couple of customers you know well and try to imagine their reaction to your letter. Your 3rd draft will be a great improvement over the 1st.

Write as you speak

Use a conversational tone and keep sentences short. Avoid long, uncommon or unnecessary words. Correct spelling is important but colloquial grammar can actually aid readability – you don’t get bonus marks for correct use of the subjunctive Use the “active” – not the “passive”.

Make it easy on the eye

Don’t crowd your text onto the paper. Break your letter up by using short paragraphs. Use bulleted or numbered lists to emphasize key points.

Beware of humour

Be very careful of trying to be funny. Something you find killingly funny may at best leave your reader cold, at worst be deemed offensive.

The writing style

The AlDA principles have been used successfully for years. First grab your reader’s Attention. Then stimulate their Interest in your product. Convert this interest into Desire. And finally convince them to take Action.

The writing style

The AlDA principles have been used successfully for years. First grab your reader’s Attention. Then stimulate their Interest in your product. Convert this interest into Desire. And finally convince them to take Action.

Sell the benefits not the features

You may be proud of the technology, sophistication, flexibility etc. behind your product or service but remember that your reader just wants to know what is in it for them.

Include a guarantee

If you can, offer a guarantee with your product. If you can’t guarantee the product, offer a guarantee of your service, delivery or price. A guarantee adds credibility to your offer.

Include testimonials

Let other satisfied customers sing your praises. Quote from letters of satisfaction but remember to get the writer’s permission first.

Make them respond

Don’t forget to ask for the order. Always finish your letter with a crystal clear call to action.

Set a deadline

People will put things off if there is no urgency to act. Increase the sense of urgency by setting a deadline to receive some further benefit

Always include a PS

Many people will read a PS before they read anything else. Your PS should restate your offer and repeat the call to action.

Make it easy

Different people may want to respond in different ways so make it as easy as possible for them. Always include all your contact details. Consider options to reduce the cost to the customer, pre-paid envelope, free post address, Freephone and local rate numbers.

A letter must be signed

Ideally you should hand sign the letters. Including high quality scan of your signature is OK, particularly if it’s inky blue. Never have your letters PP’d by someone else.

Tips on buying prospect data

MarketingFile - Marketing strategy week 2: Market Analysis
MarketingFile - Marketing strategy week 2: Market Analysis

Buying a prospect marketing list for the first time, or even if it’s not your first purchase, can be a daunting task. We’ve compiled a few hints and tips of what to look out for and questions to ask to help you purchase prospect data.

What sort of response should I expect?

Many factors will affect your response rate, including the list used, the offer, the creative work, the copy, the timing of the mailing and so on.

The Direct Mail Information Service (DMIS) publishes figures on response rates to different campaigns on its web-site. However many of these campaigns will have been done by large marketing departments using top advertising agencies and copywriters. Rather than spending your entire budget on a large campaign that delivers a poor response, it is best to test your campaign first on a smaller quantity.

What is a reasonable level of gone-aways?

Some level of undeliverable addresses or gone-aways is inevitable. People and companies move or die and even the most up-to-date list will contain some inaccuracies. Your list supplier should make you aware of their policy for the reimbursement of goneaways. The DMA code of practice states that acceptable levels are 3% on a responder list and 6% on a compiled list.

After you have used the list

You must return any gone-aways to the list-owner. This enables the list to be updated and may entitle you to a refund if gone-aways have exceeded the warranty level. Ensure that any further use of the list is allowable under the terms of the licence.

Buying a list

Consider the following types of list when buying prospect data:

Target types

Questions to ask when purchasing data

  • What is the source of the data? Is it liable?  
  • Is the list appropriate given your product / service and target market? 
  • What is the frequency of updating? When was it last updated?
  • How selective is the list? Does it allow you to accurately target your best prospects?
  • What is the cost of the list? Are there any hidden or additional costs over and above the base price?
  • Does it contain email address, telephone / fax numbers if required?
  • Have addresses, telephone and fax numbers been checked against the most recent Preference Service lists?
  • Does the list owner require that the list is only handled by a registered fulfilment house or can you do this yourself?
  • Is there a minimum quantity or value?
  • How long will it take to be delivered?
  • What is the policy relating to gone-aways?
  • Does the allowed usage of the data fit your requirement (i.e. single-use, multiple-use)?

Cleaning your lists and databases

It is your responsibility to ensure that you do not contact people who have indicated that they do not wish to hear from you. In the UK, your list must therefore be cleaned against the various opt-out files;

  • The Telephone Preference Service (TPS & CTPS) is a list containing numbers of individuals: i.e. consumers, sole traders and (except in Scotland) partnerships, and businesses who must not be called unsolicited.
  • The Fax Preference Service (FPS) list contains the numbers of companies that must not be faxed. Individuals (as defined for TPS) must never be faxed unsolicited.
  • The Mailing Preference Service (MPS) list contains the details of consumers that should not be mailed. This is an industry guideline rather than a legal requirement.
  • The file is updated every 3 months.

The “grace period” between someone registering with the TPS/FPS and it being an offence to call them (punishable by a fine of up to £5000) is only 28 days. You should bear this in mind when deciding the number of names to purchase on a telemarketing list.

In addition it is good practice and commercial sense to clean your lists against the lists of people who have either moved or died. It is very distressing for the bereaved to receive mail or calls for a deceased relative. Consumer lists should therefore be cleaned against one of the commercially available lists of people who have died.

Finally, the deliverability of a mailing depends on the accuracy of the addresses.

Royal Mail’s Postcode Address File (PAF) is the definitive database of every deliverable address in the UK. It can be used to correct partial or inaccurate addresses in your list or database.

MarketingFile offers a range of online list-cleaning services, including TPS, FPS, MPS and PAF to help you maximise your deliverability and remain within UK direct marketing laws and guidelines, take a look here. Get your free quote and get in touch with our team on 0845 345 7755.

Get to know your customers

MarketingFile - Marketing Strategy and Data
MarketingFile - Marketing Strategy and Data

How well do you know your customers?

An important question for any business or marketer. Building a relationship with your customers is similar to a personal relationship, it’s the small details that make a strong connection. So how can you find out these intimate details about your shoppers? 

Analytics and customer insights

Seems simple right? So how can you turn this new found awareness of your customers in to increased sales? First of all you have to understand the analytics and decide what information you are looking for. If you find this out then you have the ability to send targeted and specific messages to them, delivering a superior experience. 

There is also an added benefit to knowing your customers – finding more of them. Once you have your customers’ demographics, lifestyle habits, financial situation and anything else important to selling your product or service, these selections can be replicated across prospect data lists. Introducing your business to new prospects will expand your customer database, therefore increasing sales and revenue but also giving your marketing team more data to work with for analysing.

Data, data and more data

Coming from a background in data for the last 15 years, MarketingFile have seen the advancements in not only the data itself but how it is used. Our own clients, from a wide range of industries, are being smart when using both customer and prospect data. We’ve also recognised the development from our list owners on how the data is collected. A wider variety of channels are being used to gather data and therefore we are all gaining more insight into prospect customers. 

One of our list owners, Emailmovers, has recently started to accumulate their data through social media channels. They source their data from over 60 different sources, collected from social media apps, which provides powerful social-demographic data. Using this data clients are able to determine a consumers’ interest in brands, actors, TV shows, products etc. This allows businesses to intelligently segment the prospect list to identify people who are more likely to be interested in their product or service.

How to analyse your shoppers

Analytics needs to stretch further than the typical segmentation for your business to identify more about its customers. Gaining insight into their shopping and lifestyle habits is always a good start, but then focusing on building this to gain a fuller picture about them and their motive behind purchasing will provide key information on how to target them with specific messages. Finding out why your customers have just bought your latest product will indicate what marketing messages to use to attract more shoppers. This can be done through market research, using two way communication channels to ask them why they just purchased what they did. 

The key to successful analytics is firstly the data you use, it has to be relevant and accurate, and the second aspect is how you interpret this data to understand your market. If your business wants to analyse and segment their customer database our Touchpoint system allows you to do this in a few easy steps, find out more about Touchpoint here

The secrets to good email marketing

MarketingFile - Get your subject lines in order
MarketingFile - Get your subject lines in order

If you’re deciding to send an email campaign for the first time you may have read many blogs, guides, reports or articles on how to make the most of your email campaign. From our experience there is no “right” or “wrong” way when using email marketing. There are definitely some basic rules to follow, which we have covered in our previous blogs, however we’ve compiled three secrets to email marketing which will hopefully make your next campaign a bit easier to execute. 

Subject Lines

Since email marketing began in the 90’s there has been heaps of research carried out around the world on subject lines. How long should it be, what words shouldn’t it contain, should it be personalised? We’ve even written blogs on this subject and carried out our own research to see what works. You may have found when reading all this research there are contradicting findings and opinions. So we’ve mentioned it before, and we are again, the most effective way to find the “best” subject line for your campaign is TEST. 

Use A/B split testing to decide what subject line works best for that particular campaign. Your results will change each time depending on the audience you are sending it to and the campaign itself. Keep in mind when writing your next subject lines (plural as you should be testing!) it should quickly and easily tell the reader the benefit of opening your email.

Above or below the fold

This doesn’t just apply to email marketing, but most digital platforms where the user has to scroll to read more. Again, past research has always told us marketers to put our call to action above the fold, making sure it’s the first thing they see. This is not necessarily the best way to optimise your click through rates. 

The key here is to make your content engaging and interesting to the reader. People who are interested in what they are reading will keep going, even if it means scrolling down the email. This will also give you better quality leads clicking on your email. So by putting your call to action below the fold and include engaging content, you are more likely to receive higher converting leads.

Multiple Emails

You may have just sent out your first email campaign which included engaging content, a good subject line, to an audience perfect for your product or service, but haven’t had any clicks? 

As experienced email marketers we know prospects may not take an invested interest in your email the first time you send it. It can take a further two or three times before you fully get their attention. For this reason we suggest sending a series of linked emails to tell the reader of an up and coming offer. Then use subsequent email reminders telling them when the offer is going out of date. Even send an email after the “offer date” has expired with a small extension just for them. 

Don’t give up at the first hurdle, ensure your next email campaign comprises of a small series of emails to entice the reader and get them to engage at some point with you. This also relates back to the subject line, test different creatives and content to maximise your campaigns effectiveness.

Why not get in touch?

Find out more about our email broadcasting service through our Touchpoint system by calling our team on 0845 345 7755 or click here to ready more!

Improve your direct mail

MarketingFile - Return to Sender
MarketingFile - Return to Sender

Market testing has gone on to prove that ‘targeting’ and the ‘offer’ in a marketing piece are the key elements of a campaign’s success. However, it is still important to give your promotional material a professional and business look.

Your advert or flyer is your ‘shop window’ to the reader, at that point in time. Yet, in so many cases, promotional pieces can look thrown together and disjointed. Short of going to an advertising agency or a graphic design studio, what can you do to lift the quality of your promotional material?

Make the headline dominant

Given that you will sweat hard and long to write your headline, make sure it’s the first thing to capture the reader’s eyes. And make sure you have a headline that sells. Just putting the product name at the top is not a headline!

Observe 'reader gravity'

Many promotional pieces are a mismatch of different sized type and unrelated panels of information. Things that make it tough for the reader to follow the message.

As you know, the reader will only give you a fleeting opportunity to make an impression, after that, it’s into the bin. We were taught to read left to right, top to bottom. Follow that ‘rule’ in your layout and you’ll lift readership. It doesn’t mean you can’t use creativity, but use it wisely.

Avoid over-use of ALL CAPS

Upper case is considered an effective way to emphasise a point. However, it is tiring and unnatural on the eye if used in excess. Likewise, avoid using oversized type just to fill up the spaces. Oversized type is just like shouting at your reader something you’d hardly do face to face.

Limit yourself to 2 font families

To give your piece a unified and professional look,  we recommend that you limit the number of fonts you use. It is best to use one font family (preferably a strong one) for your headlines and another font family for the body copy. A font family is all the related styles that come with the font, and usually include bold, italic, and bold italic.

Body copy

Avoid sans serif typefaces in a heavy body of copy. They are harder to read than serif typefaces. Never smaller than 7pt. Outside of headlines and subheads, rarely would you go bigger than 14pt. Also, it’s safer to use black ink for body copy, and keep other colours for borders, screens and headlines.

White space

Don’t be afraid of white space. Don’t think that you must fill the whole piece with text or illustrations. White space can actually be as much of an element in the design as copy or pictures, and should be considered in the same light.

Study other adverts and mailers for ideas on balance

Some ads are too balanced! Their rigid symmetry makes them blend into the page or become a piece of ‘art’, while other ‘less professional’ ads stand out. A careful use of asymmetry can catch the eye. Incidentally, just making a border heavier than all the surrounding ads won’t guarantee readership. It is the headline and illustration that earn the attention of the reader.

Make your story unfold as the brochure unfolds

A high majority of promotional pieces are just flat flyers. Yet, with a little time sitting down with a blank ‘dummy’ to rough out headlines and illustrations, you can often discover some interesting ways to make your story unfold in a way that grabs the reader with the front cover ‘headline’, then ‘invites’ them to keep delving further and further until your whole message is told and you’ve asked for the order.

Make sure they can contact you

You will be amazed at the amount of marketing pieces that do not include contact details some just include a web address, assuming that everyone will visit that for additional contact information. Wrong! Always ensure your telephone number is included, not oversized but legible and differentiated from the fax number. In addition include your street address (unless you don’t want customers showing up at your doorstep.)

Don’t be afraid to spend a little

False economy creeps in when printing costs are being discussed. Printers often steer clients away from ‘expensive’ paper stocks, and from extra colours in the print run. You should weigh up your decision in terms of the extra sales that a better quality promotional piece can bring, against the ‘cost’ of having a cheaper brochure ‘down sell’ your business.

For a free quote for your next direct mail campaign contact our team on 0845 345 7755

Make telemarketing work for your business

MarketingFile - Is it safe to call?
MarketingFile - Is it safe to call?

Telemarketing can be a dark horse in terms of ways to market your business. However, telemarketing can be a successful sales and marketing tool for your company.

Be prepared

There’s nothing worse than having a complete blank and a prolonged pause while you desperately try to think of something to say to your waiting customer. Before you start calling customers, make notes on things to talk about, and questions to ask that might reveal to them a need for your services. Once you’ve been doing telemarketing for a while you will also come to learn some of the objections you will come up against, such as “I’m not interested”, “I don’t have the money”, or “it’s not convenient to talk now” – arm yourself with positive responses to these negative objections that will move the sale forward.

What do you want from this call?

Is your objective to create awareness, generate a lead, or make a sale there and then? If your aim is to make a sale, we would also suggest having secondary goals, e.g. obtaining their email address to send them more information, arranging to speak to them another time, or finding out another contact it would be worth you speaking to. Smaller more achievable targets will help to keep spirits raised.

A good time to call

You need to think about who your prospects are and when they will be most receptive to your call. You need to analyse your target group a little closer to realise the right time to call this particular group. Don’t forget, if it’s inconvenient for them to take your call now, ask them when would be best to call back.

The most important 10 seconds

The first 10-15 seconds of your call are the most important – this is when you need to capture the recipient’s interest and keep them on the line. Consumers will tend to make their minds up after just three or four sentences from you – so make them count. Open with a friendly “Hello, how are you?” don’t jump straight in with a sales pitch or you’ll put them off immediately. Also make sure they are the key decision maker!

In layman’s terms?

Don’t confuse your customers with overly technical terms that only make sense to you because they’re thrown about your office every day – keep things plain and simple as customers won’t waste their time trying to understand.

Be natural

We can’t think of anything worse than being talked at by someone who is obviously reading from a script, and one they’re clearly bored with reading. Smile when you talk to customers and they will hear it in your voice. Remember to listen to your customers and have an actual conversation with them; they are people and not daily targets.

Have confidence

If you believe in your product or service and that it’s right for your customer, then they will also have confidence in it. Remember not to take a bad call personally, there could be several reasons why it went wrong. Stay calm and never argue – the customer is always right. All you can do is be as helpful and informative as possible – this would probably be a good time to arrange to call them another time or offer to send over an information pack.

Call logs

Keep a record of all your calls and make brief notes on how the conversations went and any dates to call back. With this information you can learn which approach you use is most successful and improve on it. You will also have at your fingertips helpful reminders for the next time you talk to a particular customer – you may talk to hundreds of customers in one day but they all want to feel unique and remembered, it won’t help your sale if you don’t remember who they are or the last conversation you had with them.

Take some of the work out of the call

It’s a good idea to send introductory or follow-up letters, product fliers or other marketing materials in conjunction with your telemarketing. This will help raise both brand awareness and a relationship between you and your prospects, as well as giving them something to refer back to after your call.

Get in touch with our team to find out more about our telemarketing prospect data and run your free count to find prospects for your next direct marketing campaign on 0845 345 7755.

When should your email go out?

MarketingFile - When should your email go out?
MarketingFile - When should your email go out?

Do you know when the right time is to send out your email campaign?

With the way people are accessing their emails changing, whether it’s at a desktop or laptop, smartphone, tablet even a smart TV, it is even more vital to send your message at the right time.

Although there is no one size fits all technique to timing your email campaign, there is a rule of thumb we tend to apply to our own email broadcasts. We’ll discuss this below and give you hints and tips for you to try with your own email campaigns.

However, why should we all be working towards improving your email timing? The main goal is to sell more, more often. You may have other objectives, such as brand awareness/growth but it always boils down to increase revenue and sales. To do this you want to beat competition and get your message in front of theirs, we’ve already written another blog on how to make your email stand out: blog post, but for this post we are focusing on the timing of your campaign.

Improving your timings will involve a lot of testing, different messages at different times to a range of audiences. And this is will be constant throughout your email broadcasting days…..

We have never been as connected to the online world as we are today, checking emails throughout the day and night, on our range of devices. So calculating the right time might not be an exact science but a lucky guess, and you guessed it….lots of testing.

Your audience

Understanding your audience is the most important aspect for your email campaign success. Gathering information should be relatively easy as your recipients will either be existing customers so you will have their shopping habits and preferences, or if you are prospecting buy additional information about them to understand their needs

Friday to Monday

We recently tested a B2B email campaign on a Friday and Monday with the results showing a better open rate from the Friday send with 66% of those opened within the first three hours, however from the Monday broadcast 78% where opened within the same timeframe. So although the Friday received a higher open rate, the Monday broadcast received a better immediate response rate.

However, both broadcasts had the same click through rate (77%) within the first three hours, this could indicate the people more likely to interact with your email will be one of the first ones to open it. This is vital information when following up on your warm leads, you want to contact these people as soon as possible!

Early mornings

Whether you’re an early bird or a night owl, we all fall victim to checking our smartphones on the commute to work. Meaning it’s a perfect opportunity for people to check out your email that’s just landed in their inbox!

Lunch time rush

The middle of the day is always a popular time to send marketing messages, check your own inbox and you will see how many messages from the same company are sent to you at the same time of day. We carried out a recent survey on all of our inbox and saw 54% of marketing emails being received between 11am and 2pm, the remaining 46% being spread over the hours of 7am and 6pm.


In this instance we don’t actually mean the content of your email but the time it can be sent. This relates back to the top point, knowing your customers. If you know when your user is active on your website, or what time they signed up, this is when your emails to them should be going out. Analyse your data and look for trends of “live time” and test accordingly!

Saved items

If your website allows shoppers to save their items to a basket to come back to at a later date this is perfect opportunity to follow up with a well-timed email. Depending on the value of the item will determine the time that should be left. Roughly an hour for small ticket items and 24-48 hours for large value items as it gives time to discuss with managers or departments to agree.

Ok, so they are just some of our points to help you decide when your email campaigns should be going out. The more you can test and adjust your timings the more likely you will naturally see an increase in open and click rates and hopefully an increase in revenue!

Spring clean your data

MarketingFile - Spring clean your data
MarketingFile - Spring clean your data

How often do you refresh your customer, or prospect, databases? Every month, quarter, 6 months, a year, or so long ago you can’t remember the last time it was carried out?

If it’s the latter then keep reading, if your business makes a conscious effort to regularly update your databases then you should also keep reading as there are some fun facts on how you can do this cheaper and hassle free!

It is a very simple fact that people’s situations change over time, therefore the data you initially collected when your customer registered with you could now well and truly be out of date. For example, did you know roughly 11% of the UK population moves home every year and 17% of people change their email address annually? This naturally happens through people changing their job, so if you’re targeting businesses cleaning up your data is vital in retaining or acquiring new customers.

Does your database consist of elderly people? If so this is another factor to consider when carrying out direct marketing on your database. Cleaning your lists against deceased registers will help save the distress to relatives it can cause and the cost of marketing to them.

So how often should you refresh?

Our advice from working with over 15 different list owners and 150,000 clients in the last 15 years is to ideally refresh your database every time you want to use it. This will depend on how you manage your database, if you are active in contacting your customers to regularly update their details then you may only have to refresh if you are planning a large campaign which involves historical customers.

On the other hand, if you’re not as strict with keeping your database up to date then carrying out a refresh every 5-6 months will not only enhance your customer information but increase the chance of retention and improved revenue. The size of your database will also warrant regular file updates, as a rule of thumb the larger the file the more changes are likely to occur.

Regularly cleaning your databases will enhance your customer and prospect information allowing you to increase sales conversions and revenue. Keeping in contact with your customers with informative information that is relevant to them will keep your audience engaged and therefore more likely to use your services as your business in the forefront of their mind.

Data cleansing not only allows your business to stay in touch with customers who may have moved or changed telephone numbers but also identify people who registered their details with the telephone preference service to not receive unsolicited sales or marketing calls. This is a legal requirement for all businesses to adhere to and could cost your company dearly if you are found to be calling TPS registered numbers.

Our data cleaning service covers a wide range of data checks such as; address quality, NCOA (national change of address) update, mailing suppression file, Smartlink address forwarding service, tele-numbering checks and most importantly the TPS.

To clean up your databases or purchase a new prospect file, get in touch with our team today on 0845 345 7755 who will be able to assist you with your requirements, alternatively chat to us online using our online-chat facility at the bottom right of your screen.