7 Ways to Reach Consumers Abandoning Landlines!

Written by on October 1st, 2008

How will you reach customers if 1 in 5 don’t have home phones?

rotary phoneA recent study by the Nielsen Company says that more than 20 million U.S. telephone households, (17 percent) are wireless substitutors (homes without landlines). Their study also uncovered another 5% of those surveyed as likely to drop their land line in the next 12 months.

This changing behavior is probably catching your organization off guard as the increase has occurred in just the past 4 years. While the study first reported in December, 2003 indicated just 4.2 percent had abandoned a home phone and replaced it with their cell phone, the study has shown a steady 3-4 percent increase year. Researchers are anticipating it to reach a tipping point and grow faster in the next couple of years. By the end of 2008, at current growth rates, that would put 1 out of 5 people out of touch from your customer service, sales reps, technicians’, surveyors, political campaigners and others.

A recent Jupiter Research also found that 12 percent of Internet users do not subscribe to land line phone service and nearly 2/3rds of them are 18-34 year olds. Worse, the same report suggests that another 12 percent of those surveyed indicated an intent to drop their home phone service. (That would represent 24% of this age group!)  

Combine this with the fact that the public in general is moving away from traditional mass media like TV, radio, magazines, newspapers and you begin to realize that you have a whole generation that will be difficult to reach using traditional marketing methods.

So what are you going to do about it?

We think you should be developing Internet strategies today ! Not next year or tomorrow, but immediately! We’ve identified 7 steps you need to take today, to reach the ¼ of all consumers in the coming years:

  1. Gather email addresses
  2. Develop email marketing strategies
  3. Learn how to use customers networks
  4. Gather information so you can personalize news
  5. Adopt social media and employ social media marketing
  6. Learn how to use customer’s networks
  7. Partner with social and business networking sites

Gather email addresses

One of the most important things you can do right now is get every department in your company collecting email addresses of prospective customers, customers and others. Emails are like gold! Their value increases over time. When you think about it, emails are like having your own marketing channel. Like having your own TV, radio station, newspaper or magazine, because they enable you to deliver your message to a core group of people. The only difference is it cost you next to nothing to connect with them, whenever you want.
While you are collecting the emails it’s important to identify the source of the emails, i.e. which department or division, when you got it, what the person was interested in, if they have bought from you, how frequently you have emailed it. It will be important to continue to attach more data to each email and strategically use this data to more effectively communicate with customers.

Develop email marketing strategies

Now that you have the email addresses it’s important to use them effectively. Most organizations will haphazardly send emails to prospects and customers. We suggest you create a campaign that includes 6 or more emails that will be sent on specific days. Have your marketing team site down and create the copy, put the emails in your email marketing tool and forget about it! This enables you to create continuity and in the end it will take less of your time. Setting up 6 emails at one time is frankly much more efficient.

Gather information so you can personalize news

Once you have the email addresses, and your strategy you will want to find ways the consumer can personalize the information you have on them so the information you share in the future is more relevant. You don’t want to send specials on the boats you offer to people who don’t like to swim. After awhile they’ll ignore your emails and your click through rates will get significantly worse. Your goal is to gather browsing behavior and personal interests, purchases, requests, etc. and develop systems that will automatically deliver content they are interested in. Your goal is to gather enough datat that your prospect sells themselves.

Adopt social media and employ social media marketing

Your Internet strategy should include the use of SEO, photos, video, bogs, podcasts and recommendation tools. Each department in your company needs to be adopting Web 2.0 tools that enable your customer to interact with you, your team and other customers. You should also encourage people in each of your departments to create blogs and write articles that can be submitted to ezine publishers. That way when people search for products and services you offer, you come up before your competitor.

Learn how to use customer’s networks

Your customers are in a race to grow their friends list. The average number of friends a Facebook user is 150. Some have thousands. Social media enables people to amplify word-of-mouth. Telephones, water cooler conversations are limited to one to one conversations. Information shared with friends in online communities travels instantly, fast and effortlessly. You need to experiment with and learn best practices to work with your customers to use their networks to inform, entertain, gather data and sell your products.

Partner with other social and business networking sites

By 2012 experts predict there will be 600 million people participating in social and business networking sites. As you know, these tools have communication channels built right in them that bypass the use of email. As more people become familiar with these and spend more time on them use of traditional email will be reduced. So number 7 is your hedge against the fact that online communities and social media will begin to take on more importance and begin to minimize the marketing impact of email.

Summary

So is it worth it? Think about it from this angle. Currently, in order to reach prospects you hand checks to organizations who have built marketing channels to your prospective customers. It might be a magazine, radio station, Valpak or other marketing channel. By taking these 7 steps, you will save money and position your company to reach an segment of your customers that will be harder to reach.

What’s your opinion.

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