Bill: It takes about eight minutes to get out 10,000 messages, which is fascinating. Because Dan, as you know and we’ve had many discussions about this, my sales associates who work in my stores, they are required to make telemarketing calls to their previous clients, which is a very, very strong media which I highly encourage people to continue to do. But a good sales associate can make maybe, if he’s really good, maybe 20 calls an hour. Well, with voice broadcast, you can make 10,000 calls in eight minutes. So you can really hit the masses with this thing.
Dan: Okay. So this call was then made in follow-up to the Thanksgiving card. And in this case, it got you how much of a bump over the previous year?
Bill: This one was a little over a 35 percent increase in volume over the previous year. We did also follow it up with one more call. That call was done the day before Thanksgiving, and then I also followed it up with the Friday after Thanksgiving in the morning, with very similar message again. “This is Bill Glazer again. I just want to remind you that we sent you this special offer and you can shop in one of our two stores today, tomorrow or Sunday and get the special offer.” So we did do one more follow-up to it.
Dan: And did you have people coming in specifically mentioning having gotten the call?
Bill: Happens every time we do it. Now we’ve done it dozens of times. First of all, people mention that you get the call, because a lot of consumers really think it’s very ingenious. They really enjoy it. Also, a lot of consumers mention the special code word, because they no longer have the direct mail piece. They’ve throw that away. So you hear the code word very often. I’ll tell you one little almost humorous aside to this. If I’m out on the selling floor at one of my stores, invariably a customer walks up to me and says, “Are you the guy that leaves me those messages on my phone?” And I always turn to them with a big smile and say, “Yeah. And I only call you. You’re the only person I ever call.” Like you said, Dan, people really think that you’re calling them up. If you have a problem with that, you could say in your message, which I have one client doing now, same message, “Hi, this is whoever. I know these messages are annoying, but this information is just so important that I wanted to leave you this recorded message.” So if you have some kind of problem with that, you can certainly change your message to disclose that.
Dan: I imagine if we had open phones right now and the Gold members could ask you questions, one of the questions somebody would be bound to ask would be about the negative response to this.
Bill: Sure. It’s an important point. I’ve stopped tracking it, but on the first say 90,000 voice broadcast messages that I sent out, and that’s over several campaigns, obviously, we’ve received a total of 14 people who asked us not to send it out to them any longer. I sort of steal one of your phrases, which “you’ve got to be careful not to let the inmates run the asylum.” What you’ve got to be careful of is you don’t let a few customers call you up and complain about this, and hurt your ability to continue to grow your business. Now, the nice feature about voice broadcast is that the company that I suggest people to use, which at the end of this tape I’ll be happy to give your listeners an opportunity to sign up for this if they’d like to, but the company that I suggest people use and most companies, I think, also have this, is they have a do-not-call special database that you can set up for your voice broadcasts. And if a customer calls you up and says, “This is just very annoying to me or whatever,” you say, “No problem. I’m make sure that we never call you again. I just wanted to make sure we can notify you of money-saving opportunities. But if this bothers you, just give me your phone number and I’ll enter it into the database, and we’ll never call you again.” And you never will. That’s the best way to handle it. Since we’ve handled it that way with those whopping 14 folks, we’ve never had a problem since.
Dan: Okay, now, since you raised the issue, the other application is not within a direct mail sequence, not as a marketing step, but as a standalone marketing advice. Talk a little bit about that.
Bill: Well, it’s really not too much different. For instance, like I had one retailer, and I’ll give you an example, in the bicycle business. There was one particular very hot model bicycle that he just couldn’t get. All of a sudden, he was able to get a load of them. He sent out a voice broadcast to a defined group of his folks real quickly, advising them that they got this group of bikes in. And he sold them out all the next day. I think he got 28 bikes in and they sold them out on a Saturday. So the nice thing about voice broadcast is you can use it if you need to get a real quick message out to your folks. You can just do it and it’s done. Another application that we are now experimenting with. I’ve never done it in my own stores. I’m getting ready to do it this month, but I’ve had other of my clients use, is as a teaser for upcoming mail. So for instance, we’re getting ready to send out our anniversary promotion, which is “We’ll be in business for 54 years.” And we do this every year. We send out a check, it’s one dollar for every year in business, so this year’s check will be $54 off the purchase of $250 or more of apparel. And I’m sending out a voice broadcast as a teaser to my folks, saying to them, “Hi, this is Bill Glazer. In the next day or two, we’re sending you $54 for our 54th anniversary. Be on the lookout for it,” which is a very interesting application of voice broadcast.
Dan: And your client who’s been using this, has he been able to monitor or measure a bump in response?
Bill: The client that used it as a teaser had never… it was a brand new promotion for him. But it was a highly successful promotion. He’s in the outdoor business. The interesting thing about it is that he used it to a list purchase. It wasn’t to his own clients. He was able to purchase a list of people that are outdoor enthusiasts. With a combination of voice broadcast and direct mail, he had a very successful promotion. But I can’t tell you it was all due to voice broadcast. Probably part of it was due to the brilliant direct mail piece I designed for him.
Dan: Okay. Talk a little bit about costs.
Bill: Well, it’s one of the really nice features of it. It’s much less expensive than direct mail. The company that I use, and I found them to be as competitive as anyone, if not better, the fee is one and a half cents for every six seconds of message. And you only pay for the connected calls, which is something we really need to talk about after we talk about cost is who you want to connect these calls to versus live answers or just answering machines. But getting back to your question, Dan, the average message is 30 seconds long. That’s what we suggest is to make your message 30 seconds long. But you’re also paying for the time that the answering machine picks up and you listen to the answering machine message. You know, “Hi, this is Dan. I’m not home now, etc., etc.” So what we find on average is that for every 1,000 attempts that you make, it costs you $70 per 1,000 attempts. That’s a real good rule of thumb. So if you have 10,000 names in your database, you’re looking at about $700 to do the entire campaign. And you can do the math from there.
Dan: Yeah. And somebody with a smaller business than yours that may only have 1,000 or 2,000, we’re talking…
Bill: I’ve got retailers all over the country that are spending $ 200 to do these things and to bring people into their store, and they’re doing tens of thousands of dollars in business off of using this technology. This session continues on the opposite side.
Dan: There are so many ways you can use it. Let’s go to the mechanics now. The time of day, who you want to connect the call to, and those sorts of issues.
Bill: Okay. Well, first of all, the time of day is a fairly easy one. You really want to queue your call to go out either at 10:00 a.m. in the morning or 2:00 p.m. in the afternoon. The obvious reason for that is because you want to reach people when they’re not home. Those are the two times a day when the largest amount of people are not home. Also, let’s talk about who you want to receive the call. That sort of speaks to that directly, which is the fact that I have found that it’s safest to just leave it on answering machines or voicemails.
Dan: Most of the applications I’m familiar with, my other clients’ using it and so forth, everybody is largely in agreement and is using that strategy.
Bill: Yeah. But however, I do have some of my guys, which I have never done yet and I’m not sure I ever will, but I have some of my guys who are also sending it to live answers. If you do use it with a live answer, you have to then disclose right up front in the copy that this is a recorded message.
Dan: Of course. Because otherwise, they try and have a conversation.
Bill: And the phone’s not going to answer their questions. But mostly, what I’m finding is the safest way to do it is¾certainly for someone who’s just starting with it before they experiment¾is to use it with just answering devices. Now argumentatively, we engage my retail stores. I really should be testing live answers, because argumentatively, the better the relationship you have with the customer, the more you can get away with.
Dan: Sure. But you would do two different messages?
Bill: 100 percent. Yeah, I would really disclose it was a recorded message.
Dan: And the reason why it works so well when it is just left on the answering machine is the same principle behind advertorials versus traditional advertising and infomercials is that it’s disguised marketing.
Bill: Absolutely. Absolutely. I’ll give you a couple other little tips, if you’d like them.
Bill: One of them is that after you send out your message, you get a report as far as completed calls. How many of your calls were completed to answering machines and voicemail systems. And typically, I find that if it’s less than 50 percent completed, then it makes sense to queue it up for a second follow-up call to only those. You can queue it up to only those people that were uncompleted calls. And then usually after you do two of them, you can get it up to 50 percent completion rate. The other thing that I found that was hugely successful for me, and this was right out of one of our Platinum meetings, Dan, I got it from one of the other Platinum members in your group, was there’s a company called “Mailer’s Software.” And their phone number is 1-800-800-6245. You can send your database to them and they will match your database to home phone numbers. So if some of your listeners are saying, “Gee, I’d love to do this technology, but I don’t have my customer’s home phone numbers. I just have their names and addresses,” you can send it out to these folks and they’ll do a match for you. And they’ll get probably somewhere between 50 to 70 percent. They’ll give you the home phone numbers. They’ll also do what’s called “phone verify,” phone number verify, which is they’ll verify, even if you have home numbers, that they’re the correct ones. I’d be honest with you, I’m also now using this company to clean up my mailing list. I do my NCOA stuff, national change-of-address, and they also do the cash certify for me now. So they’re really scrubbing up my list and getting me a higher connect rate on my mail and my voicemail.
Dan: Terrific. Okay, you’re sort of graciously going to help any of our members who want to use this, go through the process and get set up with the service provider. I think you have some information you can send out to people, and also a reduction on the setup costs and so forth. Tell me exactly what it is we’re doing.
Bill: It’s really no secret, Dan. I’d be more than happy to offer this to your Gold members. Because so many of my guys now are using the technology, I’ve become a little bit bigger fish in their pond, the voice broadcast folks. So they give me some special pricing in terms of activating people to use their service. There is, typically, a $295 activation fee. However, I’ve been able to get that down to $95 for my retailers around the country, which is a nice little inexpensive way to get started with the technology. If any of your listeners would like to try this out, I’ll give you my 1-800 number. They can call my office here, leave their name and number, but identify themselves as a Kennedy Gold Member, and somebody on my staff will call them back and get them out an activation form. At any rate, my 1-800 number is 1-800-545-0414. And I’ll be more than happy to help your folks out to get started with this.
Dan: Great. Terrific. Let me, in the waning minutes that we have left, kind of close the book on this. And in more general terms, talk about what you know from your experience and now see with all the retailers you’ve been working with, the big ways the retailers sort of mess up on marketing. What is it that you’re fixing for them that is delivering such great results?
Bill: That’s such an easy question. But I find that consistently, everybody makes the same mistake. The mistake that most retailers make is they spend most of their energies trying to continually get a flow of new customers. What they ignore repeatedly is their past and present customers. What my systems that I have put in place and I sell now as a kit, I do teach a lot of retailers how to get new customers and I teach them how to get new customers more effectively than they’ve got in the past, but I really teach them how to do two things with their existing customers. Number one is how to make their transactions larger. Only a certain amount of customers walk in the door. But if you can expand on how much they spend, that makes a huge impact on your business. And then the other thing I teach them how to do is how to bring their customers in more frequently. We use a lot of different strategies and programs to accomplish both of those.
Dan: And tell me about the kit.
Bill: My kit has a real big book, which is 93 strategies on how to market a retail business. And then I have another huge book which gives 37 exact examples of all different types of media, whether it’s direct mail, whether it’s radio script, newspaper, television, etc. I also have audio cassettes in there that walk you right through the whole system, because I find that a lot of people are not readers and a lot of people love to listen to and from work every day. And that’s a great use for that. And then I have a bunch of other manuals in there. One of the interesting things about retail business¾and this is for any type of retail business¾Dan, you might find this kind of surprising is that 25 percent of all retail transactions are spurred on by signs. Signs that you have. Either interior or exterior signs. And most retailers are terrible at making signs and knowing how to make a sign that will get someone to respond to it. So I have a whole separate manual teaching people how to make proper signs for their business, etc. It’s a pretty big kit. And then, of course, people go through it and depending on what their level of seriousness is, they pick out the things that seem to work for them.
Dan: And the selling price for the kit?
Bill: My selling price for my kit is $997. If you like, if any of your listeners are listening, I’d be more than happy to give the Kennedy folks a special opportunity on that.