Communicate on Their Terms


Why are there so many form letters in the world? Pointless advertising inserts?

Communicating with customers with a form letter is like communicating on your terms. They don’t get to see anything that truly relates to them. So you insert your latest ad campaign, and hope for the best.

Customers are wise to this, they recognize a form letter in an instant. If you talk to them, they probably don’t mind an automated piece of correspondence, but they probably do mind if you haven’t treated them with respect.

How do you treat them with respect?

  • be short and to the point, you’ve already interrupted their day, it better be good
  • if they aren’t eligible for a promotion, don’t mention it
  • show them only promotions in which they personally might be interested
  • show them only product tips for products they actually own
  • make the correspondence an integral part of a regular mailing like their bill or account statement
    • don’t make it an insert — it’ll just get trashed
    • customers can opt-out of other correspondence, but they can’t opt out of their bill

Communicating with your customers on their terms is important to good customer relations. The more you understand your customer’s personal preferences and current product mix, the better you can position the most likely successful up-sell. The more you understand how they use products they own, the more likely you can point out useful tips to them.

Sometimes this can get complicated, but it doesn’t have to. If you’re a small business running Quickbooks, group your customers by their profile into separate invoice runs and customize your Quickbooks invoice templates to target each group. If you have a lot of customers, you might want to look into Automated Correspondence software.

So, next time you think about using a form letter to inform your customers about something, go the extra step and customize it at least for your most common customer groupings.


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