As an inbound marketing enthusiast, I love everything about it. It's lower cost per customer acquisition, its ability to build a brand's reputation online and even all the nitty-gritty processes behind making campaigns successful.
However, I would be lying if I said I never found a use for some outbound marketing collateral. In fact, there is one simple outbound marketing piece that has helped some of my agency's clients land some of their biggest customers! Use this effectively and you'll quickly establish your company as something genuine, separating yourselves from your lazy, disorganized, robotic competitors.
Behold! The Power of the Thank You Card
That's right...a thank you card. Not a fancy brochure, not a crazy promo kit and not some chunky mail piece with lights and sirens. Just a plain ole' thank you card. I'm not trying to put down the value of outbound marketing because it definitely has its place within the marketing ecosystem, including inbound marketing.
Many types of collateral have their own unique benefits, but I will saying that few have delivered better results for our agency and our clients than the simple thank you card.
How You Should Use Thank You Cards
Thank you cards are best used as part of automated workflows for specific inbound marketing and sales activities. Yes, both your marketing team and your sales team should get in on this! Just remember, if you're using automation software, it should NOT send the card but rather notify a specific member of your team to do so personally. Here's how you should use them for maximum impact:
- Keep it personal: Always hand write your thank you cards. No typed up, automatically sent from the print shop stuff. While that does save time, it completely defeats the purpose of the card.
- Keep it timely: Send the thank you card immediately after specific actions. Strike while the iron is hot! View these thank you cards like you view a sales proposal...the more time goes by, the less likely it will create your desired outcome.
- Keep it relevant: When writing your little blurb in the card, make sure it pertains the to the specific action the contact took: like signing up for a webinar, requesting a demo or even visiting the website.
- Believe it or not, when I was running sales some years ago for a technology company, I sent a thank you card to a prospect I found in the Hubspot prospect tool who visited a few key pages on our website. I sent the card to who I thought might be the decision maker at that company, thanking them for stopping by. I got lucky as that contact was impressed by the gesture and they later became one of the biggest accounts the company obtained!
- Include your business card: I understand a business card is not as nice as a Starbucks gift card (which is also useful to include on occasion) but it gives the recipient a chance to keep your info on hand or maybe even pass the card on to a friend/colleague.
When to Send Them
There are many times when sending a personal, hand-written thank you card can have a positive impact. Let's look at a some possible times for various contact types. Use your best judgment here -- keep in mind you wouldn't want to send one every single time a contact initiates any of these activities as that gets pretty costly.
- After requesting a demo
- After downloading a piece of content
- After attending an event
- After a conversation with a sales team member (always a good one!)
- After visiting your website (assuming your tracking web visitors...which you should be!)
- After submitting a referral
- After signing up with your product/services
- After attending an event
People buy from people. So, when it comes to supplementing your inbound marketing activities with a little outbound collateral, nothing beats a good old fashioned thank you card. Everyone loves getting something personal in the mail. Plus, it shows you care and spent some time to show that appreciation instead of simply moving on about your day. VistaPrint, Uprinting, Shutterfly and other online printing companies will usually have some great deals on basic thank you cards that you can re-brand with your company colors/images. Buy them, use them and you'll quickly start separating yourself from the lazy competition.