National Marketing Resources achieves a 90 percent conversion rate in direct mail marketing campaigns thanks to Invoca’s call marketing automation platform.
Direct marketing is alive and well, but without clean toll-free numbers, tracking conversion rates can be difficult. Without clean toll-free numbers, call center agents waste time and money answering customer service calls and wrong numbers, and the campaigns attached to the toll-free numbers cannot be tracked accurately.
National Marketing Resources (NMR), a Lehi, Utah-based charitable organization dedicated to helping entrepreneurs, provides courses and other materials that assist business owners in achieving personal and professional goals, and it uses direct marketing to achieve its enrollment goals. Its courses include affiliate marketing, lead generation, and other topics that can help businesses get started or reach the next level. NMR is focused on quality and assurance at every step of its clients’ experiences. From extensive internal testing and evaluation to knowledgeable and effective coaches, NMR has been able to provide its customers with accredited programs that can be transferred for credit at colleges and universities nationwide. One of its most successful ways to reach out to prospective clients is through direct mail, directing prospects to call a toll-free number to register for a free preview event.
NMR circulates approximately 100,000 pieces of direct mail in three different markets per week, advertising free preview events packed with high-level information for potential customers. This means NMR sends out 300,000 direct mailers weekly, requesting that prospective clients call a toll-free number to register for the free preview event. However, toll-free numbers can come with quality issues ranging from wrong numbers to customers looking for support, and these calls skew conversion rates. Inaccurate conversion rates make it difficult for NMR to determine which of its campaigns are reaching the most customers. If a campaign attached to a toll-free number that receives a lot of wrong number calls is otherwise successful, NMR won’t know it and may terminate an otherwise effective campaign. Additionally, call center agents would need time to re-route customer service calls – time that they could be spending signing up prospects for seminars, which would lead to wasted money as well.
NMR knew it had to find a smarter way to manage its toll-free numbers so that it could accurately track conversion rates and increase the efficiency of its inbound call center. Wrong numbers and customer service calls negatively impact NMR’s reporting, which makes successful campaigns look unsuccessful, according to David Jones, Director of Client Services. “We had purchased a toll-free number from (another company), and it turned out that the toll-free number was previously owned by an insurance company. A significant percentage of the volume that came in off the toll-free was not directed at us.” This bogged down call center agents with unnecessary call volume, diverting them from salable calls, and skewed the reporting for the campaign associated with the toll-free number.
Wrong numbers and customer service calls negatively impact NMR’s reporting, which makes successful campaigns look unsuccessful, according to David Jones, Director of Client Services.
At any given time, NMR needs to manage 12 toll-free numbers simultaneously, each attached to a specific campaign to measure its effectiveness. Before trying Invoca’s call marketing automation platform, NMR initially turned to testing an interactive voice response (IVR) system through a third-party vendor. This would have provided NMR with an automated way of screening calls before they reached call center agents, but it wouldn’t improve call tracking. The vendor identified and clarified the need to acquire clean toll-free numbers and manage large blocks of toll-free numbers, and they recommended Invoca as a solution. NMR tested out several platforms. Invoca stood out from the pack because of its robust reporting capability. NMR signed its contract with Invoca on December 5, 2011.
Dedicated Promotional Numbers
NMR included Invoca’s dedicated promotional numbers for each of its marketing campaigns. This would provide a separate, clean toll-free number for use with each promotion. Calls were connected directly to NMR’s call center, which then processed the information given by each prospective customer. This allowed NMR to track the effectiveness of each campaign. Invoca’s reliable system and easy-to-use, intuitive interface are now at the heart of tracking NMR’s direct mail toll-free numbers. Invoca assigns the toll-free numbers, and NMR uses its internal telecommunications metrics to track performance. “The problem with managing toll-free numbers internally is that you will always be rotating those numbers through campaigns and creating unsalable volume,” Jones said. “When you get a toll-free number from Invoca, there is an assurance that you’re getting clean numbers.”
Because NMR’s campaigns have a defined lifespan, it either repurposes or releases the toll-free numbers from Invoca. When NMR releases the number, Invoca waits until there is no activity on the number for 90 days before recycling it. This ensures that the number is clean and drastically reduces the likelihood of unsalable calls coming in on the toll-free number.
Results at a Glance
Currently, NMR runs three preview events each week, and the toll-free numbers are assigned four weeks prior to the event. It sends out over 1 million mailers monthly, and so having an efficient and accurate way to manage the data is crucial. According to Jones, Invoca’s clean numbers have led to purely salable calls. In the year that NMR has been using Invoca, it has been able to drastically reduce its unsalable call volume and achieve higher conversion rates due to the elimination of those calls.
Conversion rates for the toll-free numbers associated with NMR’s direct marketing rarely broke 80 percent because of wrong numbers or customer service calls. However, with Invoca’s solution, conversion rates have soared to a measurable 90 percent. This allows NMR to better gauge which campaigns are working and which need fine-tuning. In addition, NMR recently launched its Pro-Trader Institute Seminar, an educational seminar featuring Steve Sitkowsky and Jimmy Schlagle focusing on options. Using a combination of direct mail marketing supported by Invoca’s dedicated unique promo numbers and detailed analytical reporting, NMR was able to accurately track its conversion rates – no easy task, since the Pro-Trader Institute Seminar saw the highest attendance rates for any of its pilot programs – ever. Invoca’s platform has also proven itself simple and efficient to use, to the point where the IT department doesn’t need to get involved in toll-free number assignment. Lacey Kaser, Customer Service Supervisor, uses the Invoca interface on a regular basis to assign numbers to campaigns. “Invoca saves our IT department four hours a week, because they don’t have to deal with toll-free number management and routing,” Kaser said.
NMR has been enjoying the benefits of clean toll-free numbers and real-time campaign management for over a year and is starting to explore Invoca’s call marketing automation platform even further, to boost its marketing in other channels.“There are a lot of capabilities that Invoca brings to the table that we plan to explore in the future,” Jones said. NMR recognizes the value of integrating more channels into its toll-free number marketing. The company wants to test cost per action (CPA) campaigns using Invoca. It also plans to use Invoca as an alternate channel for its infomercials, which sell non-seminar products.