Telemarketing is often misunderstood as a throwback marketing tool that is no longer relevant. However, whether you are generating new clients for your own business, setting appointments, or raising money for a political candidate or charity, telemarketing can still be a profitable source of lead generation, fundraising and appointment setting.
In a recent study on B2B lead generation by Salesforce, telephone-based outreach delivered an 8.21% response rate for a prospect list compared to a response rate of only .03% for email.
For nonprofits and political fundraising, telemarketing continues to be a tried and true method for raising donations. People tend to give based on an emotional response and the human element in fundraising efforts is unmatched compared to other channels.
There are a host of regulations and best practices telemarketers must follow to ensure a successful campaign and to avoid the hefty fine of being in non-compliance. Depending on your project and budget, having a conversation with your agency or telephone data provider will ensure your project meets expectations.
Chances are you have a customer or prospect database that already contains phone numbers, but when was the last time you updated that information? Area codes continue to change, people and businesses move, and consumers are dropping landline phones in favor of cell phones. In fact, about 17% of the U.S. population moves each year, and more than one-third of U.S. homes are now cell phone only.
Here are 5 tips to ensure you have accurate contact information and stay in compliance with regulations.
One: Append and verify numbers on your customer or prospect database.
If it has been a while since you performed any data hygiene, a good first step is to process your phone data through NCOA. This will capture moves reported to the USPS. If you are a consumer marketer, you may want to consider adding Proprietary Change of Address (PCOA) processing. Only 65% of consumers report their change of address to the postal service, and you can capture an additional 5% to 15% of moves by using PCOA. If you do the math, you may find that retaining those additional customers or donors is well worth the investment.
Depending on your budget, you can also use additional phone data enhancement solutions such as directory assistance data or standard white pages data. Check out various solutions to determine what will best suit your needs. For example, some data sets include new connects and disconnects with daily updates but if you do not require such a robust solution, other products may be better suited to your needs at a lower price point.
Two: Make sure you are not calling cell phones without permission.
Flag cell numbers, and get permission through another touch point to call or send mobile messages. Wireless Identification Services should include processes to identify wireless telephone numbers so they may be flagged on your customer database. This will typically include:
- Use of a Telecom Routing Administration file to identify blocks of wireless assigned telephone numbers. Data provided should include the assigned service provider, the type of service that is provided (e.g. wireless), the associated Rate Center and State/Province/Country, and a Portability Indicator.
- Use of a ported telephone number file to identify phone numbers ported from landlines to cell, and cell to landlines.
- Identification of cell phones by area code/exchange and block ID (7th digit of phone number). A match indicates the number has been assigned to a wireless carrier.
Three: Do you have missing information for your customer or prospect?
If your prospect records are missing key data such as name and address, this data can be appended to boost your communication efforts. Common demographic elements include estimated age, current home value, fundraising contributor, gender, owner/renter, estimated household income, length of residence, mail order buyers, marital status, median income, children in home, as well as a variety of lifestyle interests based on your audience profile.
Four: Add data on new connects.
Another telephone number resource is new connects, available for both consumers and businesses. Reaching new movers and new businesses first can provide you with a big advantage. New connects are available within 24 to 48 hours of the phone connection and are an excellent resource for “must have” services.
Five: Scrub out Do Not Call numbers.
Remember that unless your organization is exempt you must subscribe to the FTC National Do Not Call Registry. Provide your SAN number to your data provider so that phone records can be scrubbed prior to delivery. Depending on the state in which you are calling, you may need to subscribe to individual state DNC lists as well.
A vendor specializing in DNC suppression services will flag or suppress phone numbers that match any of the following files:
- National FTC Do-Not-Call File
- State Do-Not-Call Files
- Direct Marketing Association Preference Service File
- Disconnect Telephone File
- Wireless Blocked Numbers
Telemarketing has been around for decades because it works well for a range of industries. It is a great tool for appointment setting, creating personalized connections with customers, fundraising, and lead development. Phone campaigns can be a successful tactic when incorporated into multi-channel marketing strategies, but businesses must ensure they have the right data and be extra diligent in following state and federal regulations or risk getting slapped with hefty fines and missing out on numerous opportunities.