Doreen Flint

Better Data Management Means Business Success

Data management has become a vital part of any business in the digital age. Dealing with terabytes of sensitive customer information has exposed more than one company who did not take proper steps to ensure that their data was secure from malicious operators. Data that is transmitted from client to business without secure file transfer protocols (SFTP) have been used to steal customer information and lead to issues such as ransomware and the sale of customer data.  Having customer data compromised not only leads to angry clientele, but it can also lead to a host of legal issues. Therefore it makes sense for your company to outsources your data processing to a data processing service who has the means to protect your data; here are some reasons why it can help your business.

Instant Access to Your Data.

If your company has a large customer base but does not have enough employees to organize and maintain data effectively, it can become a nightmare made up of hours of searching and sorting through data. The few employees you have to oversee your data will lose hours that could be spent on your company's core business, not searching through physical and digital files. By freeing your employees, you ensure that your company can focus on improving and expanding its goals.

Keeping Data in Step with Changing Technology and Regulations.

A data management service has to be in tune with improvements in technology. They will migrate data to newer systems which make their management easier and more efficient. They have the resources to research and employ new technology that most mid-sized and smaller business don't have the budget or workforce to dedicate to such things. Data management services are also must stay on top of the latest regulations in order to remain compliant. There are laws concerning documents such as contracts, financial papers, and legal documents that mandate they be held for a fixed amount of time. If your company does not keep track of those important documents and they become lost or destroyed (deleted), then your company could face fines or worse. Why would you take the risk of running afoul of such laws and not outsource the responsibility to a data processing service? 

Consistently Meet Deadlines

A data processing service can make sure that things such as scanning paper documents can be transitioned into digital, searchable documents that are required for items such as the sale of a property or business. A data processing service can dedicate the time your company can't; to ensure that all your documents are in order and ready when you need them to be.

Improving Your Company's Bottom Line.

By using a data processing service, you save employee time and cost that would have been tied up in dealing with data and documents. Inadequate data management can cost you both money and loss of customer satisfaction. In this day and age, when a customer expects instant access to their data, anything that takes longer can result in losing that customer. If you have a sudden need to access and gather customer data together, you don't have to scramble and take employees away from other tasks to get it done.

So, the bottom line is if you want to ensure that your customer's data is safe, and easily accessible when you need it, then you should use a data processing service. Not only will a data processing service help your bottom line, improve your company's efficiency, but it can also give you the peace of mind that your customer's data safe and it's one less problem with which you have to deal.

Five Reasons Your Company Should Outsource Invoicing.

If you are dealing with a large customer base, you know the difficulty in getting invoicing out every month then outsourcing your invoicing makes sense. You may still be leery of using an invoicing service from past experience. In the digital age, there is no reason to fear invoicing services, in fact, larger companies should be embracing them. Here are five reasons why outsourcing can benefit your company.

Invoicing Services Know the Rules.

Your company must stay on top of compliance when it does its own accounts payable department. Regardless of it’s a state-specific such as privacy laws, or federal law such as HIPPA, your company should be sure that your company is following regulations. When you have a large number of customers, it can become a gargantuan task. Outsourcing your accounts payable process, ensures you do not violate any state or federal laws. Experts you are entrusting your invoicing to know the laws more intimately than a regular accounts payable employee at your company does.

Invoicing Services Get Your Company’s Invoices Out Faster.

An invoicing service is more efficient than your accounts payable department. They are specialized in processing invoices, that means they are in your customer’s hands faster, and your company gets paid more quickly. Invoicing services aren’t using the same antiquated equipment and methods that your company does, that is why it’s essential to make the switch. Getting invoices out faster also increases customer satisfaction, when a customer has the invoice paid, and off their books, it means they can focus on other issues.

Invoicing Services let You Reduce Costs.

Using an invoicing service means that you don’t have to increase your payroll to get invoices out. It also lets you save money on equipment required to get invoices out in a timely fashion and maintenance on that equipment.

Invoicing Services Means Increased Employee Productivity.

Employees are the lifeblood of a company, and when they are tied up with unnecessary tasks, their productivity goes down. Employees steer your company toward a unified goal, making sure things get done. Freeing your employees from processing invoices means that they can be assigned to other areas where they are the most needed. It eliminates tying up your employees with unnecessary meetings and training. They can spend more time collecting from delinquent accounts and focusing on relationships with your vendors.  If your company is seasonal, then you won’t need to hire extra employees just to deal with invoicing, you can focus on hiring for manufacturing or the service your company provides.

Invoicing Services Can Eliminate Mistakes and Protect from Downtime.

You’ve heard “to err is human,” and that applies to your company’s employees as well. Automated payroll processing eliminates under or overcharging on an invoice, or misstating what a charge was for. Processing services have the automation software to ensure there are no mistakes in invoicing. You can also rest assured knowing that employees being out on vacation or sick won’t slow down invoicing. Invoicing services also protect you from not being able to bill from a disaster such as a fire, flooding from a storm, or roads made impassable from snowstorms. Your invoicing will go out at the time when you will need it the most.

These are just a few of the many good reasons to switch from having your company do its own accounts payable to having an invoicing service handle your company’s substantial billing. Contact BMS Direct today for more information!

5 Reasons Your Company Should Use Direct Mail

Direct mail has proven the test of time and still has proven itself to be one of the most effective tools that any company can have at their marketing department’s disposal. In the digital age direct mail, especially business to business direct mail, is a proven way to get past some of the digital gatekeepers that can relegate your emails to the spam filter. So, with the fact that direct mail still stands strong after centuries of use, here are five reasons your company should use direct mail for its direct marketing campaign.

Direct Mail Gets Your Email Noticed.

A well designed, eye-catching, direct mail piece can bring about name recognition and will begin to linger in your prospective customer’s memory. After receiving a  few direct mail pieces, your target recipient may become curious about your company and notice your email in their inbox. In this way, you are overcoming a common problem in the digital age known as “fragmentation of attention.” Fragmentation of attention is the decline in how long someone can focus on one thing. Recent studies show that the average amount of time someone can stay focused on any one thing is between eight to twelve seconds.  A vibrant direct mail piece can grab and keep hold of someone’s attention and therefore build brand and name recognition, thus making more likely your email will be opened when they recognize your company’s name.

Direct Mail Helps Build Your Brand Locally.

Selling to your local market is often more convenient than selling to an out of state or out of the country market. Local customers may already be somewhat aware of your brand, through print or broadcast ad campaigns, or simply may have seen your company as they traveled past it. So, your company already has a brand foundation locally from which to build. Direct mail marketing helps you to tailor your message to those potential local customers who are likely to purchase your product. Direct mail sent locally helps your company to capitalize on the organic relationship between your company and potential customers that already exists.

Direct Mail Gets Better Responses than Email, Social Media, or Internet Marketing.

Studies show that emails only have a 1% response rate; social media also only boasts a 1% response rate. Internet marketing produces less than 1% in responses. Direct mail, however, garners a response rate of 3.7%. Since customers are more likely to convert from direct mail recipients to paying customer’s your company is much more likely to see a higher ROI from direct mail than an email blast, a Search Engine Optimization campaign, or a Pay Per Click campaign.

Direct Mail can Drive Traffic to Your Company’s Website.

Adding your company’s webs address to a direct mailer is a simple way to drive traffic to your company’s site. Use your direct mail piece to describe your company, products, and any sales you may have. After the piece has served its primary purpose use your company’s web address in combination with a free offer such as a digital download or a coupon. You can require the customer to fill out a brief survey before they get the download or coupon to gather customer demographics. Use the customer demographics you collect to tailor your next direct mail campaign.

Customer’s Don’t Consider Direct Mail Spam.

Due to its personal appeal and physical properties studies have shown that a customer will open an email at a staggering 90% rate. Because direct mail requires 21% less cognitive effort; which means that messages are absorbed quickly and will be embedded in the customer’s memory, these facts underscore why direct has been and remains such an effective means of communication with customers.

The Importance of a Secure Data Services Company

Is your company doing everything it can to protect your customer’s data? If not, you should consider outsourcing your data processing to secure data services company. Data security is crucial if you want to safeguard your customers’ privacy and your company’s reputation for security. The names are well known and belong to companies that should have had better data security while processing their customer’s documents. Among these companies that allowed security breaches are:  J.P. Morgan Chase and Target. These security breaches resulted in compromising the sensitive information of millions of customers. These companies were big enough and well-staffed enough to know better than to leave their customer’s information exposed. So, if attention is not paid to data security while processing it, no matter how big an institution may be, they can still be to hacked. How much more vulnerable is your company’s data when it is being processed?

Why Does My Company’s Data Processing Need to be Secure?

To sufficiently emphasize the significance of data security, you need to know what exactly constitutes data. Data is vital information about your customer or your company. Some of the data are things such as names, addresses, birthdates, financial information, social security numbers, and driver’s license information. If your company handles medical issues, then you have another layer of data to protect required by HIPAA laws, a patient’s health information. If a hacker can obtain any of this information because of a security breach, the results can be devastating to both your customers and your company. When someone’s data is stolen, it can cause acute disruptions to their life. You have probably read stories about identity theft and credit card fraud; perhaps you experienced them yourself. These violations of privacy are among the most critical issues companies have to deal with while processing sensitive consumer information. You may or may not have a system and procedure in place to protect your customer and business data. You may think that everything is operating with no security breaches – but are you really doing enough to protect your customer and company’s data? Why take the unnecessary risk of being hacked. Your company runs the risk of losing loyal customers and incurring a diminished brand reputation by losing sensitive customer data.  That is why you should consider a third party who can securely process your data.

What to Look for in a Data Services Company

You need to be sure that the company you hire to process your data is up to date with the latest security advances and has a commitment to protecting all your company’s and customer’s data.  Any data services company you use should have clear and logical security protocols in place and meet industry security standards. Some things to look for are certifications such as SOC2/Type II. A SOC2/Type II certification ensures that a data services company has specific security protocols in place. A data services company’s systems must meet stringent principles and criteria set forth by the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA). Another sign of that a data services company will protect your company’s data is if they are PCI compliant. PCI compliant means that the data services company meets the Payment Card Industry Security Standard.  The PCI standard means that they can safely store customer card information without the chance of a security breach. Of course, if your company is in the medical field, then you want to be sure the data processing company is HIPPA compliant.

When you have researched the security standards of a data services company, you can rest easy that when they process your data, it won’t fall into the wrong hands.

Why Your Company Should Use a Statement Processing Service

You can save your company a significant amount of employee time and operational costs by outsourcing your statement processing. Your company’s accounting department won’t be saddled with the responsibility of processing and mailing out statements. Once the transition has been made to a statement processing service, it should bring about noticeable savings.

Not only does using a statement processing service save your company money, but it also allows the company to focus on its core services or products.  It also enhances your company’s brand when customers receive easy to understand statements that arrive consistently on time. Statements that come late and are not clear on details can be a frustrating experience for customers. One of the most consistent complaints by consumers is billing problems.  For many customers, statement issues can be enough of a headache that they choose to seek one of your competitors for the same goods and services, even if it means paying more. Conversely, when a customer receives a statement on time, it enhances customer satisfaction rates.

Better Statement Options.

A statement processing company can create a wide variety of statements. They can be specialized as to the product or service and their appearance. A typical accounting department will not produce a statement with colorful, eye-pleasing graphics. They can also incorporate branding into the statement by using colors, language, font, and icons that communicate what your company is all about.  Attention-grabbing marketing inserts can even be included with statements to make customers aware of events or goods and services your company provides of which they may not have known existed.

Statements can also drive traffic to your company’s website and social media accounts by including the web address of your companies site and including the icons for social media on the envelope or statement itself. Marketing departments dedicate a substantial portion of their budget in Pay Per Click ads on search engines in an attempt to persuade customers to visit their website, including the address on the statement is an easy, low-cost way to get customer attention.

If your company has a sub-company, statements can be produced separately for each company which will make auditing much less of a chore at the end of the year.

Savings on Postage

Because statement processing services mail in bulk, they get better rates on postage.  If your company has a large number of customers, the money saved on postage can quickly add up and increase your bottom line. Most statement processing companies will give you the option of holding marketing materials until the next mailing if it will increase postage costs.

More Security.

When a statement processing service runs billing, you can be sure that their security is much stronger than that of a small or mid-sized company.  You can rest assured when a statement processing service runs your billing that your customers private data will remain secure from hackers. The statement processing service is also familiar with medical privacy laws such as HIPAA and can make sure that statements don’t violate those laws. Outsourcing to a statement processing service helps your company to mitigate risks involved with customer privacy. Statement Processing companies are continually upgrading their security measures and hardware technology so they can stay five moves ahead of hackers.

Timely Statements Means Increased Cash Flow.

If your company is always behind on billing, you know that it can create capital shortages that can interfere with things such as expansion, equipment repair or replacement, or employee salary increases. Using a statement processing service means that billing will go out on time, which means your company’s customers can pay you faster.

When the costs and effort of your company sending out its statements is taken into account; it makes sense to outsource it to a statement processing service.

Four Reasons Direct Mail Still Works

As Long as There Are Mailboxes, Direct Mail Will be Effective.

It’s a time tested, proven method that works despite being over five hundred years old. It’s true, the advent of the printing press by Gutenberg in 1440 made mass production of flyers possible. As the mail systems around the world improved, so did direct mail marketing. Sears built an empire on its direct mail catalogs. In recent years Sears abandoned that model, and their business has been on the decline ever since.  

The things that made direct mail marketing a success then are still why it works today. Direct mail marketing is personalized; it is being sent directly to one person. Direct mail can be colorful and attention-grabbing.  It allows you to use your branding such as fonts, logos, and language. Not only is direct mail marketing a trusted marketing method, but it still achieves in today’s digitally dominated world. Direct mail can bypass the vast magnitudes of digital flash and noise that surrounds us.  Not only is it more effective in many ways than banner ads, pay-per-click, and SEO enhancements, but also can give you a higher return on investment. You know a customer will at least hold and look at a direct mail piece, with pay-per-click ads and search engine result pages (SERP) a customer may only glance at it for a few seconds; which brings us to our next point.

Direct Mail Marketing Last Longer Than Digital Marketing.

True, what is put on the internet stays there forever, but that does not mean people will look at it forever (unless you are a politician or celebrity who tweeted something objectionable years ago). For the rest of us, marketing campaigns on the internet disappear into the ether and are never seen again. This analogy is no exaggeration; a tweet has about 20 minutes that it will be looked at by a customer. During that 20 minutes, the numbers of views will decrease unless you are fortunate enough to be retweeted. A Facebook post last a little bit longer than a tweet, around two hours.  By contrast, a direct mail piece lasts at least 24 hours and can sit around someone’s office or home for weeks or months. It is not unusual to hear stories about customers responding to a mailing that had gone out months earlier.

Direct Mail Marketing Doesn’t get Routed to a Spam Filter.

If you have taken part in a mass marketing email blast, you know that half or more of the emails sent then wind up in a spam filter. If you are not aware of what ever-changing terms get your email sent to a spam filter, you can count on nearly all of it being routed away from inboxes. Direct mail doesn’t get sorted and put into a secondary mailbox; it goes directly to the customer’s hands. You know that a customer will at least skim the piece, as where the average customer won’t read what is in their spam filter.

It Can Drive Customers To Your Company’s Online Presence.

If you’ve spent time and effort in producing a high quality, attention-grabbing website, it means nothing if people don’t visit. You can use pay-per-click-ads to try and guide customer’s to your site, but if you don’t use just the right language, it may not work. Direct mail pieces with your company’s web address will receive organic clicks from people typing in the address on their own. Including social media addresses will also drive customers to those platforms. Make sure to have backlinks to your website in social media posts to draw attention from search engines. Even in this day and age, direct mail can enhance your online presence and SERP results.

Direct mail continues to be as effective now as in Victorian times. It will be useful for the foreseeable future because there is still a visceral advantage of the physical over the digital.

How to Make Direct Mail Work for Your Company

How Can Direct Mail Help Your Company?

If your company is involved in direct marketing, you are most likely aware that direct mail Is still a feasible option in your marketing campaigns. With full email inboxes and a neverending stream of online advertising, direct mail stands out from the rest. A direct mail advertisement comes to the customer physically and won’t be lost amidst competing emails. The customer can actually hold the mail, which makes it more likely that it will be read. The addressee of the correspondence also has a sense that the email is personal. Names and tailored details make the customer feel your company truly cares about them. Direct mailings can either target specific groups to sell a product or convey a message. With a target demographic it is easier to promote a product or service through devices such as catalogs, brochure, and postcards. It is also budget friendly; you can be sure that there will be a return on investment. Bulk rates make mass mailings affordable and profitable. Direct mail is also a proven marketing strategy that has made it through decades of technological advancement from the radio to television to smartphones.  Here are some ways direct mail can help you effectively reach customers.

Direct Mail Should be Part of Your Full Marketing Campaign.

With the attention a direct mailing will create, incorporating it into an overall strategy is wise. The word campaign is appropriate for this marketing strategy; which will have to be continuous to work. A combination of mailings, social media posts, emails, and online ads will have to be executed to reach new customers. Being persistent is the key to being successful in your campaign.

Add A Personal Touch.

Dale Carnegie got it right; people love to hear or read their own name.  The more personalized you can make your content the more likely it will grab the customer’s attention. It shows that you know who your customers are and that your company cares about them. It also means that your customer will remember your company because your mailing was personal.

Build Your Brand With Direct Mail.

The time spent reading a mailer will exceed time spent in reading a social media post or an email. It is the perfect opportunity to convey more about your product or service. Make sure that your mailer has vibrant graphics that will hold the customer’s attention and fonts, images, and icons laid out in your company’s branding style guide. Including information on how your product or service could benefit a customer, you are developing both your brand and the customer’s loyalty.

Make Sure Customer Information is Current.

Using the same data for a mailing done five years ago will not reach the same customers. People move, and companies go out of business, so you want to make sure your database is up to date. Accurate data is crucial to reach your target demographic. You also want to make sure that the mailings go to customers who will buy your goods or services. Having accurate data will let you know what age, income, interests potential customers have and how best to market to their individual needs.  

Don’t Use a Weak Call to Action.

As with an email or social media campaign your call to action cannot be half-hearted. You want to convince your customer that your company’s product or service can improve their life. Without a strong call to action, you will not convince customers of anything. The most effective way to get a customer to respond to your call to action is by using the right language, keeping it brief, and making sure it is on several locations in your flyer. Use the call of action anywhere you can without spoiling the aesthetics of your mailer.  Weeks after the mailer was read customers will remember your call to action.

Call BMS Direct today for all your direct mail needs!!

Send Mail That Matters: The Evolution of Direct Mail

Consumer preferences have changed so much in the past 5 years that a lot of traditional marketing tactics now seem nonsensical because they are not effective anymore. Direct marketing strategy is no different. The most advanced retailers are recognizing that when direct mail and behavioral analytics are used synergistically they sell more stuff! When paired with online consumer data, the impact of print can be greater than ever before.

The progression to what is now possible can be broken down by looking at how direct marketers use data.


1-TO-EVERYONE

Dear Resident,

Using limited data from basic mailing lists, retailers create identical mailings that usually showcase a product and offer and send it to as many people as possible. These simple mailers tend to be all about the retailer’s objective and message with coincidental relevance to the consumer.

 

1-TO-SOME

Hello Homeowner,

Using third party and purchase history databases, retailers are able to find similarities between consumers and group them into segments. Direct mail pieces are then created based on the shared attributes of these groups.These mailers tend to be more relevant than mass mailers but not personalized to the individual.

 

1-TO-1

Hey Kevin,

With pairing online behavioral data with machine learning, retailers can now create a completely customized mailer with a unique offer, product and creative and send it straight to an individual consumer. By tracking a consumer’s unique online behavior— what items they click on, what emails they open, what they put in their shopping carts and their purchase history, location or other demographic information, retailers can send Mail that Matters to…. Kevin.

 

Reprinted from Better Ways

Why Your Company Should Automate Direct Mail

If your company is involved in direct marketing, then you know that direct mail has not gone the way of the dinosaur. When a potential customer has an inbox full of emails, it is much more likely you will grab their attention with direct mail.  Direct mail campaigns can be time-consuming, taking hours to stuff envelopes. The whole process of sending direct mail manually can be problematic and at times chaotic. What can you do to avoid the pitfalls of manually sending direct mail? The answer is simple, migrate to automated direct mail.  Here are some reasons why automation will work for your company.

Software Remembers to Notify Customers.

When you have an upcoming event or announcement the software’s application programming interface (or API) will communicate with your customer’s server. The customer can also send requests to you with customized information. The ease of having customized content stored will allow your software to create and send unique mailing pieces.

It Gives Your Customers More Control.

As previously stated, the latest automation software interfaces with your customer’s server, which in turn gives them more control. They can track mailings and have mailings that are triggered by specific events.

It Gives Your Company More Control.

t used to be that a marketing company would have to email a spreadsheet to a printing company and hope for the best that everything would come out the way it should. Now with API’s the process has changed; the mailing information is stored in a database that is connected with an automated system. You can oversee your direct mail campaign from a single location.  This means no more cutting and pasting between systems. Integration will act as a cybersphere where all your tools communicate.

Elimination of Human Error.

The larger the mailing, the greater chance someone along the line will make a mistake. It is almost inevitable the more people who are involved with a direct mailing, the greater the chance of something going wrong.  With automation you remove multiple employees and vendors from the direct mail process. This eliminates reprints or a second mailing to correct the first.

Improved Analytics.

The larger the mailing, the greater chance someone along the line will make a mistake. It is almost inevitable the more people who are involved with a direct mailing, the higher the chance of something going wrong.  With automation, you remove multiple employees and vendors from the direct mail process. This eliminates reprints or a second mailing to correct the first.

More Productivity.

With your direct mailings being automated there will be more time for your company’s employees to focus on other tasks.  No more time sifting through their inboxes searching for emails from a vendor. Less time will be spent on the phone with a vendor ensuring everything goes exactly as it should. What used to take multiple employees to accomplish, takes minimal employee effort after automation.

The bottom line is that automating your mail system will increase both productivity and results. There are far more reasons to automate than not to automate. The thing to consider is if building an in-house automated direct mail system is going to yield return on investment. The initial costs of a direct mail API can be expensive, and without enough return on investment, it may be wrong for your company.  Be sure to thoroughly research the partner you choose in building your automated direct mail system. The right company should be able to give you the costs and time frame up front. Make sure to request the contact information from their former customers as a reference.

As API technology advances, it will continue to make automation of direct mailings the clear choice for companies who have a high volume of mailing campaigns. In the future, the software may be able to anticipate needs from recurring events and make suggestions. So, it remains up to you, would your marketing company benefit from automated direct mailings?

BMS Direct Reduces Carbon Footprint with addition of Tesla Model 3 EV

“310 Miles – Longest Range on the market.” – Tesla Model 3

LYNCHBURG, VA – August 24, 2018 – BMS Direct (BMS) continues to take steps to minimize its environmental impact while reducing their carbon footprint with purchase of an electric vehicle. BMS’s new 100% electric Tesla Model 3 replaced a Honda Civic, and has a range of up to 310 miles at full charge. This vehicle will decrease BMS’s fleet emissions and is estimated to reduce BMS’s fleet fuel costs by $500 to $1,000 per year. “We are pleased to add our first EV to our fleet. Taking initiative means doing something without waiting to be told; rather we are taking action because it’s the right thing to do, thus providing a model for others to follow.” said James LaPrade, President of BMS Direct, Inc.

BMS promotes environmental conservation amongst employees, vendors, suppliers, and clients. They believe taking simple actions to reduce their own carbon footprint will have the power to influence many more businesses, customers, and people. The U.S. Energy Information Administration projects that sales of electric vehicles and plug-in hybrid vehicles (that have both a battery and a combustion engine) will account for 9% of total light-duty vehicle sales by 2025. The predicted increase in electric vehicles brings both opportunities and challenges for companies like BMS.

Photographs of the property and chargers are available upon request.

Media Contact: Doreen Flint
Phone: (434) 455-7734
Email: Doreen.flint@bmsdirectinc.com

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