Remember those little stickers that would often appear in direct mail — the ones you had to peel off and stick on the reply card as part of sending it in?

For example, the direct mail might offer a free gift for fast response, and you had to peel off the “Free Gift” sticker, and put it in a specific spot on the reply form before sending it in.  Only then, they told you, could you get the free gift the direct mail piece promised.

(I say this all in past tense, but I bet at least one of my readers is getting one of these in their mailbox today.)

Why would a direct mailer do this?  After all, you know those stickers are at least marginally more expensive than just paper and ink.  And marginal isn’t much when you’re mailing a few hundred, but the major mailers that use these are often mailing 100,000 to 1 million or more pieces.  A few pennies times a million in a significant difference in cost.

Why use those stickers?

In short — they work!

They fall into a category of techniques and tactics called “involvement devices.”

While not every mailer that uses them has tested them in that particular use, the general findings across those who have find that they work.  They boost response to a direct mail piece.  Even the simple act of asking the recipient to respond by either placing a “Yes” or a “No” sticker on the reply card and sending it back in has proven itself a way to get more “Yes” responses and sales.

And while it’s important to understand the specific tactics behind them for any particular application, I want to step back and look at involvement devices as a strategy, and boosting prospect and customer engagement as a principle.

Because yesterday afternoon I was working on a very different and very important type of involvement device around my upcoming book.  And I’ll share the really ROUGH draft with you here, as well as the thinking behind it…

First…

The rise of the scorecard…

One of the first times I saw this done in a really interesting, compelling way was Perry Marshall’s “Is Facebook Advertising for Me?” quiz at www.isFBforme.com.

It’s a series of 10 simple questions you answer, regarding your business, your market, and your customer base.

The idea is that it’s a helpful guide to decide how likely it is that your business would be a good fit for Facebook advertising.

Now that quiz came online in 2011.  When AdWords was still the uncontested king of pay per click, and Facebook advertising was still a small niche in its infancy.  It seems less relevant as a scorecard today, because the answer is pretty much just “Yes,” but it still serves as a great example.

You see, Perry tied this quiz to the launch of his book on Facebook advertising (linked on the page).

The idea was that if you’d already bought the book, it would help you understand how big of a part of your online advertising strategy Facebook could play.  And if you hadn’t bought the book and were still just considering Facebook, it was a useful tool to really understand the match between your business/market and Facebook as an advertising platform.

And if you fell into that latter camp, there were multiple opportunities to get exposed to Perry’s incredibly valuable book on the topic, to help you get started if it made sense for you.

Plus, once you submitted your quiz and got your score, you’d have the opportunity to download a free personalized report as well as get free content on how to effectively drive qualified traffic to your business website through Facebook.

I know this is one of many ways that Perry currently drives prospects to his Facebook work, including the book and his paid membership program.

And it’s using the exact same principles as the stickers in classic direct mail.  It’s an involvement device that gets engagement by getting your prospect to DO SOMETHING to be an active participant in your marketing, rather than just passively consuming the message.

Scorecards, scorecards everywhere…

I know Perry didn’t invent the scorecard.  I’m certain of that.  There were people using similar involvement devices long before Perry was even in marketing.

But I’ve continued to see them more and more often.

Dan Sullivan at Strategic Coach is now making scorecards for almost everything he does.  He follows a simple formula for how they’re structured, with answers given on a scale from 1 to 10, and those added up to generate a final score.

I know others in that fray, including in Joe Polish’s Genius Network, are also using similar scorecards.

Dean Jackson, too — who has also turned around to teach them.

And they’re even showing up in books.

I mentioned before that one of the two main “operating systems” I’m using in my business and personal productivity is Traction by Gino Wickman.  It’s a planning and organizational system designed to help you focus on all the important things and only the important things required to systematize and scale your business.  It’s a very practical, down-in-the-mud guide for implementing systems throughout your business.

And one of the things that practical, down-in-the-mud systems usually contain are methods for measuring and tracking performance.

In that regard, Wickman created a scorecard for Traction implementation.  It’s in the book, and available online.

I don’t think Wickman does nearly as good of a job as Perry Marshall at using this as a marketing tool, but it still serves that purpose if you maybe have just bought the book, and have not yet been turned on to all the additional services Wickman’s company offers.

Either way, it increases your engagement with the content and gives you a way to measure — and presumably stay engaged as you work to improve — your performance on its core measures.

I’d also be remiss if I didn’t mention Ryan Levesque’s Ask Method, and the Quiz Funnels he teaches.

Ryan’s approach is a little different.  He tends to go for a bit simpler quizzes, designed to direct prospects into the best-fitting category or “bucket,” based on intelligence he gathered earlier in his Ask Method implementation.  But the principle is the same.  And for mass markets, Ryan’s method may work even better — in some markets, I understand he’s using these quiz funnels to drive tens of thousands of new email registrations daily.

Whether you’re going simple just to direct people into a specific category of lead, or more complex to create a useful tool your prospects and customers can use to measure need or implementation, the principle is the same…

Give them something to engage with, and they’ll be more interested in your offer!

Even better, this type of involvement device satisfies another need.

Scorecards and quizzes that promise to tell you something about yourself satisfy our inner need to understand ourselves and feel understood.  For the same reason things like the Meyers-Briggs Type Indicator (mine is INTJ), Kolbe (mine is 6383), and other personality tests work to attract attention, giving someone a scorecard to measure themselves gives them another potentially useful data point about themselves.

Plus, the results are eminently sharable (at least when done right), which means your marketing has the potential to go viral.

How I plan to use this principle…

In order for me to share this, I guess I have to reveal that my upcoming book is called Most Valuable Customer.  It’s about how to maximize your customer lifetime value by giving them exactly what they need, want, and expect at every point throughout the customer journey.

It’s a total approach to optimizing your business results, based not just on one little conversion, but on breaking down the entire length of a customer’s relationship with you and doing a little bit (or a lot) better in a lot of areas.

If you want a strategic process for increasing business sales and profits — not by 20% or 30% jumps, but by 50%, 100%, even 1,000% — that’s what the Most Valuable Customer strategy is designed to help you do.

Yesterday, I did a quick draft of a scorecard that will be included in the book, and I’m looking into turning it into an online tool as well — both for prospects, and for readers of the book to periodically measure their progress.

This is a really rough draft, and I reserve the right to edit dramatically, including changing the number of questions and the entire scoring system, but…  It could also be published as-is, and I’d be happy with it.

And if YOU take this today and go to work improving your score on every question — especially those where you score less than 6 or 7 — you have the potential to create significant and rapid growth in your business.

So, here’s the draft version of the Most Valuable Customer Scorecard…

Answer all questions on a scale of 1 to 10

Questions

Step 1: How well do you know who your target market is, how they think, what pressing problem you can help them solve, and how to connect with them in a cost-effective and scalable way?

Step 2: How effectively do you connect with your market based on their current level of awareness and speak to their self-interest, promising benefit, value, and curiosity out of the gate?

Step 3: How strong of a first impression do you make that gives your Perfect Prospect the feeling of, “This is exactly what I’ve been looking for!”?

Step 4: How consistent are you in getting interested prospects to raise their hand and express interest in hearing more from you?

Step 5: How strong are your education-based marketing efforts to move your leads from whatever level of awareness they’re at to the buying decision?

Step 6: How effective are your acquisition offers to get customers to spend their first $1 with your business?

Step 7: How good is your business at making sure you overdeliver on your promises and customer expectations and deliver a memorable customer experience?

Step 8: How much effort do you put into honoring, continue to deliver value to, and supporting your past customers well beyond the initial purchase and consumption period?

Step 9: How consistent and effective are you in solving your best customers’ next problems with future offers, packages, and greater opportunities to receive value?

Step 10: How effective are your current continuity, membership, or subscription programs at both delivering maximum value and maximizing your revenues?

Step 11: How actively are you cultivating referrals, building brand advocates, and creating True Fans for your business, and helping them connect you with others like them?

Scoring

Nobody is a zero who is actually putting the Most Valuable Customer strategy to work!  (Minimum score: 11)

11 to 33: You know you need help…  In other words, there’s so much opportunity!

34 to 66: There’s a lot of room to grow…  The Most Valuable Customer Strategy could be a huge breakthrough!

67 to 99: You’re doing great…  And you know even little tweaks will help you do even better!

100 to 110: You’re already an A-player…  The Most Valuable Customer Strategy is like your spring training to stay your best!

What do you think?

As a marketer or business builder, do you see how the specific content of that scorecard is valuable to you, and probably points you to a handful of opportunities for big improvement?

And stepping back, from a marketing perspective, do you see how this is a perfect engagement tool to get the ideal readers for the book more interested in how it can help improve in each area?

Tie that to a mechanism for response, and suddenly you have a pretty good way to drive leads and sales of the book.

The next question then becomes: how can YOU create a scorecard to drive more engagement, leads, sales, and profits to your business?

Yours for bigger breakthroughs,

Roy Furr

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