Why invoices make an effective marketing tool

Posted on: by Ellie Allseybrook

Invoices can be an effective place for communicating with your customers and sometimes are the only regular communication a customer receives.  But surprisingly invoices and bills are still often overlooked when delivering integrated marketing campaigns.

If you think about it, invoices are one of the few types of mail that are promptly opened and read – you have the immediate attention of your target audience and therefore an opportunity not to be missed.  In addition, the bill is something that the customer is already receiving from you; it is not overly invasive and allows you to piggy-back an existing communication, avoiding additional marketing costs.

What could I use my bills to communicate?

Bills can be used for a number of brief messages, as always it is important that these vary and are not repeated so often that they fade into the background.  Some ideas may include:

  • New product announcements
  • Upselling services
  • Asking for customer feedback
  • Sharing a testimonial
  • Offering a free whitepaper
  • Acknowledging customer loyalty

Realistically it is not what you put into the bill that is important as much as making the most of the touch point and reconnecting with your customer.

Build loyalty and recommendations

Targeting a B2B client base means that word-of-mouth and referrals are essential, especially for small businesses.  Whilst invoices can be used to give updates on products and services, they can also nurture relationships by reminding your customers to use you for upcoming projects or discreetly asking for referrals.  These little details may just give you the edge over a competitor.

Putting a simple thank you or other sincere note of appreciation onto an invoice can also pave the way for future sales.  Instead of the perception that a bill is a penalty for doing business with you, it could be more of an advantage.

Stay true to your brand

Invoice marketing should also help to reinforce your brand values.  Any message should complement not contradict your brand.  For example, a business that prides itself on its excellent customer service and personal approach would send the wrong tone with a cold and bureaucratic message.  Also coming across as pushy with the hard-sell won’t work if your other marketing efforts are warm and low-key.

The purpose of the invoice is to get paid for the work you are doing, at the same time why not remind the customer why they hired you in the first place.

How to do it

Messages should be short, direct and few in number – just one is ideal and variety is key.  If the message changes all the time, once your customer sees you are using that space for marketing, they are more likely to look at it. 

The message works best when featured upfront on the invoice, so the reader sees it right away before they get involved in the financial transaction of paying the bill.  Since the bill is primarily text, using graphics is an additional way to draw the eye.

Marketing messages also work well on bills sent electronically.  Not only can they be paid immediately but a link can also be embedded taking the customer to a landing page with the full marketing message.  Responses can then be tracked to see what messages are the most appealing.

How can Inform Billing help?

Through Inform Billing’s Eclipse billing platform, you have the ability to add graphic headers to your bills – this could contain both your company details and a key marketing message.  In addition approximately 180 words of custom text can be added to the front page of the bill.  These messages can be sent on an individual customer, group or to all basis.

A PDF flyer can be added to email bills, the body of the email can be changed and customers using the Enlighten web portal can also add a custom block of text to the homepage for communicating marketing messages.

To take advantage of these opportunities, please contact our support team on 01332 92 70 70 or email support@informbilling.co.uk

Posted on: by Ellie Allseybrook