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Our inboxes, phones and social media accounts are flooded with marketing messages – we’re bombarded with advertising, pop ups, brochures, letters, phone calls and so much other content on a daily basis.

The result; we switch off. Despite seeing more messages, the amount of information we actually digest is reducing – as we become more attuned to filtering out irrelevant messages. There’s simply too much promotional “stuff” being thrown at us. To make matters worse, businesses are trying to “disguise” these promotional messages to increase email open rates, which is further creating indifference to their messages.

The average open rate for promotional emails across industries is 17% . Unfortunately, this doesn’t provide a clear picture of how successfully your content has been received – as Mostly, this figure is unreliable as all it tells you is that you have engineered an enticing ‘headline’. It does not tell you how many of those 17% actually read and digested the promotional content.

Re-wording, re-designing or re-sending these emails at different times of the day, may yield a slight improvement in open rates, but isn’t likely to have a significant impact in terms of content digestion.

One communications medium that is almost always read, but is often overlooked by marketers, is the humble invoice. In many cases, your bill to customers is the one piece of communication that they are guaranteed to read.

By incorporating tailored marketing messages based on customer type, product, usage rate and/or the stage they are at in the customer lifecycle, you’ll be able to significantly improve the cut through of your communications.


This can be in the form of graphical images, text or links to other information, depending on the capabilities of your billing platform. Messages can be incorporated into the invoice itself, on the HTML email delivers the invoice, or within the customer portal where the customer can view and pay their bill online. If you offer printed invoices, you could also consider including inserts and/or messaging on the envelope.

Some examples of effective individualised marketing messaging:

  • Target customers with cross or up-sell offers based on demographics or usage data

  • Monitor decreased usage rates and target customers at risk of churn or cancellation with an offer to incentivise increased usage

  • Promote the launch of a new product or service to appropriate customer segments

  • Target direct debit customers with approaching credit card expiry dates to update their details for uninterrupted service

  • Target high usage and loyal customers with an offer based on a successful referral.

On-bill advertising is an inexpensive and highly effective promotional tool, that can be utilised to not only increase revenue, but also reduce churn, decrease customer care costs and improve engagement.

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