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The Connexions Card team employs Business Development Managers to set up appointments with learning centres interested in offering the Card. The telephone is the preferred means of doing this. Using the telephone, people get to know each other, and can instantly set up meetings.
Once the Card scheme is set up, an Account Manager manages the relationship. Learning centres receive updates and raise queries. The telephone is a quick and cost effective communication tool.
Sometimes business relationships need more than telephone interaction. People need to meet face-to-face to gain better understanding. The Connexions Card offers many benefits to young people and learning centres, and meetings help learning centres to understand these.
Written literature plays a big role. This has to be tailored to different audiences. The Connexions Card team has conducted primary research to help it create better literature about the Card. This is known to have enhanced the effectiveness of these tools.
New cardholders receive a welcome pack. This is written in language that is more likely to appeal to the target group. The look and feel of the pack is attractive. The benefits and potential gains are made clear. For the target group, the welcome pack must act as a motivator as well as an explanation.
The learning centres need a different set of messages in their promotional literature. How to encourage take-up of the Card, the process involved, contacts and when to promote it will be key information. The Connexions Card team knows that it is often through enthusiastic staff that the Card will have an impact.
Poster campaigns are used to reach everyone in learning centres. Posters obviously need to draw attention to the exciting benefits of the Card. These remind existing cardholders of the discounts and rewards available to them and potential new cardholders are persuaded to enquire. The image of the Card needs to be positive and vibrant. Posters have to be imaginatively designed.
Email has overtaken the necessity for a paper-based letter in many cases. Today Connexions Card writes to cardholders only for administrationpurposes. Letters however have the benefit of being formal, reasonably cost effective and direct. A letter can have an impact but this is very hard to measure.
Not all Connexions cardholders have an email address. Some people have limited Internet access. The Connexions Card team on occasion will directly mail specific rewards information to cardholders. This is done only to those who have given them permission to do so. Connexions Card does not mount direct mail campaigns to a mass audience in order to encourage young people to apply for a Connexions Card. Mounting such a campaign involves using mailing lists. In such a diverse target group, mailing lists are hard to create or source.
The Connexions Card team can make use of public relations. This is done by issuing media releases. This is a good, low cost tool. The results of these can be measured in column inches. Comparisons with the costs of newspaper advertising space show that free PR coverage is very good value. The number of publications reporting on Connexions Card stories can easily be measured.
The Connexions Card initiative is rich in good images about young people. Newspapers and mass media coverage of the age group tends to be negative. The Connexions Card team seek to promote achievement. Many young people show initiative, enterpriseand selfless care for others. In promoting these good things through Club Together and experience based rewards, the Connexions Card promotes itself. Business reward partners and discount partners also become associated with these fresh, uplifting aspects of young peoples' lives.
Email is now a very effective - and efficient - means of reaching cardholders. In an instant, millions of people can be contacted. Using e-newsletters and reward alerts cardholders are kept informed as the Connexions Card offers new rewards and discounts. New reward partners are joining the scheme all the time. The Card is a dynamic product. As it evolves, email is the ideal information vehicle. To make good use of the Card, and gain the most from it, cardholders must know what it is worth and what it can offer them.
For all stakeholders the use of email must be carefully managed. Excessive use of email could mean loss of credibility. Connexions Card is aware that unsolicited promotional emailing goes straight into the 'junk' category. Worse, SPAM is a curse to all email users. The solution is to use 'opt-in-mailing'. In this, Connexions Card seeks permission to email. If a potential recipient does not want emails, it does not get them. Research has shown that permission mailing is effective in giving positive messages about a business.
Internet traffic is growing all the time. Promotional messages about the Connexions Card and the administrative detail can be delivered via the web.
Rewards are an important motivator. Cardholders can gain points for learning achievements, good attendance or reaching personal goals. The Connexions Card website at www.connexionscard.com allows cardholders to check their points total and use their points to claim rewards. All the latest rewards and discounts available can be instantly uploaded and promoted on the site. The Connexions Card team have direct control of the site maintenance.
Using the web allows the Connexions Card team to measure the effectiveness of the site. The success of the Connexions Card depends on young people valuing the rewards available. The more people know about the rewards, the greater numbers will go for them.
Web graphics is the study of website visitors and trends. Connexions Card measures its site to find out which sections work best. This is regularly checked and statistics extracted. By monitoring the site's statistics, pages viewed, click-through patterns, rewards claimed etc, it can be continually improved.