Invoicing is an important administrative task for any kind of business. These financial documents serve as a legal record of goods and services provided, and they enable businesses to get paid. However, over the years, invoices have changed somewhat as they’ve gone digital.
Now, online invoicing has changed the way businesses do business. And the opportunity to transform these documents into something that fills more than just their initial purpose is huge.
Let’s take a look at how you can use online invoices to boost your business.
The benefits of online invoices
The advent of online invoicing comes with several benefits:
- Saving on printing costs
- Reducing storage and mailing costs
- Improved accessibility and convenience
- Greater efficiency and less likelihood of delays
- Environmental sustainability
However, there’s also one major benefit that many businesses overlook.
Integrating digital marketing strategies into your online invoicing process can significantly drive customer engagement. Plus, it can help you to market products and services and foster the growth of your business.
The best part? It’s free. You don’t need to dedicate any of your digital marketing budget towards it unless you want to. You already have a document you must send to your customers, you may as well take advantage of all the opportunities it offers for marketing your brand.
It’s abundantly clear that the humble invoice has become so much more than just a legal document requesting payment. It’s a powerful marketing tool that your business already has in its arsenal. It just needs to know how to use it.
Here are some ways you can use digital marketing strategies to optimize your online invoices.
Invoices are important record-keeping documents and should not be overloaded with too many additional elements. However, providing product or service recommendations can add value for your customers. This is especially true if these recommendations are made with consideration to your customer’s previous purchasing history and any personal data and preferences you have stored in your database. You can include trending products and services, and products that are typically bought together with their previous purchase.
You should try to offer discount codes for these products where possible. Customers may have negative associations with invoices, as it requires them to hand over money. Providing them with a discount code means you’re offering them something of value, which they can look forward to. It also incentivizes them to make new or repeat purchases through your company.
You can include recommendations or new offers within a specific section of the invoice. In this case, the section should be at the bottom, below all the most important administrative information. Alternatively, you can send product recommendations as a digital brochure or catalog that comes as a separate attachment in your invoice email.
Start a referral program
Leverage your current customer base to draw in an even greater audience. Encourage referrals within your invoices, and incentivize customers to participate by offering them discounts, coupons, or referral bonuses.
If they are happy with their product or service, an invoice is the perfect opportunity to prompt them to talk about it with others, as it will be fresh in their minds. Referral benefits will give them the push to show off their product or talk about your service to their friends.
Improve brand visibility
Online invoices provide an opportunity to improve brand visibility and drive further engagement with your company. They should be visually appealing, professionally designed, and true to your brand identity. The use of your brand logo, colors, and fonts should remain consistent and cohesive across all platforms and documents, including your invoices. This will ensure greater brand recognition. You want customers to immediately recognize an invoice from you and remember your corporate identity.
You can also drive customer engagement and reinforce brand identity by integrating call-to-action (CTA) buttons in your online invoices. These actions can include following your various social media accounts (e.g., Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and LinkedIn), subscribing to newsletters, providing referrals, completing surveys, and going directly to your site to look through offers.
Optimize for mobile
Online invoicing comes with convenience and accessibility, as customers can access these invoices anywhere, provided they have a device that connects to the internet. People increasingly rely on their mobile phones for day-to-day tasks. This includes reading and responding to invoices and making payments instantaneously through banking apps on their phones.
It’s therefore incredibly important to optimize online invoicing for mobile devices.
Your invoices should be clear to read and easy to navigate, with responsive design. If possible, you should include mobile payment options so that customers can make payments directly from their phones. This not only enhances the customer experience but also speeds up the likelihood of getting paid.
A customer that can quickly complete payment on the same device, with minimal hassle is always going to settle faster than one that can only use a computer or go through a laborious payment process.
Another way to get customers engaged is by prompting them to leave reviews. In Canada alone, 97% of customers read online reviews before purchasing a product or service. It makes sense then that reviews are integral to drawing in new customers who may be reluctant to try out a new company.
Any easy way to encourage reviews is to incorporate links or QR codes on your invoices. These codes or links lead customers to your website, social media page, or third-party review platform. Amassing a lot of good reviews will strengthen your brand’s reputation and credibility.
You can also include links to positive reviews or short snippets in your invoices. This reaffirms to customers that you are a trustworthy, reputable brand. In turn, this will help to foster brand loyalty.
Outside of public reviews, seeking individual, private feedback can be helpful in improving the quality of your goods or services. Customers can be prompted to do this through a CTA button on your invoice.
Make sure to sincerely thank customers for taking the time to provide feedback. This will make them feel appreciated and engaged with your company. You can let them know if you have made any changes and incorporated their suggestions in the future; driving further engagement.
If their feedback praises your company and the product or service provided, you can request to make it public, and use their review as a testimonial.
Follow Up with Customers
Automated emails are a great way to follow up with customers after you’ve sent them an invoice. These can provide important details surrounding shipping and tracking information. You can also simply follow up with a personalized ‘Thank You’ message after confirming their order and securing payment.
Additionally, you can share valuable resources through follow-up emails, such as information on the product they have purchased, and how they may use it.
Email marketing is another useful option for reminding customers of upcoming payments, This ensures that they compensate your business in a timely manner. At the same time, it creates a paper trail, reinforcing the often-dreaded formalities in a pleasant and accepted way.
Your invoices are a smart way of building relationships that last. Including a personal note or using a printable invoice template that features a prominent thank-you message can help to create a bond between your business and the customer, whether it’s your first sale or your 100th.
Not only is saying thank you polite, but it’s also not as common as it should be. Expressing your gratitude for the opportunity to do business and for a customer choosing your brand creates a lasting impression. It makes customers feel appreciated, and it costs you nothing. However, the ROI in goodwill is potentially huge.
Utilize Invoice Data
The effectiveness and reach of digital marketing are measured through data and analytics. Digital marketing through online invoice processes is no exception, and an abundance of data is available.
Brands should analyze invoice data to find out how effective the above recommendations are. Evaluate open rates, click-through rates, and time spent on the invoice page. Considering this data will help businesses optimize their invoice processes with the best, tried-and-tested–targeted marketing strategies.
Another useful data point is customer payment patterns. Tracking their preferred payment methods can allow you to emphasize this option on the invoice, develop strategies to streamline the payment process, and encourage a more efficient payment cycle. Analyzing the frequency of their purchases and how much they spend on average can also help with targeted marketing.
Invoicing processes are about so much more than just getting paid. Leveraging your online invoices and transforming them into digital marketing tools can provide your business with so many benefits. Plus, as this is a document you’ll need to issue with every sale, you may as well make it count.
By integrating simple yet effective digital marketing strategies into your invoice you can add extra value to every sale. You’ll also establish your brand, forge connections with customers and encourage retention. There’s really no excuse not to enhance your invoicing processes this way.
Chris Mcdonald has been the lead news writer at complete connection. His passion for helping people in all aspects of online marketing flows through in the expert industry coverage he provides. Chris is also an author of tech blog Area19delegate. He likes spending his time with family, studying martial arts and plucking fat bass guitar strings.