January 6, 2011

Importance of database marketing

Are you with one of the seven out of 10 businesses missing out on the most cost effective, easiest way to generate sales?

In over 20 years in marketing and sales it never ceases to amaze me how many businesses are sitting on a gold mine of information about their clients but don’t use this information to acquire leads, sales or referrals. Nearly every business I speak to has at least some info on their clients sitting in some sort of repository, yet this is not used, or perceived as “too hard” to do anything about.

Those that do have so called databases have minimal information that has no value in terms of being able to target clients, let alone when they are ready to make a buying decision.

Unfortunately, database marketing is often perceived as compiling a list of contact names and addresses in order to send clients annoying monthly emails or newsletters, often with boring tell, tell, tell messages or me, me, me business information.

Having a database is pointless unless you use it wisely.The key to effective database marketing is to categorise your database by suspects, prospects and clients, communicate and interact with your clients in a personal manner, create top of mind awareness so that when they are ready to make a buying decision it is YOUR company they think of first.

It’s not about sending spam. It’s about having the RIGHT knowledge about your clients, communicating with the RIGHT message, at the RIGHT time when they are ready to make a decision, and with the RIGHT solution that will satisfy a need that is important at that moment in time.

It’s not about volume, but about relevance.You don’t need to record huge amounts of data, employ lots of IT people to maintain it or purchase high end software. You can do it yourself with some careful thought and planning, start small and build your database slowly through tools you may already have on your computer. In fact, my advice is that you DO start small, improve your knowledge over time, and DON’T purchase expensive software tools if you haven’t yet got to grips with who you are targetting and the profile of your client’s buying behaviour.

There is more business and referrals waiting for you from the people who are your customers. You can reach them and bring them back through advertising and publicity, or you can maintain a database and bring them back personally.

Grow your database in incremental steps. Maintain your database as an ongoing effort and see it as an evolutionary process. Is the information you collect now all you require, or do you believe that you can tweak and add?

You can often build you database with current resources. There are many database strategies you can implement, together with affordable business tools to improve client interaction, generate referrals and improve lead generation. Don’t be taken in by smooth sales pitches to purchase sophisticated software. Very often your current Microsoft Excel, Outlook and CRM tools are ample to start the process until such time as you are ready to grow your database into a more sophisticated client diagnostic tool.

Never let a viable prospect go. You spent time and money through networking, good customer service, advertising and website development to get prospective customers to your door. Don’t waste that money and time. Establish a communication stream to keep in contact until they are ready to make a buying decision or referral.

Targetting improves success. Send offers to a correctly targeted subsection of your database rather than to the whole list. Less . . . is MORE. You might sacrifice a few potential sales, but you’ll benefit by the fact you improve the longevity of your database.

The individuals on your database will only accept so much being marketed to. Overkill means they unsubscribe – literally or emotionally – by deleting or throwing out communications. People are wary of signing up because of email overload and past experience with irrelevant communications.

If you have stories of your own on how you have used database marketing to improve sales effectiveness please let us know!

Database Marketing, General
About Janice

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