We have always taken the view that:
You are an EXPERT in your field… ….Make sure your customers and prospects know it…and remember it!
The majority of our clients recognised the issue, they simply didn’t keep in touch with the people they know, allowing potential future business to slip through the net. Yet all too often they felt there was a major stumbling block:
We don’t have a target list!
Actually, when we discussed the problem with them, we inevitably found a solution. Nevertheless, there is no question that having a significant, qualified database of customers and prospects – people for whom your products/services can deliver real benefit – is immensely valuable as a tool for your strategic marketing. It is never too soon to start building your own database, and it is amazing how, with a little focus, you can build a substantial list quickly and with only modest effort. Here are 6 tips to get you going:
1. Quality is more important than quantity
Many people give up before they start because they believe that any worthwhile list must contain 1000s of records. This is not true. We have examples of clients using well qualified lists of less than 100 contacts to get useful results. Sure, we would ideally suggest that 500 contacts is a fair starting point but actually, quality is more important than quantity. Keeping in touch with 50-100 contacts you have worked with before can produce more opportunities than a list of 1000 poorly qualified contacts you don’t really know.
2. Keep it simple
If you already use Outlook to manage your emails and contacts, use it to build your database. You can flag contacts into categories so you know who is who. It is possible to use build in tools to export your data when required but check out http://www.codetwo.com/freeware/outlook-export/. This is a free Outlook plug-in that makes exporting your contacts a doddle. If you don’t use Outlook (or something similar), simply create an Excel spreadsheet. If all you do is record name and email address, this is enough. For something a bit more, check out this template:
Marketing Database Template (Excel Spreadsheet)
There is no doubt that more info does give you more options for targeting or segmenting your list – but a simple list that you use is better than a complex list you don’t!
3. Know your target market
Referring to 1. above, you should be aiming for a quality list. To do this you need to know what sort of contacts you are looking to add to your list. Be clear in your own mind who can really benefit from what you do. Don’t forget to think laterally. You may have synergy with another businesses where you are both interested in the same target sector, or a contact you have may not be a potential client but may be a great source of referrals.
4. Be disciplined – Log everyone
Get into the habit of adding every (relevant) contact you make. Don’t just leave that business card in your pocket, add them to your database. Once you have done this, you can even dispose of the card – job well done.
5. Set goals
Don’t expect your list to build itself. If you regularly attend networking meetings or other business events, make a point of talking to at least 2 or 3 new people each time. If you only ever see the same people, maybe you should think about trying some other events. If you attend a network meeting once a week, 3 new contacts each time could mean over 150 new contacts a year. Maybe not a huge number in itself but a great platform to build a sustained process of marketing communication for your bsuiness – and a great deal more than most people do! Social media – including industry forums – can be a great way of building a target audience more quickly. It won’t have the impact of people you have met and spoken to but you can find groups of people with a common interest which can fit with what you offer.
6. Use your contact database
Your database will mean nothing if you don’t use it. It will just go out of date. Have a plan to keep in touch with people and stick to it. Email newsletters can work really well for this. Give me a call if you want to know more