FACT: Many organisations do not have a database of their customers or their prospects that they use on a regular basis for marketing in order to grow their organisation.
Every successful organisation has a database that it uses to create new customers, generate more business from existing customers and to build long-lasting relationships with their customers. Let me explain how…
Here are 5 reasons why you must build and use your database:
1. Generate more business from your existing customers
When was the last time you communicated with your customers? In fact, are you sure that they still are your customers, or could they be buying elsewhere? Wooed by offers made by your competitors?
Don’t just focus on generating new customers when you could be getting your existing customers to come back to you more often and spend more with you. After all, what is the point in recruiting new customers only to lose them just as quickly?
If you have a database of your customers together with information about what they bought, you can perform a gap analysis which means that you can work out which customers do not currently buy certain ranges of your products. With this information you can then design campaigns to present your products/services as solutions to these customers. Don’t forget that as they already trust you, you will be able to access them easily and more directly than prospects that you don’t have a relationship with.
What's more, you could be missing valuable business opportunities simply because your customers will often only consider your organisation for the services they know you provide. So make sure your customers are aware of your full product/service range as well as any new additions in the future.
2. Focus on communicating with your highly targeted prospects
Unlike advertising in a magazine or paper, communicating with a database of prospects allows you to track and measure the response rates down to customer/industry/geographical region level. You can also test different messages, offers and even tailor or personalise the message as you already know some information about the people you are communicating with.
Plus critically, you can also learn information that can ensure your future campaigns are increasingly successful. Quite simply, you can learn why the prospects did not respond by simply asking them.
Overall, the key to successful direct marketing is to send only timely and relevant offers. Communication is known as junk mail or spam because it is badly targeted, in other words the recipient doesn’t need or want the product or service you are offering. If the prospect finds the offer relevant and it arrives at the time when they are looking for a solution to a need they have, then your communication will not be considered as “junk”.
3. Build long-lasting relationships with your customers
Research shows that if you do not communicate with your customer every 3 months then they can no longer be guaranteed to be your customer. In other words, even if you have an ongoing contract with a customer or if they only need your services once a year; this is a long time for someone else to be communicating with your customer before they experience your services again.
A long lasting relationship is built on trust. Trust that you are the best solution, that you will meet and possibly even exceed the needs of the customer and that you provide good value for money. This trust is built over time through providing pro-active advice and becoming a trusted advisor rather than a re-active supplier relationship if it is always left for the customer to call you.
Your communication must be regular and it must add value through interesting articles, offers and news that is of direct benefit to your customers. Through adding value, your customer will not see the relationship as one sided or, as is commonly observed, that you only contact them when you want to sell them something.
4. Adding value through working with a strategic partner
As the old adage goes “If you don’t have anything good to say, then say nothing at all”. Don’t waste your customer’s time sending them space filling and self promoting news that is of no use to them. Firstly, they will not respect you for it and secondly, they will not trust the value of reading your letter/email next time it arrives.
If you do not have anything to tell your customer that will be of benefit to them, consider adding value to your relationship with an offer from a partner company who has a similar profile of customers and wants to provide a beneficial offer to your customers.
If the offer is good, you will benefit by adding value to your relationship with the customer, plus your strategic partner will benefit from extra sales. Of course you can always mail to their database too.
5. Gain a better understanding of your customers needs
Often organisations feel the need to communicate with their customers and prospects as a one way street, but good communication should be two ways. Let me explain…
Through writing an article of interest, you could, as seen in newspapers and on-line discussion forums, generate discussion points for your customers to air their views and concerns on certain matters. Not only are you learning much about your customers views, but also their concerns, frustrations, issues, problems and future requirements, all of which should be added to your information pool for the strategic development of your future product and services.
Nicola Bury from Haybury Marketing is a specialist in helping small and medium sized organisations to market themselves. Haybury Marketing are offering a free one hour meeting with one of their specialists so you can discover some of the answers on how to extend the marketing of your business without spending a fortune. To book your free, no obligation meeting, visit their new website at www.hayburymarketing.com, call 028 9048 8948 or email