WHY you need a database for your business
Keep all your Contact details in one place
- You have a record of everything you have done with the customer from the original introduction – emails meetings notes - attachments
- You can see all the actions/reviews that are due you with a client
- Why not initiate all communication from the database or record it anyway
- Covering phone, text (SMS), emails, letters & meetings
- How do you create that and why
- Do they have a family, children, Spouse, pets ...
- Events – holidays, birthdays, happenings expos/shows ...
- Materials received/sent – gifts, promotions...
- Result – customer impressed that you have taken care to remember them and theirs 6 mths
Import/Export – data transfer
- Import lists
- Export to email marketing systems like Mail Chimp
Business cards– some people say they are old hat – don’t you believe it in networking, recipe they are the vital link to the people you have been talking to at a network meeting or an expo.
Well you are able to write valuable information on the card about your contact including what you are doing for them and what they are doing for you for example – sending them a link or information or calling them or inviting them to an event
This is the start of your communication or dialogue with them and vital information to be added to your CRM system.
White space then is very important on the card and is vital. Dark cards in black, medicine purple and blue or shiny ones are no good for writing on so no good in a networking environment – but they could be used to send out in a mail-out.
Now of course the white ones are even more important so that you can scan into your phone and transfer info to your database. Now we are beginning to get QR codes on cards – with a reader on the phone you can store someone’s details in seconds.
Besides the value of the card for supplying info on your target/prospect/contact – it is also invaluable to get the marketing message across.
What is one of the most fundamental and important assets needed for a successful business? Your contact list.
It is crucial, click simply because it is the basic foundation of your business. It should provide all contact and historical information for existing customers and hold as much information as possible for your potential new customers. It’s also a foundation for building your business plans and budgets and for future regeneration ie upgrades and renewals.
No contacts.. plus no potential customers.. equals a failed business.
So no matter what goals you are pursuing, building a quality contact list is a vital element to achieving success.
Often people buy lists, which are usually inaccurate.
And remember ... It is quality - not quantity that counts.
So how do you go about getting contacts?
Here is my list for a building quality contacts.
- Network ....to collect names – going to 4 meetings a week morning evenings etc – it’s easy to collect about 30 good ones a week – remember to use the white space on the business cards to note their requirements and/or important information you pick up from them ... and make sure that info is put onto your database
- Referrals ....Ask your contacts, also ask on the 4N forum, Linked IN, twitter etc - if they know of someone - be specific ie trade/location etc - target people who know lots of people
- Videos - put a call to action at the end name contact etc
- Customer satisfaction forms ask for referrals
- Drive people to your website and create a sign up form
- Put the sign up link at the bottom of your email, Make sure after Sign ups – send a welcome email
- Use social media (Twitter/Facebook/Linked In/YouTube/Google+ .. 4Networking! Etc) to drive people to email, phone you or visit your web site
- People you know ... did you know that most people know at least 1000 people ... make your list of anyone you know or meet in your every day life ... including Friends, relations and neighbours etc – but be careful not to subsequently damage relationships
- Create profiles for you and your business on social media and create a marketing theme throughout i.e. consistency with logo, colours and strapline ... Avoids confusion and mixed messages
- Testimonials ..Be sure to get testimonials from existing customers as this will give people confidence to contact you- it’s that like- know-trust thing.
- Write blogs and articles – also answer other peoples to get your name out there
- Give talks and demonstrations
- Give people free tips with a call to action
- Create competitions or offers to generate contacts
- Get details from the internet – google business types in the areas you are looking for
- Pick up company details in your vicinity by visiting business parks, serviced offices etc
- Directories – this is one of the least satisfactory ways but it could be good for local or targeted sectors
- Of course you can use a tele-marketing company to help you build one but this doesn’t come cheap whereas all the above you can do yourself for free
check geneva;">Testimonial: Noun; 1. written statement testifying to a person’s merits, search abilities, qualifications etc. 2. given to show appreciation of services
This article looks into the power and value of gaining a ‘testimonial’: the reasons, benefits and results of giving, receiving and sharing them.
Everyone needs to feel comfortable and secure with the products/services being sourced and with the Companies we are thinking of dealing with. Careful research should always be taken in order to make good decisions. We particularly like personal recommendations and we like and need to identify with that person and/or organisation. We like to know that other people have bought and/or used a particular product/service and have been very happy with their decision. Knowing that the product/service you are looking for has been tried, tested and enjoyed effectively by other like minded people/organisations is a vital key to the ultimate success and satisfaction of both parties.
Therefore if you are looking to attract many more satisfied customers to your business then one of the most valuable resources you can use is publishing your Testimonials. Ask your previous customers to provide you with their Testimonial – a simple, clear message of two to three lines is sufficient but aim to obtain more detailed ones with power and persuasion, Case Studies that tell the story of fears, problems, benefits, results, attributes and satisfaction levels etc. If your customers are genuinely pleased with your product/service they will be more than happy to do this for you - especially as you will point out that it is also a great form of free advertising and publicity for them! Make sure to add the customer’s full details as authentication and a brief synopsis of their business if you have made theirs a Case Study.
Asking for as many Testimonials as possible is also your Market Research as you will soon gauge if your customers are really satisfied and happy with you, your product and service. And if not? Then you will know that you have work to do to improve and develop your strategies for making better business decisions within your organisation!
So, to sum up ... Putting your well earned Testimonials prominently on your website and within your marketing material gives potential customers the confidence to seriously consider your product/service - and for your existing happy customers... some extra publicity.
A win - win situation!
I have been promted to write this blog because I have noticed how many people are complaining about buying a contact list and paying hundreds of £’s for it and being frustrated by poor response, with many of the contacts having moved on or they have drawn a blank. On top of that, most don’t have email addresses so you will then need to phone them all for an email address – that can be tricky as getting past gate-keepers (like PA’s) is another blog. So often a tele-marketer is employed at more expense..
Another solution is to equip yourself with a Contact Management or CRM database software solution, like ContactMaker and then, why not set about building your own list. This blog contains some tips on how to do this effectively
For cost purposes, in these tips, we have concentrated on building your own list in house. This will be slower, but you will achieve much better results over the long term. Alternatively you could use a tele-marketer to help
Here are a few ideas on how to go about your own database then:
- Have a sign up form on your website and keep it very simple; we are not thinking here about an enquiry form. Keep it soft and friendly, and definitely not a hard sell.
- Why not put a ‘sign up’ link on every email that goes out from your business? Simply put the link into the signature block which is automatically added at the bottom of your emails.
- Network to collect names and contacts. However, whenever you collect data make it clear that you will be using it to keep in touch by email. You need people to opt in.
- Rather than collect blanket cards and email the lot, pick ones that are likely to be useful, or if you get a list telephone the likely ones and get their buy in.
- If someone says ”don’t add me to the list” don’t see it as a problem. You will not generate business by sending a message to someone who does not want it.
- If you have a team, then spread the word amongst them, that collecting email contact details is important to the business. Show them how the data is used. If they see the importance of collecting data they will remember to do it.
- Whenever you add someone to your contact list (or they join by signing up) send a welcome email right away. Welcome emails are very important as you can:
- Suggest that the contacts tell you a little about themselves and provide a link to a web form. This information will help you to send targeted emails.
- If there has been a mistake, then the contact can unsubscribe.
There are very good data bases like ContactMaker from CMB which will help you build an effective contact group. If you don't want to do yourself then let a tele-marketer help you. CMB again can help. Then an excellent email management tool for MakingContact using something like Sentori will boost your chances significantly of getting the right result. If you don’t have time then you could outsource the email service for even more effective results – CMB can do this for you with our team of professional marketers – but thats another blog. I would like to say thanks to Philip Bryan (Sentori) and Paul Sampson (Ignition4business) for helping me with this blog.