Panning for Gold in Your Database

JBMG_5500aBy Jeff Bowman

A common question that we ask business owners and those in the not for profit world is “how do you utilize your database?” The answers range from “we use it for our newsletters and contacts regularly” to “database?”

The collection of customer information has become a hot topic with new privacy laws and spam legislation. Many customers have no reservations about providing an e-mail address for instance, while others would sooner poke themselves with sharp sticks than give that information.  And I can’t blame them, I attended a “trade show” a month ago, and I am still getting calls about winning all sorts of prizes and unsolicited e-mail galore! It is critical for any organization to maintain current contact information for primary and secondary contacts as well as warm and hot leads, however the real concern is how do you use the information.

E-newsletters sent to clients utilizing 3rd party organizations are good for relating industry or market news, advising about sales or new products and to share quality information. The fact is that maybe 25% of those you send it to will ever open it.  You may have between 5% to 10% bounce backs and others who will outright ask you to remove them from your list. Sending newsletters to prospects is a little like panning for gold. You are hoping that you may find one shining prospect in the slurry of potentials. There is potentially gold in your client and prospect contacts, but you need to be diligent to find it.Slurry

Here are some tips to assist you in separating the pyrite from the gold.

  1. Review e-bulletin results each time you send one.  Advise those who asked to be removed that regretfully you have done so, and perhaps in the future there may be a new opportunity to connect.
  2. Call the bounced back addresses to see if the e-mail address has changed, if that person is gone and if so who might be a new contact for you to meet. (be sure to remove the address from your list)
  3. Review and keep track of who reads the item.  Regular viewers will have good feedback on why they continue to read.  Don’t be shy about calling those who do not open the e-mail to ask them for feedback on why they don’t.  You may find it has somehow been re-directed to Junk mail or blocked.
  4. Use news, polls and articles to link readers back to your website or social media pages.
  5. Find out if more than one person in an organization should be on your list.
  6. Utilize your contacts to ask for referrals at every opportunity.
  7. Be brief and informative.  Today we get hundreds of e-mails daily, and time is always of the essence, it is a case of “grab my attention or lose me”

Your database is very important, and should be well maintained at all times. With the price of gold today, even gold dust is valuable!

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Filed under Communications, Customer Service, Jeff Bowman, Marketing, not-for-profit, Privacy

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