I became a Solution Provider for Constant Contact in 2008. I’ve answered hundreds of questions in the Constant Contact discussions groups and was one of their first bloggers in this community.
The most frequent question I get is, “What is the most important element of a small business marketing program?”
As one can imagine in a direct marketing campaign, (today all marketing is direct) there are so many factors that will affect the response and it’s difficult to pinpoint any one portion.
Unfortunately, there is one problem I’ve seen over and over since I became a small business owner in 1984. In fact, this problem is so rampant, people still make it on a daily basis.
People spend an inordinate amount of time on the preparation of a direct marketing campaign, and when it appears finally ready, a voice in the back of the room usually says, “What list are we using?”
Yes, the problem is your list of contacts, customers and prospects you hope to do business with. Before you “click away” let me share a story with you from another consultant friend of mine that we discussed yesterday.
“Having a coffee with a business colleague before Christmas, they lorded over the fact that their "email List” had reached 2000. Higher than some, lower than others I guess. What made me smile was the analytics of the campaigns reported less than 10% of the emails were opened, and not a single "click" was directed to their company Website. Also the fact that around 1800 of the mail shot either bounced, remained unopened or were unsubscribed. Even more crazy, was the fact they were working on another campaign using the same "lists" for early next year.” “Obviously, their parent’s money that paid for their Marketing Education was well spent??????”
First, I hate the word "list." Anyone can have a list of names, a shopping list and the famous to-do list. There’s no marketing value in the word list. A typical “customer and prospect list” may have a turnover rate of 25% to 30% per year!
Something to think about…
If no one reads or does not receive your email, or any other type of communication, then the sender would be better off opening a window and throwing their hard earned marketing dollars out into the wind. At the least, they’ll save time.
The only solution is to build a database. A database allows a company to send a relevant message, pertinent to the customer’s needs, personalized and a great offer to buy. I referred to it as a Customer-Contact Management System (C-CMS).
When you add customer data to a list it becomes a database. What is a database?
A database is a collection of data that is organized so that its contents can easily be accessed, managed, and updated.
This definition is also the solution to the problem. Nobody likes or has the time to manage and update their data.
There are three organizations that really get it.
Companies who believe marketing is everything they do for success.
Why? Healthcare must collect information from their patients. Technology loves working with data. Businesses who believe that great marketing is customer-centric know they need to keep learning about their customers.
What to do…
If you fall into the list category, change your thinking for 2015. Think that all data you collect goes into a company asset. Having an asset on the books that continually makes your company money is a good thing.
Build your new asset, a Customer-Contact Management System, into a powerful database. You’ll see better response rates, happier customers, better referrals and a step ahead of the competition.
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