By Caroline Creedon
Maximising Your Database
A huge part of running a business, as I’m sure you know, is how you market that business.
One resource that far too many business owners don’t entirely tap into is their database. This article summarises how to maximize your database as one of your business’s most valuable assets.
Let’s kick things off by understanding what (and who) your database actually consists of. A lot of you might immediately think your database is your client list. Wrong. Building your database isn’t just about making sales, it’s about preparing for the future.
Keep in mind anyone and everyone who might get involved with your business in one way or another, whether it’s next week, next year, or years from now. They might be client leads, sure, but they might also be potential referrers or marketing partners, among other things.
One thing we often talk about in my line of work is the lifetime value of a client or connection–the value someone brings to your business over their lifetime, not just from one transaction.
So, how much is a client worth?
In other words, how much are you willing to invest in gaining and retaining clients?
Of course, that depends on what each client’s lifetime value is. When it comes to your database, segmenting your connections is key to determining and tracking your return on investment.
I want to make it clear here that the size of your database does not matter. It’s the value of the people on that database and what they bring (or will bring) to your business that’s key.
For instance, you might be sending a newsletter to50,000 people each month, but if only 200of those people are reading it and only 50 of them are engaging with it, you need to clean up your database. Email marketing works only when you cut out the clutter. In other words, your database is about quality over quantity.
Cull anyone who is clearly not showing any interest, then divide the remaining contacts up into segments based on how much value they’ll bring you and the types of content that will work best for them.
A starting point for these segments might be:
1. Anyone who already directly drives sales.
2. Potential customers who are actively engaged but haven’t purchased yet.
3. Customers who have purchased once or twice in the past but haven’t come back.
If you’re someone who’s new to the world of marketing and don’t yet have a database, not to worry. Here are a couple of ways to get your database flourishing:
Tip: When building or growing your database, only ask for the least amount of effort to start–their first name and their email. The less effort they have to put in, the more likely they’ll be to engage.
Every business is different, but regardless of your industry, direct email marketing works. Tailor your content to suit the people on the database. For some, videos work better than blogs. The important thing to do here is to give out free information and helpful tips with your branding on it. Give them something of value that will keep them engaged and eventually, that value will be returned in some way
Tip: Optimise your emails for mobile. Most people read their emails on their phones, not their computers.
Offer people the opportunity to opt into your marketing everywhere you can, whether that’s your website, emails, or videos. You can also do this by collaborating with other people in your industry. Who else has your ideal clients on their database? Consider how you could exchange database information using a game-like structure, like a fun giveaway or friendly competition.
Test different approaches to see what works best, and for whom. Often, it’s something as simple as a layout or color scheme that’s more engaging than another. You can even set up your marketing tactics to automatically determine which version outperforms the other and send only that version moving forward. Some things to consider testing are the structure, layout, and length of your messaging.
Note: The benefits of A/B Testing also apply to offline marketing. Try changing your in-store signage and pricing to see what works best for your business and your customers.
Remember, it’s not about how many inboxes your messages are getting to, it’s about how many people are clicking through them and engaging with the content you’re sending out. Start by curating the people on your database, then design your content to give them what they want.
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