Marketing Basics – Contact Databases

Dear insert first nameYour contact database is critical to your marketing approach. Who you know – and who you need to know – can make or break your business communication. So it is worthwhile dedicating some time to get organised about your contacts lists so that sharing your story is as efficient and effective as possible.

Step 1 – Who Do You Know?

Think about all the people you know – professionally and personally. Do you have all the information you need to contact them reliably and regularly?

Take a blank piece of paper and start writing down all the contact lists you already have:

  • Contacts in your phone
  • Email lists
  • Facebook friends
  • LinkedIn contacts
  • Blog followers
  • Event attendees
  • Customer lists
  • Others?

You may already have hundreds of contacts and I’m sure you can already think of ways of increasing this number.

Step 2 – Database Options

Now you need to find a way to bring all your contacts together and manage them.

There are endless databases options available to suit the size and requirements of your business. From fully integrated Customer Relationship Management (CRM) systems, cloud based solutions or just a simple Excel spreadsheet, you should choose a database that allows you to easily add and extract useful contact information.

Spend time to get the information ‘fields’ (i.e. title, first name, surname, email addresses, etc) and categories (i.e. clients, contacts, specific lists for newsletters, billing details, etc) right up front so you have all you need when you come to using the data for communication. Will you mostly be using email communication? Do you need postal addresses? Is there any purpose for capturing personal information such as birth dates or ages?

It is important to make sure you are across rules relating to privacy in your country or state – particularly for email and online communication – so you are not caught out sending unsolicited information. In Australia you need to provide a way for people to ‘opt-out’ or ‘unsubscribe’ from your mailing list if they no longer want to receive information from you.

Step 3 – Extending and Updating Information

A database is only as good as the information it contains – and it can quickly become outdated. Schedule some time each month to update your database and put processes in place to add new contacts as soon as possible.

Work out some simple strategies to ensure your database builds each month. Make sure you never lose an opportunity to get new data in so you can extend the reach of your communication, giving you access to even more potential clients and customers.

How are you managing contact information in your business?

Advertisements

Just 1 Percent

tn_timingThe way I see it, with every excuse you make about marketing, you are giving away a little bit of control of the future success of your business. You are divesting the potential of all of your hard work. I mean what is the point of working so hard to build a business, if you are not doing everything possible to tell people about it.

So today I’m hoping to give you a wake up call. I want to convince you that even if you only have a small amount of time – and even if your marketing budget is non-existent – you can create habits to actively marketing your business and share your story.

Let’s start off with talking about time. Sure time is a limited resource. I haven’t come across an app yet that has found a way to squeeze more than 24 hours into each day – but I’m sure it’s not far away! Until this is available to us, we are stuck trying to fit too many things into too little time. So when faced with this, how can you carve out time to focus on marketing?

Let’s start with baby steps…

I want you to do a calculation. Work out how many hours you work on average each week. Then work out 1% of this time. For example:

40 hours per week or 2400 minutes x 1% = 24 minutes

This 1% is how much time I want you to spend on marketing this week.

Using the example of 24 minutes across a whole week – what could you achieve?

Here are 10 suggestions
:

  1. Phone a customer or contact you think might be a good target for more business and just have a chat
  2. Map out the key points of an article on a topic in your area of specialisation
  3. Update your LinkedIn profile
  4. Hold a short meeting over coffee with 3 colleagues to ask them what they are working on and discuss cross-referral opportunities
  5. Research and register for a networking event relevant to your industry
  6. Review your customer or client lists to see if you can think of new ways to get to know their businesses better
  7. Set up a meeting with one of your key clients and ask them to show you around their operations
  8. Find an article that may interest your customers or contacts and email a link out to them
  9. Send a birthday card to a long-term client
  10. Refer an opportunity to a business contact or colleague – what comes around goes around.

Any of these activities has the potential to bring more work into your business or – at the very least- to raise your profile in the minds of your contacts or customers, reinforcing who you are and how you can help them.

It doesn’t have to take lots of time or money, but a little bit of marketing can bring great results.

What did you achieve with your 1% of time? Let me know by leaving a comment below.