According to Garner Research, business users spend an average of 49 minutes per day on email and check their messages six ti mes per day! Given the inherent low cost of web-based communication, it’s easier than ever to build a contact database and user community using broadcast email and targeted web landing pages. Unfortunately, industry statistics report that businesses typically have just two percent of the email addresses for their existing customers. If you find yourself in this situation, there are three things you can do to build a more robust database:
Organize a calling/visitation campaign with the objective of coming away with email addresses for your key customer contacts.
Build an ‘opt-in’ email list over ti me by capturing the email addresses of your customers, website visitors, and those who respond to advertising offers. Make the process very easy (i.e., email address only). Don’t request lots of
extraneous data and provide an incentive (e.g., discount code or free user e-newsletter).
Hire an email marketing specialty firm or list seller to do a ‘matching’ project to generate an email list based on known company and individual names and addresses. This can lift your email coverage to 30+%. Armed with a solid email database, begin to inexpensively generate targeted communications and offers to your customer base and prospects. Such segmentation of messages will allow customers to interact with you based on areas of specific interest. Over time, you can easily establish a greater understanding of their needs and interest (e.g., seasonal or life cycle offerings, special events and information).
Such increased communication can provide a sense of community and even result in ‘viral’ spreading of your company’s message as they forward or discuss your communications with others. One company actually recruited a standing ‘expert’ panel which became a testing ground for new product ideas, sharpening existing offerings, and brainstorming next generation features and services relevant to the user community. Meeting quarterly, with the company furnishing only a facilitator, pizza and a conference room, this group provided great testimonials, helped
enhance the company’s core offerings, and became loyal long-term customers in the process. Email addresses in the hands of an expert ‘Guerrilla Marketer’ can be a beautiful thing!