Archive for February, 2008

Strategies for Building Your List

February 26th, 2008 by Heather Maloney

Most businesses start without a list of email addresses or mobile phone numbers of their customer base – because most businesses start out with only a handfull of customers.  But take heart if you are starting out, because from our experience many businesses that have been in operation for years also do not have email addresses for much of their client list.

Below we have described a number of strategies for building a robust client list from the very beginning of your business:

  1. If you have a website, ensure that the contact form on the site:
    1. requires an email address from people submitting an enquiry
    2. at least provides the option for receiving a mobile phone number
    3. includes a tick box question regarding consent to keep the enquirer informed of changes to your site / new products and services / valuable information about your niche area…
    4. ensure that you add the above information to your client database immediately that you receive the enquiry (preferably automatically)NB. your enquiry form can be integrated with your eNudge account to make this an easy process for you
  2. Ensure that the page of your website allowing visitors to subscribe to your email / sms list is promoted prominently on all pages of your website, especially the front page.  This is an important call to action, especially where the visitor may not yet be ready to buy from you, but may consider receiving some regular information as a way of getting to know you before making a bigger commitment.
  3. Whenever you attend networking events, meet people interested in your product, and exchange business cards, make sure that you ask that little question “Would you like to receive information from me every x weeks / months about xyz?” (of course replacing x and xyz with the appropriate words!).  Getting into the habit of asking this question will ensure that you are building your list regularly, and that you don’t get tempted to add people to your list who haven’t actually consented to receiving your electronic messages.
  4. If you have a physical store or office, have a bowl at the front counter inviting visitors to drop in their business card for a chance to win “xyz” and also to be kept informed of special offers / valuable information about xyz. Ensure that you then action these business cards on a regular basis.
  5. Whenever a person is newly added to your list, ensure that you send him / her a personalised welcome message as soon as possible (preferably automatically and immediately). This welcome message is very important to remind the person that they have subscribed, build expectation for the next message, confirm how often they can expect to hear from you, and set the tone for the messages they will receive in future.NB.  As part of your eNudge integration, we can ensure that a standard personalised welcome message is delivered immediately to the newly added person immediately.
  6. Provide valuable information resources to your website visitors at the same time as asking your visitors to subscribe to hear more about your business.
  7. Include reference to your regular communications and how people can subscribe on your offline marketing material e.g. on a flier that you hand out to potential clients.

If your client database is already well underway, but lacking email addresses these strategies may assist:

  1. Send a text message or a letter to the contacts for whom you have a mobile phone number or physical address, providing an incentive for your client to visit your website or ring you or complete a physical form and send it back in order to provide their electronic contact details.
  2. Have a staff member call all of your customers to seek the information you are missing from your database.  This can be used as a valuable opportunity to touch base with your customer again, and also tell them about changes you have made inside your business.
  3. Promote your regular electronic communications to all your existing customers to ensure that they are aware of this service that they are not receiving.

If you have any additional ideas for building your list, please tell us in a post.

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Educating Your Contacts through Email

February 4th, 2008 by Heather Maloney

Using your email campaigns to educate your clients/customers, on a relevant topic, will help to ensure that they stay on your mailing list. If you continually email your list with special offers and sales, some will eventually tire of the emails unless you have a huge product range and always have something that they would want to spend their money on.

Obviously the type of your business will determine what you can educate your customers about. But don’t constrain yourself to the obvious. Here’s just 2 tips on how to add further value to your customers:

  1. what do my customers do prior to needing my product / service? Can I provide education to help my customer reach the point of needing my service more easily or more quickly? e.g. a travel agent could provide tips on how to prepare for a holiday so that you arrive relaxed.
  2. who in my network of contacts could write something for my email campaign, helping my contacts with a related need? e.g. an Accountant could have a document image storage firm provide information about how to store documents electronically, saving storage space.

Businesses talk about providing value to their clients through their communications, but unfortunately so few do it. Instead they simply resort to specials and sales announcements, probably because they are daunted by the task of creating useful information. That’s why I’ve suggested that you ask a contact in your network to provide some valuable content, creating a win-win-win for you, your customers and the business writing the contact – they get to promote themselves to your contacts.  The business you ask to include content in your email campaign is likely to already have the information written – you will just need to tailor it for your communication.

Feel free to post to this blog if you need some ideas for adding value to your customers in your business communications, or if you want to share your ideas / experiences?

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