Social media is popular, but in my book nothing, NOTHING beats having your own database of clients and prospects to market to. In fact when Facebook maven Mari Smith https://www.facebook.com/marismith?fref=ts (152,298 Facebook likes) started a weekly email newsletter (probably in sync with the difficulty of getting updates to fans), it put a huge smile on my face.
I have three golden rules of creating and working a database. How many are you following?
Rule One: Never let a valid prospect go
Never let a viable prospect, referrer or customer go. By this I mean not putting them on your database. You spent time (networking, good customer service) or money (advertising, website development) to get them. Don’t throw the effort or money away by losing them. Communicating with them will bring in more business. Please also remember to include your business referrers in your database and communications too. It’s just as important to keep note of them.
Rule Two: Excel is magic
If you’re not a fan of Excel, you should be. You see it doesn’t matter where you put your data to sleep at night, or what database you actually keep it in. When you want to use your database emailing, posting or texting, it’s quite simple to bring it into Excel and manipulate it. Clean it. De-duplicate it. Add to it. All in a few seconds flat.
Here are a few tricks:
- Outlook Contacts to Excel
Briefly, you open the File Menu and selecting ‘Import and Export’; a Wizard then walks you through exporting your contacts into an Excel spreadsheet.
- Access to Excel 2000–2003
Tools menu > select ‘Office Links’ then ‘Analyse it with Excel.’
- Exporting from Access 2007–2013
Go to the External Data Ribbon, select ‘Excel’ then select ‘Export’.
- Other files – CSV, TAB
If you’d like to bring in the data from any other proprietary software file, simply save what you export as a CSV or a TEXT file. This simply means that for each row of data, the different columns are separated either by a comma CSV (comma separated values) or a (TEXT) TAB.
Rule Three: Communicate with added value content
I started one of the first email newsletters in Australasia back in 1999. I have only missed publishing a few times (it’s monthly) since day one. Have a look http://www.successis.co.nz/newsletter/current.htm
My concept is to:
- Put myself in my readers shoes and think of content that will add value to them in not only their working lives, but personally too.
- Don’t oversell my services. I have one slight call to action in it – if that.
- Don’t be afraid of giving away content others would have people pay for. You reap what you sow.
The proof in the pudding is every time that newsletter goes out; or when I do a targeted email for a workshop in a specific location – business comes in. Often I’ll check the incoming email against the database. Time and time I’m amazed. If you were in the room with me, you’d hear “Wow! They’ve been on my database since 2007!” “Wow, what a great referral that was”. “OMG! They’ve been with me since 2002”!’