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Like it or Not, You’re a Database Marketer

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Easy ways to become a better database marketer

A database is just a whole lot of information organized to help you sell. You can organize it on a sophisticated computer system or you can go old school and use a pencil and a little black notebook. It really doesn’t matter.

What does matter is that you keep track of everything you do when you contact existing clients, prospects and/or tire kickers.

Direct marketers do this automatically. The really good ones learn to assign an average dollar value (based on actual transactions over time) to every contact name in their databases. For example, using totally made up numbers, assume:

  • An average paying client is worth $200 a year in commissions over three years
  • Average prospects convert at 25%, so a prospect is (or will be) worth $50 a year in commissions.
  • Tire kickers convert at 8% and each of them is worth $16 a year.

One of the benefits of this approach is that it helps you figure out how successful your marketing really is. If you spend $1,000 and get one paying client ($600), three prospects ($450) and five tire kickers ($240), you did very well.

And your database will help you do better every time out by tracking the performance of niches, media, offers, type of effort – whatever you want to track. In short, it helps you focus your efforts with laser-like precision.

Database marketing does something else that’s crucial

Great salespeople always keep a watchful eye on their database of clients. They understand that it’s not static. People are ever-changing, especially nowadays. Companies move, people just switch insurance agents, policies lapse … How do you track all that stuff? By staying in touch. For instance, there are a lot of circumstances you can flag on your database that will connect you to your clients and prospects: birthdays, annual meetings, anniversaries, and promotions. Clients’ special occasions are terrific “excuses” to get in touch on a personal level. Recently, at a business conference, a presenter mentioned that his insurance company sent him a card congratulating him on his second year in business. That card meant the world to him.

  • Holiday cards and small gifts can make a huge difference too. Remember not to emblazon your gift with your logo. (Your client’s logo? Now that’s another matter. It’d be great.)
  • New information or new products may not fascinate everyone, but it might interest your clients. A new type of Cyber Insurance, for instance. An announcement from you might get them picking up the phone to give you a call.
  • Personal handwritten notes on a mailing can show the recipient that you actually thought about them. Wow! Who does that?

A few years ago, a small ad agency started mailing a monthly newsletter to its database of clients and prospects. The agency’s President actually sits at her desk to write a short personal note on every printed copy of the newsletter. And each note is immediately relevant to the recipient because the President consults her database first. About 50% of recipients respond with personal notes of their own, an amazingly high number.

Notice silent defectors If you check your database ever month, you’ll see if someone needs attention, a non-renewer for instance. You can then do something about it quickly. (Even why someone defects is valuable information.) Short surveys are a good way to find out if your clients are satisfied with you. Offer them the opportunity to write in comments too, and a lot of them will.

Try all kinds of things once your database is in an easy-to-use format. It can’t hurt to make contact once a month or so and most people appreciate it.

And keep updating your database.

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