Happiness, at least as far as customer retention goes, is a database straining your RAM. The more you know, the more targeted your response. Whilst being aware that many cats like being petted, how much better to know which way they prefer being stroked.
A well populated direct marketing email list will add value to your company and it is by no means unique for it to be a firm’s main asset and the more detail it contains the more valuable it is. The return on investment in increasing the customer base will generally justify the time and effort.
It is well to repeat that all email lists must be permission based (opt in) although a detailed explanation of what this means will be covered in a later article. Further, you should be careful of surprising your customers with what is on your database. If all they have given you is their email address and name, finding out their date of birth in order to send your good wishes might well backfire if they find such behaviour intrusive.
It would appear that asking for too many details initially can deter potential email recipients. If they want to buy just the one item then a whole series of personal questions might make them wish they had shopped elsewhere. There lies the dichotomy. More information means higher retention rates whilst asking for too much detail puts prospects off. Where do you draw the line?
Start with the basics on the first contact. Apart from the obvious email address, for B2B email lists knowing name, position, company, industry sector and address will be invaluable. For B2C email lists, apart from the name and address, it can be useful to know their age and sex. Requests for such details are no longer seen as unusual.
The way to ensure you know enough about your customers to target email campaigns effectively is to obtain relevant demographic detail. A tailor might well need to know a customer’s inside leg measurement. A wine merchant seeking such information might well be viewed with a certain degree of understandable concern.
You will find that a structured and integrated plan to capture, keep and characterise your customers will ensure that your effort isn’t wasted. You might think that ‘characterise’ was used for alliterative purposes only and that perhaps ‘define’ would have been more appropriate. But whilst I accept the allure of alliteration, the word was picked with precision. You need to know your customer’s character rather than just facts.
A direct email marketing campaign that takes a wild stab at what might interest the recipient is little better than spam from the sender’s point of view. The problem is that it might be viewed as the same at the other end of the ether. An email marketing campaign that intrigues or excites the email recipient will tend to increase the likelihood of the next one you send being opened as well. An email campaign which confuses or bores will generate another unsubscribe.
Marketing budget limitations demand effective use of all resources and one of the many strengths of direct marketing via email is that it is possible to integrate all your communication with the customer to obtain details. Or rather, to understand their character. A ‘special offer’ email can have the duel objectives of both selling the item and obtaining further details of your customers. The rather worrying lyrics of the Police’s ‘Every Breath You Take’ is what you should aspire to. All it takes is planning. And there we can help you.
- Do you know who your customer is?
- Target your response based against their behaviour
- What is likely to trigger a purchase?
- Well populated email lists (behaviour) are a tangible asset
- Email lists must be permission based
- Only ask for necessary info in the early stages
- More information means higher retention rates
- Know the character of your customers