It’s easy to understand the temptation to ramp up your database numbers with a quick infusion to catch up with your competitors and make your brand look hot. The truth of the matter is, false inflation does little to propel small businesses forward and may actually cost you more money in the long run.
We had a client recently purchase a localized database list from a data service company. At first glance, several contacts jumped out at us because we knew of the businesses—past tense. They had dissolved several years earlier. Upon further inspection, our client was able to determine that almost 50% of the list was obsolete and that of the remaining contacts, few were viable as potential customers.
While the database firm would not refund the client’s money for the bunk list, our client did halt all efforts to contact the businesses on that list, saving on postage, man-hours, phone calls, and electronic efforts that would have all been essentially flushed down the toilet.
Of course it’s easy to get caught up in the numbers game, but how long have we known that quantity does not trump quality? What good does it do for a local restaurant to have 7,000 Twitter followers if the majority of them live outside of the state, or even out of the country?
For local, small businesses that provide a localized service, slow and steady wins the race when it comes to building an online reputation. For larger, nationwide businesses or those that ship products or provide services globally, large infusions may provide strong results.
So what’s a small business to do? To build a quality marketing list:
|1. Capture existing customers by verifying or collecting information at check-out.|
|2. Create a refer-a-friend program to reward customers for referring new customers to your business.|
|3. Display your business at local events, community samplings, and festivals to capture local interest. td>|
|4. Join a networking group and grow your reach through select partners.|
|5. Tag-team with local vendors to cross-promote your products or services through “select third party” offers.|
All of these things will help you collect a database of potential customers. Unlike wide-open grow-your-numbers programs on the web, these tips account for proximity and interest in your product or service when collecting database information.