How to Mine Customer Data the Right Way and Build Your Business
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If you’re just starting out in the world of e-mail campaigns, welcome to one of the most effective tools in advertising and marketing. Email marketing is a tried-and-true method of promoting a business and provides an exciting marketplace opportunity in buying and selling. E-mail advertising is one of the most popular methods that is widely implemented by companies to promote their goods and services to their buyers. It provides many advantages as well as disadvantages.
One of significant disadvantages of email advertising is that the emails sent to consumers might be regarded as spam, therefore it is imperative that marketers send emails to a list made up of quality leads. But how do you build a list of leads without being invasive, violating terms and conditions of social networks, or offending potential clients? Very carefully.
Here are some simple, non intrusive methods to track your loyal customers, build your contact lists, and analyze data to learn about potential opportunities online.
Generate your own lists
One of the best ways to build your list is to give something in exchange for the email address. Create a white paper or short course and let people sign up to get that material. You will see substantial increases in your sign up rate if you provide a value in exchange for your visitor subscribing to your list. By giving value that is specific to your industry, you ensure that people who sign up are members of your target group. Make it easy for visitors to subscribe to your newsletter by adding a web form to every page. You can also create a dedicated sign up page which tells the visitor what value will they get if they join. Aweber offers the most attractive web forms for use on your pages. There are many other email marketing services. MailChimp, for example, is a free service that allows you to send up to 12,000 e-mail messages to 2000 recipients each month. MadMiMi is an easy-to-use email marketing service that is great for beginners. Try out the different email marketing service providers to find the one that best suits your needs.
You can convert your latest blog posts into a professional email promotion and automatically send it to your list. You can specify daily, weekly, or monthly frequency and have total stylistic control of your theme. Post articles to your blog and use an email campaign to send out blog posts on a regular basis. Provide valuable content and watch your email list grow!
By monitoring traffic to your web site, you can capture the leads using sites such as Pardot which offers you the ability to integrate the captured data into Salesforce CRM (customer relationship manager). Another service, Etrigue, also integrates with Salesforce.com, as well as with Salesforce's AppExchange or Microsoft Dynamics CRM. This is a passive opportunity meaning the contacts simply come to you. And it doesn't require someone to enter the data into your preferred customer relationship management (CRM) tool.
Buy a list
You don't have to do the data collection yourself, unless you want to. Instead, many companies have chosen to buy and customize lists to suit their specific needs. Dun & Bradstreet's Hoovers is perhaps the best-known source, with over 85 million individuals in its database; also using the Dun & Bradstreet data is Zapdata. Yet another source of CRM prospects is InfoUSA, a member of Infogroup. Keep in mind, however, that purchased lists are not perfect even if they are priced at a very high rate. What can you expect? You will see "bounces" even on the best of these services as people change jobs (or at least change their e-mail addresses). Perhaps up to 10 percent of the entries may be "bad," so plan accordingly.
The terms of service for most social networks disallow commercial use of the information contained in their sites. It might seem easy to obtain e-mail addresses from members of a particular social network, but this action violates the terms of service for most social networks. Basically, you can use your fan page and solicit contacts by asking them to be your friend or to join your network, but you can't copy someone's information without their permission.
What about copying the contacts from a rival or former company? That is also disallowed and could land you in a heap of trouble. So, don't. Also, not every social network is the same. Facebook grants members only noncommercial rights, but LinkedIn is designed for professionals to use in building up contacts, so usage of its information for commercial use may be all right. It is always best to check the Terms and Conditions of the social networking site with which you are working. Many sites change their terms frequently, so if you have a question, email their support department for a detailed description of what is allowed and not allowed. Better safe than sorry.
Quality, not quantity
Concentrate on the quality of your mailing list. It’s more important that the people on the list actually care about what you have to say than how big is the list. The better your email campaigns are in terms of quality, value and originality, the more successful they will be. The key to long-term business success is quality. That’s what your email recipients want, so give it to them.