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Database Marketing

The Basics of Database Marketing

Database marketing can be simple or sophisticated. The key is that instead of just having a mailing list of prospective customers or a single list of current customers, you can use a computer to evaluate and manage the information more precisely. For example, you may want to send a reminder mailing to every customer once a year; a monthly mailing to more active customers; and place a phone call from time to time to your very best customers.

Use A Mix Of Marketing Vehicles

Historically, database marketing relied most of all on direct mail. Then increasingly telemarketing has been used. And now there are many different alternatives to consider, including e-mail, fax, and the World Wide Web. Be cautious of legal restrictions that in the U.S. prohibit companies from sending unsolicited faxes to people or companies with whom they don't have a business relationship.

Particularly for closing sales for higher-ticket goods or services, a combination of several different contact methods may work best. For example, you may first send a direct-mail piece to "warm up" a prospect and then phone to get an appointment where you try to close the sale in person. Or in a direct-mail piece you may refer the prospect to a World Wide Web site, a fax-back number, or an e-mail address where the prospect can get more information without hesitating because they don't want to talk to a salesperson yet.

Fancy And Expensive Doesn't Always Sell

In direct-mail campaigns, fancy and expensive doesn't always mean better results. Also, once you get into four-color printing the start-up costs are high, so it is very expensive to test even small quantities.

Make your mailing pieces professional and clean--but don't go overboard. Generally a one-page letter, a two-to-four page flyer with two colors at the most, and a business reply card are all you need for an effective mailing.

Avoid using mailing labels--address the envelopes yourself or have a mailing house do it by computer.

Make sure you have a "call to action" in your letter--like a free evaluation, a free gift, or a limited-time deep discount.

Test all the variables in small quantity mailings, giving extra emphasis to testing different mailing lists and different offers.

Test, Test and Test

In database marketing, changing a small variable can change your results to a great extent. So once a mailing works for you in test quantities, do the exact same mailing to the exact same mailing list in larger quantities. When you do tests, isolate one variable at a time. For example, in a direct-mail test, send exactly the same brochures and letters.

By Streetwise Business Tips


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