Wednesday, September 5, 2007

Is your list successful?

It's been said dozens of times in dozens of ways: "The money's in the list". What is rarely said is how to build this list and how to make this list work once it's been developed. There has to be another piece of the puzzle to complete this picture, doesn't there?

Certain so-called "Gurus" will probably disagree with my take on this, but isn't there more to it that just building a list of contacts and sending mass emailings to them? Isn't doing business this way a little impersonal? Doesn't it put you off to receive the same ads from all the lists you've signed up for?

Whether you answered yes to any or all of the previous questions, you have to agree that it does merit some thought. What if a prospect list was treated like a customer database, which is what it was originally designed for, anyway? What if an affiliate prospect list was used as a team communication system, rather than one more venue to send out sales letters? Could it possibly make a difference?

It's time that marketing got back to customer care. It's time that growing an organization meant building a team, not a "list". It all boils down to that missing puzzle piece. Personal relationships hold more credence with most people. "Word of mouth" is still the best form of advertising, and this only works if a relationship has been built, regardless of whether you are building a list of customer contacts or affiliate contacts.

Most people are going to listen to the advice of a friend or relative before a stranger's. So it is important to become a friend, someone that instills trust with your market audience. How can this be accomplished? It just makes sense that this can easily be achieved by getting back to basics. By all means, use the automated tools that are available thanks to the advent of the Internet, but take the time to build relationships with these people that took a risk and signed up for more information. The important thing to remember is to learn to rely on these tools in conjunctionwith good old-fashioned personal correspondence.

Take the time to send a personal welcome letter to new contacts. Do not send a sales letter with this personal message. Make it a getting-to-know-you experience. Give new contacts an easy way to contact you. If available, make at least one phone call to address questions and make yourself more than just a faceless entity. Add an invitation to contact you either by phone or email for questions and suggestions to the footer of every auto responder message, rather that another ad for something.

The more successful marketers do just that. They ask for phone numbers when on the sign up page. They make that initial phone call within days. They make follow up calls, just to check in and see if the contact has questions. They ask for feedback, either by phone or by email.

Using these additional techniques to your next list building campaign will probably make it more successful. Adding them to existing campaigns may improve them. One thing is sure, practicing these things can do nothing but help your business, and can even lead to better sales.

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