Direct Marketing: Manage Your Database and Go Places!
Trading is an age-old practice. There have always been people who are in need of certain products and people who are producing them. This core practice has evolved through centuries and now we have a complex system of trading. The manufacturers and sellers offer products to those in need of them and charge extra for their services. This has formed the basis of what we call marketing. However, the most common form of marketing has been mass marketing. There is a seller who promotes their product to a large number of people at once, in the same way. Here, everyone gets the same treatment and the same message.
Mass marketing is never bad. It helps you cover a wide range of people in a single go. However, there is no personal touch in these messages. Every consumer is different and has different needs and choices. One customer will never perceive a mass advertising message in the same way as their neighbor. This is what gave rise to direct marketing, which is when a manufacturer or the brand directly contacts the ultimate consumers. This not just avoids the extra cost of middlemen, but also makes marketing more personalized.
Wouldn’t you like it if the store you shopped from thanks you for your purchases through a text? Wouldn’t you like it if the restaurant where you had dinner last night calls you up for a personal feedback? This is what direct marketing aims at. Its aim is to build healthy relations with customers by establishing a direct contact with them. If the customers are actually treated like kings, they will stay with you for longer.
There are several elements of direct marketing, but database management is definitely the most important. You can’t make an effective direct marketing campaign without generating and managing a database. A database is nothing but a record of all the details of your customers. These details often include:
- Name of current and past customers.
- Contact details of current and past customers.
- Buying history of current and past customers.
- Preferences, choices and interests of current and past customers.
- Areas of expenditure of your current and past customers.
As a direct marketer, you should also include prospective customers into your database to convert them into the loyal ones. This would help you in coming up with ways to hook them in and include them in the category of your regular buyers. Thus, database management is the backbone of direct marketing.
There are various elements of database management. Some of them are discussed as follows:
For you to manage the database of your customers, you need to gather the data initially. There are two major ways of accumulating this data. One way is to purchase the data from local directories, authorities and also competitors. Here, you pay money to the third party to get the contact details of potential customers and then approach them regarding your venture. The other way of lead generation is where you have your potential customers approach you first. There is a word about you out in the market. People are aware about you and they know about the facilities and benefits you provide. Thus, they will approach you on their own, showing some interest in your brand. This is how you can tap them and generate the lead from their details. You must have visited a restaurant where you were given a feedback form to fill. You choose to give the feedback along with details such as your phone number, email address etc. You must have gone shopping where you were asked to give your details for giving reviews about the product. There are also several ways in which you can use lead generation techniques through online platforms. You can have a little survey when your visitors leave your website. You can have an option of subscribing to your website or linking your visitors’ social media accounts for subscription. This is how you can get their details. Moreover, if your customers are aware about the fact that you have their details and as you’re sure that they are interested in your field of operation, your messages will not be nagging to them. After you have the details of your customers, you can shoot them a mail or a text message with a brief introduction about your brand. You should brief them about your brand and offer them a decent beginner’s discount. Be so persuasive that they fall in love with your brand at the first sight!
Malls are also a great source of generating leads of your prospective customers. There are several people coming to the mall every day. All you have to do it either set up a stall of your brand or approach customers personally. Either way, you can show a demo or sample of your product. If you are dealing in edible products, you can also give a sample to them for tasting. After they are done, you can ask for their details on a form, be it online or in a hard copy. Do this and you have your leads right there. Thus, you should be very smart and vigilant to generate the leads for your direct marketing campaigns.
The search for your customers does not end at lead generation. Generating leads is just a process of creating a pool of potential customers who may be interested in buying your product. You need to filter in people who are genuinely willing to make purchases and filter out the ones who won’t make any efforts to purchase your products. This is what we call lead qualification. There are several ways in which you can go on with this process. You can give a call to the prospective customers and ask if they are genuinely interested in making purchases. Try and convince them to buy your products. If they agree for to purchase, concentrate towards making the sale. However, they say no even after your attempts to convince them, you should consider them out from the list of people to be sold the products. You can also send a mail to all the leads that you generated and ask them to reply with their willingness to make purchases. If you function through personal selling, you can also send your salespersons to meet your leads personally and get the results immediately.
However, never really cross out the leads that didn’t qualify. It is possible that these people are currently not interested in your product, but may want to make purchases in the future. Also, it is a high possibility that these customers are not willing to buy the product you are offering, but may be interested in another product sold by you. For examples, if you offered shoes to one of your leads which didn’t qualify, they may buy your leather jacket if you offer it to them later. Thus, never think that a lead that didn’t qualify is a lead lost.
As a business owner, your success or failure clearly depends on your customers. You are required to satisfy the needs of your customers and make sure that they get what they want. For this, you need to ascertain what your customers desire. This would help you to deliver the best. There are many ways in which you can assess the needs of your customers. One of the most basic ways is by generalizing. Most of the direct marketing firms don’t cater to multiple segments of customers. They have a few segments they cater to. Here, it is safe and fair to assume the needs of people and design your services accordingly. For example, if you are a brand selling sports shoes and your target market is youth, you can bank on certain attributes that are bound to be present in every young person. If your target is senior citizens, you can predict and make a judgment about their needs and shape your products/services accordingly. Hence, along with you gathering leads to make sales, you should also assess the needs of people you’re catering to.
Along with making the needs assessment, you should also use the same in your promotions. As direct marketing is a more personalized field, you should be well aware about the needs and preferences of every single of your customers. You should keep all these aspects in mind before sending them promotional messages. If you have customers who have not made purchases from you in a long time, send them a text saying you miss them. If you have come up with a new product that suits the needs of a particular customer, send them a message notifying them about the new product. All this helps to strengthen your bond with your customers and flourishes your business.
Thus, managing your database is one of the most crucial aspects of direct marketing. The customers want to be treated specially, and if you give them just that, they will be there to stay!