The only constant in marketing is change. Looking back over my career I recall many milestones and trends/fads.
There was the newsletter craze of the mid-2000’s to stay in “constant contact” with your customers. It came in hot as small business owners discovered a new way to keep their message in front of ideal customers without the financial burden of direct mail.
Shortly thereafter all forms of social media became the end-all be-all and social media management companies started popping up everywhere.
You didn’t have to wait too long for the next round of changes as the concept of “content marketing” was a fast follow. Write blog posts several times each week about your company and relevant topics, and Google will handle the rest.
Now I want to make something clear — none of these things are bad. In fact, they should all (to a degree) be part of your marketing efforts! However, there’s one key question that needs to be asked: What’s the common denominator in all of these efforts? What’s the consistency that bleeds through all our marketing efforts?
If we can find that, then we know where to spend our time, energy and investment most effectively. The answer is actually quite simple: Know your customer. Newsletters require emails, social media requires demographics, and successful content marketing requires customer profiles.
Knowing your customer is key. My encouragement to you this month is to take a step back from your latest and greatest and ask these questions: How can I know my customer better? How can I collect more of their data when they’re at my location? How can I collect more emails, birthdays, and preferences?
This is the lifeblood of your marketing efforts. If you have a solid database to fuel your efforts with, then whatever new methodology comes down the pike you’ll be prepared. This begs the question, how do I capture more of my customers’ personal information?
Data collection done well should always be based on one thing: An exchange of value. Keep in mind that when customers provide you with their data the expectation is that they’ll get something in return. The customer provides info and you provide value in return. One of the easiest ways (when it comes to email marketing) to know if you’re not succeeding at this is to watch your unsubscribe rates.
Here are three easy tips for building your database quickly and efficiently:
Leverage your existing sources: As I speak with business owners across the country, one of the questions I like to ask is: “How many unique email addresses do you have in your database?”
Very often the answer comes back “none,” only to find out this isn’t entirely true. Often times, we have deposits of emails in different systems. If you compile everything you have, you may be surprised.
Think through the various systems you use to run your operation.
- Point of Sale System
- E-Commerce Site
- Loyalty Programs
- The little slips of paper you’ve been collecting at your counter
- Online booking systems
- Membership cards
Find what you can and start there!
Just Ask! This is going to seem obvious, yet it’s a practice leadership and staff alike tend to avoid. Are your front counter staff trained and expected to ask for emails at the time of transaction? If they’re not, they should be. I know you were probably looking for a more technical trick to getting this done (don’t worry because I have that for you too) but this needs to be a part of every transaction. Every online purchase should require an email address. At every in-person transaction, we should request an email address. This is something that must be trained and built into the DNA of your staff.
Everyone Loves Free Wifi: Our favorite methodology at Hownd for data collection has to be our wifi collectors. There are a number of reasons we love wifi data collection.
- It embodies a true exchange of value. Customers want access to your wifi because it saves them money. If you offer free wifi in your facility currently, that’s fantastic! However, if you’re not collecting an email address when customers log in, then you’re missing an opportunity.
- It’s hands-off. This is a system that runs in the background and requires zero employee bandwidth to manage. In a recent conversation with a FetchRev customer, he shared that he was able to add more than 700 new email addresses in a single weekend!
- It drops emails directly into your FetchRev platform. While downloading and uploading lists is a necessary evil when it comes to compiling your customer data, it can also be tedious. When using FetchRev wifi collection, once a customer fills out the form to access your wifi their email drops directly into FetchRev and we begin marketing right away.
Data is king. It is and will continue to be the lifeblood of your marketing efforts no matter the trend. If you don’t have a list, don’t fret, just start today. When you successfully build and utilize your email list, it’ll have a direct impact on your bottom line revenue. You’ll also be setting yourself up for success for future marketing efforts.