A good list isn’t just a random collection of people. It’s a list of people who have something in common. It may be their age-range/gender, professional affiliation, personal interests, level of income-you name it. If the people on your list have something in common that puts them in the target market for your business, then, bingo. You’ve hit pay dirt.
There are a number of ways you can put the power of a list to work for you as part of an effective overall marketing plan. You can use that list to conduct market research, the way Fortune 500 companies do. Or you could use that list as the basis for your marketing campaigns, utilizing direct mail, email or both.
With all the different ways that the power of a list can help to grow your business, using one only makes sense.
But how can you get your hands on a list that actually corresponds to your target market? Here are a few tips to help you get started.
1) Build One
Your website is a great place to start building a targeted list. That’s because there’s one important thing that all visitors to your website have in common-an interest in your products and services. It’s not hard to see why capturing their contact information can be key to the growth and success of your business.
One effective technique for building a list based on your website traffic is to create a free e-course or special report. When visitors sign up to receive this free information, they provide their email address. The e-course or special report is then sent directly to their inbox and their email address becomes part of your list.
This is a technique that has been incredibly effective for thousands of savvy entrepreneurs.
2) Exchange One
Maybe you know of another business owner who serves a clientele similar to yours with a complementary (non-competing) product or service. In which case, it might be beneficial for both of you to double the size of your list through a list exchange.
If you’re just getting started, and don’t have a list of your own just yet, there might be something else you could provide for your fellow entrepreneur. You might offer to provide a free ad for their business on your website or feature their products or services in a limited run of promotional materials for your own business. Both of these ideas foster the spirit of “win/win.”
3) Find One
The Dunn and Bradstreet Corporation (a.k.a., D&B) is among the leading providers of business information in the world. If your target market includes a certain profession and/or business clientele, you can use the massive database on their website to create a targeted list.
Entries to this site provide legal and trade names, physical and mailing addresses, geographical descriptions, product and industry descriptors, sales and number of employees, as well as up to 40 vital statistics. This information is often used by large corporations for marketing research services and finding prospective customers, because you can really hone in on the specific types of businesses you are looking for.
And, D&B offers modest subscription services for small business owners that include profiles of the top companies in a wide variety of industries. Their Industry Reports can really help you narrow down on sales prospects, in particular.
3) Buy One
When all else fails, there’s always the option of simply purchasing a list. There are a number of businesses online that offer extremely targeted lists, based on the target market you are trying to reach. Check out www.melissadata.com — one of the good ones. If your customers are consumers, they’ve got a variety of targeted lists you might find interesting, including people who have recently moved, recent graduates, people who are “about to move,” absentee homeowners, people with credit challenges, income groups, people with children, married vs. single people and more.
While buying lists tends to be expensive, it may be a worthwhile investment in the long-term health of your business. Before investing serious money in a purchased list, you should know more about your sales conversion rate so you can build a budget for list-buying that ensures a solid return on investment.
No matter which option you choose, remember – a good list is worth its weight in gold!