We recently did a campaign for a client where we had to reach a certain group based on very specific criteria. Although we tried reaching them through mail campaigns and banner ad networks we seemed to be missing the mark due to the very niche nature of the TA (target audience). It was like trying to shoot a mosquito with an elephant gun. Ofcourse in this case we did not have the time to build a database due to the urgent and unexpected nature of the initiative but it sure would have saved a lot of time and money if we had.
When I say ?very carefully' i mean almost surgically precise definitions of the target audience. Its ok if you end up with a smaller database but the rigor you apply to the selection will be worth it in terms of quality if not quantity. Selection should be based on specific criterial such as:
For e.g. if I were attempting to create a database for say Pet Products then I would target the following segments (and by the way this was also a live case for us).
c. Pet Owners with specific breeds
d. Organizers of Pet Shows / Competitions
e. Webmasters of pet related websites
d. Pet magazine publishers
Notice that I have not said ?All Pet Owners', this is to avoid over shooting the target audience group and getting a very lumpish group. Finer the segment the more accurate the targeting.
A common misconception is that you have to run some kind of promotion to collect a database. Although a promotion helps, you can keep adding to the database in the normal everyday course of business.
List the touch points of your business and create a system to collect the data. Common and a few missed touch points could include:
The point I am trying to make is that you need to make database growth a normal part of your business.
If you give people something of value for free, they will not mind subscribing to your database. Seminars (or webinars), free training / orientation sessions, white papers, and other giveaways can entice your target audience to start a relationship with your business i.e. join your database. The key is to build trust and credibility through meaningful giveaways. For Gods sake don't waste someone's time with frivoulous offers and promotions. Give Value - Get Trust.
I see companies do this all the time. Once they get their hands on your email and other details, they bombard you incessantly as if you've given them some kind of God given right. Holding a database is a position of Trust. Use it wisely. Use it sparingly.
The whole idea of carefully choosing and segmenting the database is to be able to target it more effectively. If you send a ?one size fits all' message to the entire database you are loosing a valuable opportunity to connect with the customers / prospects in it. E.g. Taking the above example: A soft warmer message for Pet Owners and a more sophisticated businesslike message for Vets.
So don't waste time get started now and hopefully the next time you need to make that big launch or announce that new amazing product you will already have a group of eager listeners waiting for you.