Taking the time to building an opt-in database really pays of in the long run.
15th October 2011

Trying to shoot a mosquito with an elephant gun

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.

Firstly, very carefully define your target audience, not only current but also possibilities for the future.

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:

  • gender
  • age
  • education
  • income
  • profession
  • residence location
  • office location
  • hobbies
  • education
  • educational specialization
  • affiliations

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).

a. Vets
b. Groomers
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.

Tap multiple sources ? it does not matter where the data comes from as long as its funneled into a categorized database.

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:

  • An opt-in form on your website. (the most obvious touch point).
  • A blog is also a great place to collect opt in subscribers.
  • An opt in form shipped with each product or given to the customer at the point of service.
  • Through a referral based system where existing database listees refer friends (for 10+ referrals give a gift etc).
  • Trade shows and trade conferences are a great place to build the database
  • Casual meetings and run-ins. A handshake, an exchange of cards and pop it into the database (if relevant of course).
  • During servicing or troubleshooting encounters through your support staff.

The point I am trying to make is that you need to make database growth a normal part of your business.

If possible and have the bandwidth use innovative events and promotions to supplement the database

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.

Don't take your subscribers for granted. Use your database wisely and sparingly.

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.

When communicating with the database, tailor different messages for different segments.

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.

The best time to get started was yesterday, the next best time to get started is Now!!

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.


If you liked this post do send me a mail on ron@miracleworx.com and also visit our professional site at http://www.miracleworx.com

About Me

He has been in the web development business for the almost two decades.He is a keen student of marketing and business development and writes regularly on web strategy and other related topics which is read and followed by many every month.

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