Here at Deliver we don’t generally write “how-to” stories. Some of us are lucky enough to have resources to tap into and they make our ideas happen. Of course, some of us are more the DIY kind. But because we’ve received so many calls, letters and e-mails on the subject of how to find new customers, we decided to ask a number of experts to offer some advice. Here’s what they said:
Step one for any one-to-one prospecting program is to build a prospect profile based on the characteristics of your existing best customers. It all starts with knowing your current best customers. Use them as the model.
Step two is to hire a list broker. Why? A broker will know where to go to find lists that match the characteristics you’ve identified and be able to optimize them.
In addition, a list broker is accountable. He or she should have a deeper level of knowledge that will help you analyze the lists and the experience to negotiate a beneficial agreement with the list provider.
“A good broker will find the list that is most targeted to your needs and obtain the most deliverable names,” adds Ted Kelter, vice president of Burnett Direct Inc., whose direct marketing clients include Deliver magazine.
Working effectively with a broker requires full disclosure, though. He or she will want to know what you are selling, how the product is priced, who the target is and if you have data analysis from prior marketing response that can be used as a base.
Before selecting a broker, bid the project to two or three. You’ll receive better pricing information and you’ll benefit by getting different recommendations about which lists to acquire and how to target your prospects.
A good broker should be willing to do some of the legwork in analyzing list content, too. Beware the broker who forwards the list data cards to you and asks you to determine which is best.
Key questions to ask, says Kelter, include: How was the list generated? Was it compiled from a catalog mailing or a company offer? Ask to see the catalog or the offer. Are the list owners using the list for their own marketing or have they just compiled it to be sold? How often is the list updated and how is each element updated?
That’s crucial, since statistics from Dun & Bradstreet show that every hour, 58 businesses change their addresses, 41 new businesses start and seven companies file for bankruptcy.
“Ultimately, look for an emphasis on quality,” says Joe Jurkiewicz, account director for GM Transportation Information Services at R. L. Polk & Co.
“Your list provider should have quality processes in place for compiling and producing lists,” he says. “Equally important is finding a provider with the most integrated capabilities, including profiling, studies or reports that provide a better understanding of who the target is. You need more than just a list.”List Management, Prospecting, Small Business