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Are There Hidden Profits In Your Customer Database?

Most businesses fail to understand the critical importance their database can play in generating huge or even colossal profits for their business. Some companies do not pay enough attention to it, especially checking the data is up-to-date. It’s commonly known amongst marketers that your database is generally the hidden gold in your business. It is…

Most businesses fail to understand the critical importance their database can play in generating huge or even colossal profits for their business. Some companies do not pay enough attention to it, especially checking the data is up-to-date.

It’s commonly known amongst marketers that your database is generally the hidden gold in your business. It is also the most valuable asset you hold, if it’s up-to-date, aside from your reputation.

With this in mind, it’s important that you spend the time to verify the data you hold is correct. Why on earth would you spend time marketing to attract customers and then allow their data to become old and useless? It just doesn’t make sense does it!

How to generate sales from your database

Of course the most obvious and well known method of generating sales is to use your database for your own marketing. Whilst almost out of favour these days, please do not rule out sending direct mail to prospects and/or existing customers. Very few companies send mail to existing customers. Why not? Why allow the customer to forget about you? Why assume this customer knows everything about your company and the range of products and services you sell? It’s ridiculous, however I can guarantee you that this happens so frequently.

Marketing to existing customers should be as normal and usual as marketing to your target market. Of course you create different offers, packages etc to make them feel valued and at the same time, you’re trying to educate them. In essence, you are conditioning them towards their next purchase.

Why direct mail? These days, with rising costs and marketing gurus trying to sell you their latest email marketing course, it’s easy to think that email is the low cost-high return option. However you shouldn’t rule out sending your marketing by mail too. Think about it…how much mail do you receive these days? Most likely, you’ve noticed a significant reduction. If you found a letter from a known supplier in your post I’m sure you’d be curious and open it. After all, you’re a customer and therefore should already trust the sender.

Direct mail stands out these days as there is so little of it. It’s too easy to click and delete an email, especially if you receive so many in a day and it takes over an hour to clear your overnight emails.

If you really want to stand out and generate massive curiosity from your target, why not send your email via Fedex or similar post system. Yes, it’s more expensive, but tell me, how often do you receive letters via Fedex? I’ll wager you’ve most-likely never received such a letter. Wouldn’t you be curious and want to open the letter? I would. I’d also think very highly of the sender for taking the time to ensure I received their letter by sending it in such a special way.

The second way to use your database is to send regular messages and updates via email, as long as the content has value and is worth reading. It’s the low-cost way on connecting with your customer. However, rather than just send the email, wouldn’t it be nice to follow up with a phone call. This gives you a great opportunity to get to know this customer better. It also allows you to check the data you have, potentially add more data. This is also a good opportunity to ask questions to understand how this customer has used your products/services and whether they fully met their expectations. This opens the door for special offers/additional sales opportunities. You may also receive great ideas for product development and future offers if you listen well enough and ask great questions.

The most overlooked database opportunity

Whenever I present my marketing master classes, I’m always staggered at the almost blinkered approach many companies take. Business owners seem to think that the answers to their problems always lie within their own industry. It’s a fallacy. When you broaden your horizons and begin to talk to business owners in other industries it becomes clear that in general, you have the same problems. Sometimes, one industry has solved a particular problem. The solution is transferable if you have the foresight to it.

I tell you this because these ‘blinkered’ businesses do not see how to utilise their database for even bigger profits.

I’m not talking about renting your database and breaking data protection laws here. No doubt you’ve experienced buying a product from one company and before you know it, a “sister” company is writing to you to sell their products and/or services. Or you suddenly receive spam emails from companies you’ve never heard of because your email address has been sold.

There are ways in which you can use your database to extremely good effect without allowing another company access to your data. How do you achieve this?

The key here is finding a company that wishes to sell their products and/or services to your database. In other words, you share the same target market but selling different goods that are non-competing. You approach this company to arrange a joint venture between your respective companies.

Your JV partner then prepares marketing material for you to send out to your database. Remember, you are a trusted adviser in the eyes of your database so they are already warm to whatever you may offer. You send the marketing via your email system or direct mail. Your JV partner never acquires your database to send the marketing. Therefore they have to pay any hard costs such as postage.

Your job is to write a letter/email to your data base endorsing your JV partner and presenting them and their offer. The mail is coded. If your customer likes the offer and buys from your JV partner then you receive a share in the profit. This can be a one-time deal or for the lifetime of this new relationship you helped create.

This type of partnership can be repeated many times so long as you find the correct JV Partner.

Of course, the success is in the detail behind the scenes and not something to discuss in this article. However, I’m sure you understand the massive potential you have to grow your business profits utilising this method. I presented this at a seminar not too long ago. One business came to see me a while after the presentation to thank me and told me that I had just added another £60,000 in net profit to their business from this one idea.

Joint ventures are superb ways to massively grow your business if you understand how to create them and harness the good in them for the mutual benefit of each party to the JV. If you use it as a self-serving profit-generating method then you miss out on the full range of profit-making spin-offs that are available through a good joint venture.

I hope this article has provided a few simple ideas for you to generate significantly higher profits from your database. Look after your database as it really is the hidden treasure in your business. If you decide to sell your business, one of the greatest assets you can have is a huge, up-to-date and active database.

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