As is their job, shareholders demand year-on-year sales increases to prove the ongoing health of your business. The economy continues to grow, albeit incredibly slowly, so it’s possible that you may be able to achieve some positive growth through determination and hard work alone.
But serious, share price-shifting sales are achieved by working smarter, not necessarily harder. So here’s what you need to do if you’re serious about making 2017 your best year yet.
Clean your contacts list
Every business has a contacts list, built up from referrals, sales queries and previous customers. And this list is the starting point for almost every marketing operation.
But unless this contact list is being constantly refreshed and added to, any campaign relying on it will be crippled from the outset. Research from Marketing Sherpa suggests that the average B2B contact list decays at a rate of 2.1% per month; by the end of the year that amounts to 22.5% of the total data held being inaccurate. Despite being a shocking statistic, businesses are actually getting better at managing data decay – 15 years ago, some organisations reported inaccurate contact records making up 40%-50% of all data held.
Data degradation is a known challenge for marketers, second only to internal resource limitations in priority.
If I have one regret as a business owner, it’s not focusing on building our email list earlier in the process.
Joe Pulizzi, founder of Content Marketing Institute.
The same rates of decay apply whether your organisation runs campaigns across email, direct mail or telephone – so all businesses face the same problem.
It's the old saying of rubbish in, rubbish out. Not to mention the fact that sending two separate catalogues to Andy Smith and Andrew Smith just makes you look incompetent.
Andreas Bitterer, vice-president of research with Meta Group
Poor data quality is wasting 15% of the average UK departmental budget
Businesses can either bite the bullet and spend out on constantly cleaning their data, or use a subscription-based contacts platform that is constantly refreshed. Whichever option they choose, they must fully commit to it, or risk ending up in the same dirty-data hell they were in last year.
Target contacts more effectively
Segmentation of contact lists is essential to ensure that well-targeted, relevant messages reach the right people. Because a segment represents a smaller subset of the existing contact list, the impact of dirty data is even more significant.
Assuming the contact list is clean, you need to have sufficient detail on each record to create meaningful segments to target. As you work to expand your contacts database, make sure you collect sufficient background information to support the creation of finely-targeted segments.
Just remember that segments must be tailored to your products and services too.
"Will this one thing improve the life, cost, health or well-being of someone?" If the answer is yes, then you have a benefit that can be marketed to this someone who's part of your target market.
Jay Conrad Levinson
Use the right communications channel
The relatively low cost of an email mailshot has seen the format rapidly establish itself as the most popular with marketers. Reports suggest that less than one-quarter – 24.45% - of marketing email is even opened. But with each message costing less than a penny to send, these relatively low response rates are seen as acceptable – particularly as the ROI on an average email marketing campaign is estimated to be around £25 for every £1 invested.
Successful marketing is not about meeting your needs however, it’s about giving your customers what they want. So email may be cheap, but it may not be the most appropriate communications channel for your prospects.
You may even find that a truly successful campaign needs to be executed across several channels:
17% of people only want to receive mail in the post from organisations they deal with
51% of people want to receive mail and email
This of course means having multiple contact details for each prospect – postal address, email address and telephone number. And to ensure that they reach the right person, you need to ensure those details are not generic, or you risk messages being intercepted by gatekeepers.
Create highly targeted offers
Part of the contact segmentation process will involve formulating offers that are finely targeted to the business needs and pains of those individuals. As with most modern marketing, the more closely you can align your target list with your products and services, the better your chance of achieving a respectable conversion rate.
Less than 50% of your marketing and sales communications are relevant to your customers
Customer Communication Index
Over 77% of email revenue is generated by alternatives to generic one-size-fits-all email campaigns.
The Direct Marketing Association (UK)
Targeting Chief Finance Officers with a campaign built around enterprise-class development software is unlikely to result in any responses at all because the audience doesn’t match the product. Instead you should be contacting Chief Technical Officers and Chief Information Officers with your offering, because there is a match between job roles, interests and your product.
Don't neglect your existing customers
You should also consider building marketing campaigns targeted at your existing customers. Although you need to grow your customer base, selling to existing clients will help grow your income more quickly.
Targeting existing customers will require the creation of a parallel campaign, completely separate from those aimed at new prospects. That said, your sales and service teams will be able to provide additional insight that allows you to better address the needs, challenges and preferences of your clients for greater success.
But just like any campaign, you need to be sure that existing customer records are completely up-to-date before you start. Where time is against you, the use of a paid-for contacts platform will simplify and accelerate the data cleansing process.
In order to ensure 2017 really is your best year yet, your business needs to address a number of challenges – sooner rather than later. At the core of any successful campaign is an accurate, tuned, and well segmented contact list. Without this fundamental starting point, no campaign perform particularly well, regardless of the channel(s) you use.
Moving forward, you need to begin building campaigns that can accommodate each of the following factors:
- Clean up your contact list – or buy access to a new one – ensuring that your campaigns are built on a trustworthy data set.
- Use intelligent segmentation to identify prospects with business needs that can be addressed with your products/services.
- Use the right communications channel(s) – many campaigns now need to be executed across multiple channels to reach marketing-fatigued prospects.
- Target offers to your prospects by giving them information about products and services they actually need, otherwise you’re wasting your marketing budget.
- Remember your existing customers because they tend to spend a lot more than newly converted leads.
In the meantime you can kickstart your contacts database growth/renewal process by getting in touch with Global Database. With over 167 million constantly reviewed and amended records, we have the direct contact details you need for a highly successful 2017.
 Database decay simulation – HubSpot - https://www.hubspot.com/database-decay?_ga=1.149826934.1920144789.1440759631
 32% of Your Email Opt-Ins Will Move This Year: Here’s How to Follow Them – MarketingSherpa - https://www.marketingsherpa.com/article/how-to/heres-how-to-follow-them
 National client email report – The Direct Marketing Association (UK) - http://dma.org.uk/uploads/ckeditor/National-client-email-2015.pdf
 7 experts on why building your email list is so important – Campaign Monitor - https://www.campaignmonitor.com/blog/email-marketing/2014/08/importance-building-email-list/
 Clean data, clean profit – Computer Weekly - http://www.computerweekly.com/feature/Clean-data-clean-profit
 Shoddy data practices cost UK firms millions – Experian QAS - http://www.fourthsource.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/04/QAS_Infographic1.jpg
 Guerilla Marketing in 30 Days – Jay Conrad Levinson - http://www.entrepreneur.com/article/234200
 The 2015 UK email marketing benchmark report – Sign-Up.To - https://www.signupto.com/email-marketing-benchmarks/email-benchmark-2015/
 Email marketers optimistic about 2014 budgets as ROI hits 2,500% - Direct Marketing Association - http://www.dma.org.uk/press-release/email-marketers-optimistic-about-2014-budgets-as-roi-hits-2-500
 MarketReach Mail & Digital Part I report – Royal Mail - http://www.royalmail.com/corporate/marketing/insights/mail-and-email
 Customer Communication Index – Silver Bullet Group - http://www.silverbulletgroup.com/research/
 National Client Email Report 2014 – The Direct Marketing Association (UK) - http://www.dma.org.uk/uploads/National%20Client%20Email%20Report%202014_53f6ffec5e966.pdf
 The ROI from Marketing to Existing Online Customers – Adobe - https://success.adobe.com/en/na/programs/digital-index/1209_13926_existing_customers.html
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