You Can’t Buy the Best Mailing List in the World
A good list can outperform a bad list by 10:1. But what makes a good list?
Unfortunately, you can’t buy the best mailing list in the world. You already own it. You may not yet have enough names to ring up the sales you need. But there’s no amount of money you can spend that will outperform this golden database. That’s because the best mailing list is your existing customer database.
These proven buyers don’t need a full-press sales pitch to buy again. They’re already pre-sold on your future offerings. All you must do is keep in touch with them and make suggestions on what they should buy next time.
However, many salespeople and business owners have to find new customers, so they need new prospect mailing lists. The best prospect mailing list is the one that has the closest demographics (or firmographics) to the company’s best customers.
The way to determine this is to do an “80/20 audit” of your customer database. If you manage your customer database in a contact manager, like ACT! Software, it’s easy to this audit quickly.
Many times I hear, “Everyone is my customer…anyone can buy from me.” While it may be true, no one has enough time or money to market themselves to *everyone.* An audit demonstrates that this is typically untrue anyway. You do dominate a niche…you just have to uncover which one.
Who is on the top 20% of your customer list responsible for 80% of your sales? If you don’t have a customer database, use your accounting software, and follow these 5 steps:
- Run a report showing each customer’s year-to-date sales for the past 2 years
- Export that info to an Excel spreadsheet
- Sort the revenue column in descending order
- Calculate 20% of your total revenue
- Starting from the top of the list, go down until your reach that cumulative dollar amount. For example, if your total revenue is $2 million, go down the list of customers until you reach the list of customers who contributed $400,000.
Now really study who’s on this short list. (If a customer dropped into your lap from nowhere, and this occurrence will never happen again, scratch him off, and keep moving down the list. We’re looking for repeatable demographic profiles.) What do these customers have in common? What’s going on in their lives, companies or industries that made them buy from you?
Keep a notebook of your discoveries. It will come in handy when you do the next step in the research process. I’ll guide you through that next time.