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Database Growth: Where Are My Customers?

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by: Richard Austin (@biggestof)
26 July 2012

A few months ago Loren McDonald posted a great article on using emerging channels to drive database growth. Adding these new channels to those we’re already familiar with, such as online checkout, gives us a wealth of tools but can also be a little overwhelming. So, how do you answer the key question, “Which one is best for me?”

Actually, the title to Loren’s article contains a hint to the answer: “Be where your customers are.”

Research compiled by the Email Experience Council shows that database growth occurs most strongly when associated with high-engagement activities such as shopping online (45 percent to 70 percent) or forwarding a viral message (up to 85 percent).

Compare that to less-involved methods such as email append, which matches between 15 percent and 25 percent of contacts (and also costs money), and it becomes clear that targeting areas of high engagement with your brand is the best way to significantly drive the growth of your contact database.

The key question, then, is “Where do your customers and prospects engage with your brand?” Is your website the primary place for customers online, do you have significant footfall in-store, or is your app’s download rate growing month on month?

Whichever it is, identifying the top five places that your customers interact with you and choosing the appropriate tactics for each will give your database growth campaign the ongoing boost you’re looking for.

So, how do you identify which touch points have the highest engagement factor? Traffic or footfall volume is an obvious indicator, but there are four other factors that should be taken into consideration. These are prioritised below, and the answers to each should be used to complete a matrix that identifies the most valuable places to drive database growth.

1) Customer Involvement

  • Is the customer actively engaging with your brand at this touch point?

2) Traffic/Footfall Volume

  • Does the touch point experience high volume?

3) Seamlessness

  • Is the opt-in request a natural part of the process? For example, asking a customer to opt in when making a complaint will not grow your list, asking them at the point of purchase will.

4) Customer Value

  • Does the opt-in request add or further the value that the customer is experiencing or looking for?

5) Ease of opt-in

  • How easy is it to opt in from the touch point?

By rating each factor “High”, “Medium” and “Low,” you can get an immediate understanding of your most valuable touch points and those that will most benefit your database growth programme.

Finally, note that an acquisition programme isn’t necessarily a database growth programme. Your CEO won’t care that you’re adding 5,000 new contacts per week if you’re losing 6,000 in the same time frame.

Therefore, make sure you back your acquisition efforts with a customer-focused email programme so that you retain contacts, grow your database and maximise your revenue potential!

Related Resources:
1) “Using Mobile, Social and Local to Build Your Email Database” (infographic)
2) “Email Opt-ins: Be Where Your Customers Are” (blog)
3) “Using the New Facebook Timeline to Drive Email Opt-ins” (blog)


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