One of the biggest missed opportunities most businesses have is not organizing and using the hundreds, if not thousands, of contacts they already have. That is, businesses that use their contact lists effectively have, in our experience, far greater success than those who don’t. This even more important in the time of the COVID pandemic.
Case Study: Local Business with Online Store
Here’s an example from our work at Kona Impact. One of our clients was basically starting at zero when she bought an existing business. There was some good brand awareness, and there were some old mailing lists, but nothing was organized and utilized effectively.
Kona Impact partnered with the business and immediately set out to organize and grow these lists. Through a lot of hard work and planning, we now send out tens of thousands of emails every month, resulting in a business that now is well into the seven figures in annualized online sales. Much of this success is attributable to our data management and email marketing efforts.
Steps to Organizing and Using Your Customers’ Contact Information
- Make a three-month, six-month, and one-year plan. What do you hope to achieve? Do you want to have all your stacks of business cards in a digital format? Would you like to have a monthly newsletter? Do you want to grow your online store 50%?
- Take an inventory of what you have. Do you have fairly complete Quickbooks customer data? How many contacts do you have in your email program? Collect all the printed business cards you have and sort into meaningful groups.
- Digitize everything! We like to use Google Sheets and Excel for all our contact data. Each contact is a row, and we have Name, Street, City, State, Zip, and Email as our columns. We don’t have a Phone column, as most of our work is with online and mail marketing. It’ll take some work to enter the information on all the business cards, but it’s worth it.
- Export all your contact information from your accounting program (we use Quickbooks), your email program, and any other sources you have. Get them into your spreadsheet.
- For email marketing: Now you can import all of your contacts into an email marketing suite. We don’t recommend sending out bulk mail from your email reader program–Gmail, Yahoo, Live, ect. as they won’t have the toolset you’ll need. We like Mailchimp, but there are many choices available.
- For direct mail marketing: We love our Dynmo label printer. They cost about $100 and never need ink, so they will last for years. The Dynmo software will connect to your spreadsheet and in minutes you can print hundreds of mailing lists.
The next step is to work on developing effective email and mail marketing materials. We’ll save that for another day.
Finally, it is very important to continue to build your contact list. Again, we’ll save that for another day.
Getting all your data organized is not what is usually considered a fun task, but once you have it done, you will have a goldmine of data that you can use easily. An email blast to 1,000 contacts might take an hour to design and send. A postcard mailing can take longer, but if you outsource this task, it can take a matter of minutes to reach hundreds or thousands of future customers.