Building a database of business prospects that have opted in to hear more about your product, company, or industry provides a group of people that are most likely to convert into customers.
The best way to turn prospects into customers is through consistent, relevant communication, says Frank Vaculin, CEO of San Mateo, CA-based software provider Spoke Software.
Vaculin says there are a few simple steps to building an opt-in house list. First, make use of published lists and on-demand lead generation tools, such as Vaculin’s company’s Website, Spoke.com, or one like LinkedIn, to create an initial list of prospects that meet your target criteria. You will want to find list sources that allow you to select prospects based on their title, geography, company size, revenue, and industry, as well as locate prospects at the appropriate levels within organizations.
The cost for an individual to put their name on the networking site is free, but there is a broad range of pricing for companies wishing for access to the database, Vaculin says. InfoUSA’s SalesGenie, for example, offers unlimited access to its database of 12 million names for $180 a month. That database includes consumer names as well as business contacts.
Second, use a series of communications that contain product or industry information that will be interesting and relevant to your target market.
Educational pieces that do not directly pitch your product or service usually work well to help generate interest and position your company as a source of expert information. Prospects that opt-in to receive further communications now become part of your inhouse database and can be leveraged when you have special offers or you are looking for feedback on a new product or service.
Vaculin says using an on-demand lead generation tool can help inhouse marketing teams to grow their online databases or complete information on their existing prospects. On-demand lead generation tools provide immediate access to business data and detailed contact information on millions of people, allowing marketers to identify prospects, conduct company research, and access the right people at all levels of an organization.
“The best data providers are able to develop their databases from multiple business information sources including published, Web, and member-contributed data to ensure the most accurate, up-to-date information available,” Vaculin says. “You can search for people by the criteria that is important to you –- lists can be created by industry, title, geography, company size or revenue, as well as identify targets at multiple levels throughout the organization.”
Vaculin adds that these tools also offer marketers the ability to do in-depth research on companies and people, including company and prospect profiles, bio, job history, and business connections. Unlike traditional list sources, you also get complete contact information, including e-mail, postal address, and telephone number. Instead of that list you rented for one-time use, you can customize the content and use the data as many times as you’d like, anyway you’d like.