Getting the right people, companies into email database

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Every marketer has its dream customer—the company that should be on the customer list but isn't for one reason or another. The marketer might be lucky enough to have one or two people from the target company in its email database, but they may not be the right people—the ones who make purchasing decisions.

There are ways to get those people on your list, though, said Jeannie Green, VP-b-to-b group at data provider Epsilon Targeting. “Marketers are really struggling with maximizing their spend,” Green said. “Across the board they are trying to figure out how to add new contacts [from companies already on their list] and new contacts from their target companies. Leveraging data is key.”

Green provides these suggestions to help marketers do just that:

  • Know the segment. Marketers can look at top customers and cross-reference their demographic information and actions with companies already identified as hot prospects. This, Green said, will help refine the list of potential prospects and possibly knock some companies off the list completely.
  • Use the existing customer base. B-to-c marketers have been doing it for years: asking customers for referrals. Marketers can ask customers to forward an email to colleagues—which is especially useful if the marketer already has someone from the target company on its list—or ask them to share names and titles of people they think would be interested in the product. “You can offer them a pricing-off offer or some other type of incentive,” Green said.
  • Ask the sales team. The sales team has its own “get” list, and it's probably fairly similar to that of the marketing department. Work with salespeople to come up with a targeted campaign to send to those prospects even if they haven't opted in. “Inbound, outbound or customer service may have the contacts that you're looking for,” Green said.
  • Do some social media analysis. Twitter provides a way to communicate directly with anyone who has an account, and its database is searchable. Marketers can send out an introductory message with a link to their newsletter sign-up page. “I'm not sure how many people are doing this right now or if anyone has figured out a way that works, but at some point [Twitter] is going to be a big part of the interactive mix,” Green said. Marketers may even be able to start a dialog by “following” potential prospects because many people will automatically “follow” back out of courtesy.
  • Identify purchasing behaviors. You can't make a sale unless you identify what helped you close previous sales, Green said. “Which emails did they open? What actions did they take right before they made a purchase? You'll want to look at their known purchasing behavior to create a list of relevant behaviors you'll be watching out for.”
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