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-- Where to find the database for your customer mailing list
Where to find the database for your customer mailing list
Before you think about a list of prospective customer names,
you should first create a database for current customers' names
and develop a mailing list. (Remember, your current customers are
most likely to respond to your future offers.)
Finding the data to include on the customer portion of your
mailing list can be fairly straightforward if you have your own
in-house records. But even then you may have to develop more
sources to obtain additional data about your customers.
Here are some of the in-house records you can use to develop
your customer database:
1. Sales Receipts/Invoices/Order Forms:
These documents can give you the following information: date of
last purchase, dates of all purchases over a period of time, and
amount of money spent with you. You may also be able to determine
what products/services were ordered from you. When using invoices
to compile your customer list, be aware that in businesses they
may be addressed to the Accounting Department rather than the
individual/title most likely to purchase from you.
Especially if your customers are businesses, they may use
two addresses. One is the "Ship-to" address, where ordered items
are sent. The other is the "Bill-to" or "Mail-to" address, where
invoices and catalogs are sent. Make sure you're using the correct
address every time you correspond with the customer.
2. Shipping Records:
Shipping records can be an important source of customer names,
particularly if your product is sold through a dealer or
distributor, and you don't have direct access to customer order
forms. Again, be aware that some customers may have different
billing and shipping addresses.
3. Membership Lists:
Every organization is sure to have a list of its members. If your
organization has several membership categories, this information
should be associated with the member name when you add it to your
4. Registration Forms:
If your organization does not maintain a membership list, you may
still be able to identify your customers from the registration
forms and sign in sheets you use at your events. One approach to
collecting names is to ask attendees to add their names to your
5. Contest Entries:
The entry forms for a sweepstakes, contest, or raffle can be used
effectively to get the names of your customer. This approach might
be most useful if your organization lacks customer records because
you provide your product or service free of charge.
Sometimes, your own records don't hold enough information
about your customers or members. You may have to rely on other
sources to capture additional database information:
1. Warranty Cards:
Warranty cards included in packages of merchandise can be an
effective way to gather information about customers. On the card,
you can request that the customer complete the demographic
information and return it when he/she registers the product.
Phone or mail surveys are another way to gather (and later
update) information on your customer database.
Phone surveys can be used in a number of different ways to
collect database information. For example, you can call customers
and administer full questionnaires to gather complete information
about them. This can be a very costly way to collect data -
especially for a large number of customer. Mail surveys (which
will be discussed later) may be a better technique for this type
of database information collection.
Phone surveys are useful if you are updating or adding
single fields to your database. You may avoid the phone cost
altogether by asking a few short questions each time a customer
calls in - to place an order, get a price quote, etc.
Mail questionnaires can reach a larger number of customer
at a lower cost than phone surveys. Mail questionnaires can be
sent individually to customers. However, to save postage costs,
surveys can also be inserted in mailings, included in packages of
merchandise, or printed on any other correspondence with
customers, such as invoices.
If you have a store or office, you can also conduct surveys
by having customers fill out questionnaire cards when they visit.
Other sources you can use to build your list include:
* point of purchase questionnaires.
* membership application forms.
* questions on purchase orders, statements, invoices.
Your customer names are the core of your mailing list.
This report has described some sources for collecting database
information on current customers. You should consider every
contact with a customer a potential source for collecting such
After you collect this information, you need ways to
initially get it into your database and then to regularly make
sure it's current and accurate. (Out-of-date, inaccurate mailing
lists waste money and reduce results.)
Tags: Sales and Marketing