Five Steps to an Effective Client E-mail Database

How many print buyer e-mail addresses do you have in your database? Where and how do you maintain them, enabling you to market effectively and efficiently?

The best-run printers have a good grasp on this. Doing a better job in this area is essential to stay ahead of the competition. Keeping your name in front of your customers must be a priority.

Recently, I had the opportunity to work with a group of printers who got together every six months to help each other with strategic planning. The group decided to survey customers using e-surveying techniques to quickly find out how they were doing, benchmark performance with each other and probe into several marketing areas.

I was surprised to find that some of the printers did not have a handle on their customer e-mail addresses, yet actively manage phone numbers and mailing addresses. I know our phones don’t ring like they used to, but e-mail volume has more than made up for that. We all get a continuous flow of e-mails from clients and prospects. Welcome to the Internet Age.

The basic requirement of any e-marketing or e-surveying project is to export your customer database out of your estimation and production system—the one place with the most accurate list of active customers.

It is amazing how many printers have their customers’ e-mail addresses in different places or in disconnected systems. How do you leverage customer information if the data is fragmented, on a laptop not connected to the network or in an individual’s e-mail address book?

You must have a central place for managing customer contact information, and it all begins with order entry. Granted, there are other decision makers you want to track, but many times, contact information for people responsible for the next order are included with the current order.

Michael Casey is the founder of Survey Advantage and strategic partner with several printer associations and franchises. By leveraging information from a printer’s estimation and production software, Mike’s business has helped hundreds of printers automate their customer feedback and lead generation process. He may be reached via e-mail or (401) 560-0311 ext. 103. Read printer case studies on the Survey Advantage Website.
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