When deciding to carry out prospect marketing there are a few factors you should have already considered; who is your target audience, how are you going to contact them, what is your budget and the return you need to achieve.
MarketingFile have been helping businesses of all sizes with all budgets select their prospect marketing lists most suitable for their direct marketing campaign, so to help even more businesses we’ve rounded up our top tips for your next prospect list.
The importance of the list
In terms of the factors effecting response, the quality of the list is by far the most important element of any direct marketing campaign and even more important than the offer, the creative, the timing or the response device. The amount of time you’ll put into creative should be replicated in the targeting – or your efforts will be wasted on the wrong people.
Who should you be targeting?
In simple terms you should target the people who are likely to be the most profitable to you.
Profile your most profitable customers
Analyse your sales figures by customer and identify the most profitable. This is the audience using your products or services the most, therefore is a good example to base your prospect list on. Often you will find 80% of profits come from just 20% of your customers, known as the 80:20 rule.
Building a profile based on existing clients is an excellent method for growing your customer base and increase revenue. For business customers look at business activity, geographic location, business size, HQ or branch, job-title and any other factors relating to your specific product or service. For consumers consider their age, sex, marital status, where they live, number of children, occupation and income, home and car ownership. If you don’t have this data available you can be creative, keep reading!
You may find that there is more than one definable group of “best” customers – possibly buying different products or services from you. In this case you may need a different offer, creative or response mechanism for each group.
New company or new product launch?
You may not have relevant sales data to analyse, although you should have an idea who your product or services are meant for (and should be carried out in the market research stages). Alternatively you can test the response to your best guess with a small volume campaign before committing to a major investment.
Choosing which database to use
MarketingFile.com gives you access to a huge range of databases. Deciding which one to use is key to the success of your campaign. Consider also that your best prospects may be found in more than one of the databases. In this case you may choose to test the responsiveness and return on investment of each in turn.
Deciding which business list to use will depend on your targeting, if you need businesses within a particular industry such as education or health care use a Business Sector List. Or if you are targeting a specific job title such as Marketing Managers then use one of our job function lists. Alternatively, if you’re targeting a large number of businesses in a specific area then consider a general business list.
If we have the job title you want then great, but don’t dismiss the companies where we only have a default contact. These are usually smaller businesses where the default contact is the boss and is actually the person you need to reach for most purchasing decisions.
Choosing a consumer database
To target particular types of people identify what characteristics or behaviours of existing customers you believe are your most profitable. This may be their financial status, what they are interested in, how many children in the household, what car they drive and much more. If you are not sure then use our general lifestyle database and base on a specific area.
Include the targets you want - exclude those you don’t want
Your targeting should also account for the people you don’t want to reach, this is sometimes more difficult to define but will reduce waste and save you money.
Look down the list of selection criteria and whenever you catch yourself saying things like “age doesn’t seem to matter” or “we don’t have any data on company size” pause a moment to consider if you shouldn’t be including or excluding at least some names based on this criteria, e.g.
- When using an international database – exclude the countries you don’t / can’t service
- When using a general business database – you may wish to exclude public sector organizations or not-for-profits
- Large businesses and small businesses have different buying scenarios – you are unlikely to appeal to both with the same offering
- When mailing consumers – you may wish to exclude the very old
Think about the area(s) you wish to target. Is it a territory that is defined by postcodes or counties? Is it defined by the distance your customer is prepared to travel to your premises? Is it a number of scattered postcode sectors?
If you don’t have detailed knowledge of your target area you are best to limit your geo-selections to include only a single type of selection, e.g. postcode, town or county.
If using distance from a point, bear in mind that this is “as the crow flies” and may include areas you do not immediately consider to be “close” to you, e.g. Kent is only a few miles from Essex geographically but is rendered distant in travel terms.
Be creative - think laterally
Some of the most successful campaigns result from slightly lateral thinking at the targeting stage. For example;
- Selecting people who have credit cards is an obvious choice if that is your preferred payment method, but it is also a good indication that they take credit and may be swayed by an attractive credit deal
- If your product is a people carrier, consider targeting families with large numbers of children (rather than the usual conquest make/model combinations)
What if your count is too big?
You can always reduce your count by taking only records 1 to 1000 but far better to select the 1st 1000 by company size (or whatever is relevant), or even to focus your targeting on a smaller defined target group. If you want to target segments individually, select a number of postcodes at a time. This way you can be sure there are no duplicates in later purchases, even if the list is updated.
Not all our records have telephone numbers on. In fact we are deleting numbers every day as more people opt out of receiving telemarketing calls by joining the Telephone Preference Service. So if you want to ensure all your prospect records have telephone numbers, make sure you select “has tel no” as a selection criteria and then buy the “tel no” field at output.
Single-use or multiple-use?
MarketingFile.com enables you to purchase data for either single-use or multiple-use. The actual license-to-use varies slightly depending on the list-owner who supplies the data (please read the license terms carefully).
Why buy for multiple-use?
To increase your response rate we would recommend you consider contacting each prospect more than once – and at least quarterly. Increasing the frequency normally increases the response rate and many experienced direct marketers prefer to contact prospects monthly.
It makes sense to contact your prospects frequently for the same reasons that companies run a long series of advertisements in magazines or on television. Prospects often require multiple exposures to an advertisement before they buy. Making multiple contacts increases your prospects’ awareness of your company and also increases the likelihood that your message is received at a time that your products or services are needed by them.
Talk to us today about your marketing list needs and who you are targeting and we will find the perfect list for you!