A database marketing consultant and founder of The Database Diva, Lori Feldman helps companies increase sales through “drip marketing” campaigns using their in-house database.
I have to admit, while I do have a database, I don’t use it as much as I should to help me grow my business. I rely instead on search and referrals.
But, after noting in my recent blog post, The Day that Google Died, that my business would go belly-up should Google stop offering search as we know it, and after interviewing Lori about database marketing, I’m already making some changes.
In the following interview, Lori explains why a database can help you increase sales. You’ll learn the top three mistakes many companies make – as well as how to implement Lori’s “secret sauce,” the Treasure Triangle.
Dianna Huff: Lori, what exactly is “drip marketing”?
Lori Feldman: Good question! Drip marketing goes by many names: marketing automation, lead nurturing, stay-in-touch marketing, or follow up marketing. These names all refer to the same process: interacting consistently with your customers and prospects — with the goal of helping them move from the top of the sales funnel to the bottom where they become ready to buy.
The key word, of course, is “consistently.” What happens when you do drip marketing consistently is that over time, you begin to close on sales with prospects who were “warm” but not yet ready to buy. Because you’ve kept in touch with them, it’s you they call on when they are ready.
DH: What top three mistakes do you see companies make with regard to their database? And, can you explain each one?
LF: One, people treat every name in their database the same; two, they don’t segment the names in their database; and three, people don’t react quickly enough to the triggers that move people from the top to the middle to the bottom of the funnel.
One, people treat every name in their database the same. By this, I mean that people will send the same email blast to every name in their database. But the people in your database aren’t they same – they all have their own issues and hot buttons.
This is one reason why creating personas is such a good idea. Once you create personas, you have better insight into each persona’s challenges and can then position your company’s services to solve them.
Two, people don’t segment their lists. You can and should segment by source (where people came from), the type of business, customer or prospect, how much the customer has spent over time, and “interest frequency.” Interest frequency refers to those people who keep coming back and consuming your information – but haven’t yet become a customer.
And three, people don’t respond quickly enough when a lead has moved from the top of the funnel to the middle or from the middle to the bottom. It’s all about sending the right message at the right time to the right person.
DH: Ok, stop right there. I’ve heard that phrase so many times, What exactly does it mean and more importantly, how do you know which is the right message and the right time?
LF: Dianna, that is a really great question and the heart of any drip marketing campaign.
Companies typically send three types of email: email blasts, e-newsletters, and drip emails. The problem is that these tactics, which often get lumped together under “drip marketing,” are really three different strategies.
To help people understand this, I’ve created a graphic I call the Treasure Triangle. The Treasure Triangle is the money map to your business.
Most people spend the bulk of their time either on the left-hand side – email blasts or email promotion – or the right side – e-newsletters.
Now, draw a line across the triangle and focus on the bottom half of the triangle – the drip marketing half. This is where most companies lack an effective strategy.
To send the right message at the right time, you have to be aware when prospects change their status and move from the top of the funnel to the middle of the funnel or to the bottom of your sales funnel.
For example, say you have a prospect who won’t return your phone calls, but suddenly he starts visiting the pricing page on your website. He’s a great candidate for a “how to do business with you” drip.
Or, you have a fresh prospect who suddenly starts downloading info off your website, watching all of your videos, and emailing you questions. This is a great prospect for a case study drip marketing campaign – a campaign that shows the prospect success stories of doing business with you.
Here’s another example. Let’s say you do webinars. You look at the attendee list week after week and notice that you have the same people who attend but they’ve not taken any action to do business with you.
Using this information, you can quarantine these prospects and survey them to find out what’s keeping them up at night. Then, you can begin sending them messages targeted specifically to them.
Or, take your existing customers. You can segment them by how much they’ve spent with you and develop a “rewards” program for the people who spend monthly or have purchased a certain amount over time.
DH: Yes! That’s what Staples did. I recently received a call from a Staples account rep. Based on my monthly spend, they had bumped me up to the next tier in their rewards program; I now get a discount every time I buy paper or toner or use their Copy and Print Center.
LF: Exactly. That’s a very smart example of a company using its database to one, identify its best customers and reward them, two, encourage you to stay loyal to Staples and three, purchase more. A win-win for you and for Staples.
DH: Ok, this makes a lot of sense. What can people do to begin thinking in terms of “drip marketing”?
LF: First, differentiate between the information that’s nice to have and the information you must have. What’s that one piece of information all businesses need? An email address. This need is crucial, yet many companies lack email addresses for 75% of the contact names in their database.
Your goal should be to have an email address for each name in your database. One thing you can do is make the email address a required field – people doing data entry can’t exit out until the email address is entered.
Two, send out an e-newsletter and add links to content on your website or blog to determine what people click on. You can capture this information easily enough whether you use an email service provider (such as Constant Contact), or marketing automation (such as Infusionsoft).
As you gather this information and then analyze it, you can then begin creating campaigns based on your prospect or customer types.
DH: Lori, thanks for sharing your expertise with us. This is excellent information – and quite helpful.
You can learn more about Lori Feldman and her business by visiting her
website at databasediva.com. Be sure to subscribe to her Database Diva e-newsletter. You can also register for one of her upcoming webinars: 7 Ways to Use Drip Marketing in Your Business.
Do you have questions for Lori or a tip you’d like to share about using your database to increase sales? Leave it in the comments section. Thank you!