Two weeks ago during Ed Rivis' Web Strategies Live Seminar it was mentioned rather frequently: The Money Is In The List.
Three types of lists
When we talk about lists from a business perspective nowadays, lists filled with email addresses is never far from anyone's thoughts and rightly so. Over the last 3 - 5 years email marketing has become an easy and relative cheap way of marketing your business to an almost unlimited number of prospects and clients. Of course it is (unfortunately so) also used to fill as much inboxes as anyone can, no matter if they belong to total strangers who are absolutely not interested in your products or services whatsoever! The delivery method is free, so press "send" no matter what. One or two idiots will still be tempted to buy from you - people do buy the strangest things and for the strangest reasons, always have done so and always will do so.
But if it would be wise to focus your attention (time and effort to automate your "blast a 1000 emails an hour" system) one those two idiots? You'll end up with a lists filled with unqualified leads and risk your IPS being banned. That's IMHO not a list that qualifies to have "money in it".
The three lists I'm talking about are:
- list of prospects
- list of leads on a "long-term" nurture drip
- list of clients
Lists 1 and 2 have one mutual feature: all should be qualified leads, some ready some not yet ready to buy from you but with shown interest in your product/service nonetheless.
List 2 and 3 are the most overlooked and/or ignored lists by most businesses. Most businesses focus their attention, time and marketing budget on turning leads into clients in the shortest possible way and if it that doesn't happen within 5 or 6 emails these leads are dropped from the list (= when using an autoresponder program don't receive any new info - ever). And when it does happen and the lead/prospect becomes a client they receive the product/service and are the forgotten by most. The latter seems to happen for two major reasons:
- the line of thought: once a client always a client
- the eagerness to convert more leads into clients, 'cos that seems to be the way to grow your business
The Money is in all lists
I think we can all agree that there is money in list number 1, but list number 3 definitely makes money for our business and well in the following two main ways:
- back-end products (every wooden floor needs maintenance, so we mail - yes, snail mail - every client every 6 months to remind them about our wide range of maintenance products and our maintenance service)
- building up word-of-mouth, where our existing clients bring us new clients (and get rewarded by the product/service every wooden floor needs: maintenance products and/or service)
And then there is a third reason: our existing clients could decide to move and have wooden flooring installed in their new home too of course (or in the extension they plan to build to their existing home).
If we would not remind them of our existence and our products/services of which they already experienced the quality why would they even think about us when the time comes for either maintenance, recommending a wooden flooring business to their friends or when the need for a new wooden floor arises for themselves?
This leaves us with list number 2: leads on a long term nurture drip. We know from experience there is money in there too - small example: only last Saturday a prospect returned to our showroom after 13 months to decide on their actual floor to be installed next month (and that is not even the longest period a prospect takes, another client took 2 years). I know these are extraordinary examples - but it happens often in our type of business, so we are not very surprised it happens again and again.
Imagine if we had decide after 5 emails 13 months ago this prospect would never make a decision favouring our business and suppose also this prospect had requested quotes from another business too. A business that would have kept them up to date regularly with news on products and services without constantly asking for the sale. Who would have won the sale in the end you think?
Most of the prospects on our nurturing lists don't take that long to come to a decision fortunately - on average a purchase is made within 5 - 6 weeks after "first contact" but as you can see with the above example this average is influenced by those taking longer than 52 weeks ;-)
And all are nurtured with care and attention and once they become clients are cared for again through our strategies and tactics for list 3.
Last week I finalised our management report for the first quarter of 2010 and since using Octane HQ as ultimate CRM system the insight we now have in our lists is even greater.
total new contacts added to the system in Q1: 585
total new contacts in Q1 who've added themselves to the system (by submitting their own details in one of our many webforms): 434 (almost 75% of general total!)
number of new contacts converted into clients during Q1: 80 (14%)
number of returning clients: 5
number of new clients recommended by existing clients: 4
Sources of actual sales in Q1:
And historically Q1 is one of the lesser quarters, believe it or not, but our business does seem to behave rather seasonable.
All in all (adding items 1 - 4 together) our three types of lists have generated 49.8% of our sales in Q1
Easy of switching between lists
Since switching from AWeber to Octane HQ (which now also has taken over our snail mail nurturing) the ease of switching a contact from one list (prospect) to long term nurture drip or client still feels extraordinary to me, no more importing/exporting details from one program to the other. And as I've explained in the series "Pipe-line marketing - going beyond AWeber" the program is versatile and flexible at the same time.
Not only in managing our growing lists, but as I've now also discovered with the report tab in proving once again that the Money Is Definitely In The Lists - in all three of them.