Why You Need a Mailing List (or What to Do with the One You Already Have)

September 26, 2011

Mailing lists sometimes don’t get the appreciation they deserve. In reality, they are the backbone of your marketing efforts, especially when you are trying to build loyalty and increase spending among your current customers or clients.

There are plenty of good ways to build your own mailing list. You just need a reason for people to give you their contact information. That can be as simple as holding a contest or calling a client’s secretary to request the information. Once you have the data you need to maintain it in a secure database (you don’t want a hacking scandal on your hands!) and keep it up-to-date.

But maybe you’re wondering why you should go through all of this trouble in the first place. Let’s talk about that.

Customers choose to do business with you for many different reasons. You may be affordable. You may offer a product or service they want but can’t get anywhere else. You might just have the best advertising or sales staff. But those reasons can change. Your customers can forget why they chose you in the first place; they can get lured away by the same things that brought them to you originally.

That’s why relationship marketing is critical: it makes the customers feel important. When you have a mailing list and can send them updates about your business regularly, they feel like you value their business. Plus, you keep your business fresh in their minds so any time they need something you sell it’s your business that pops in their minds and not someone else’s.

Mailing lists are also vital for permission-based marketing. Without contact information, you can’t send emails or newsletters to your customers so you miss out on an entire category of marketing methods.

So now that you understand why mailing lists are an important part of your marketing efforts (or why they should be), let’s look at a couple of ways you can use your list to your advantage.

Idea #1: Birthday and Anniversary Cards

Make sure your mailing list includes a couple of columns for important dates, including birthdays, anniversaries, or other regular celebrations. If you send a customer a card for these events, you are showing them they are important to you. Plus, you can add in a gift. One nationwide jewelry store, for example, offers a free piece of jewelry (sometimes a bracelet; other times earrings) when a customer’s anniversary comes up. The freebie gets them in the store where they might just be in the market for something bigger as a gift.

Idea #2: Where have you been?

Keeping track of your customer’s last visit is also a good idea for your mailing list. Then if someone hasn’t been in for a couple of months you can give them a call, send them an email, or drop them a postcard expressing concern that you haven’t seen them in a long time. Again, throw in some type of deal to make them pay you a visit or respond to your contact. By taking the initiative you could stop some customers from going elsewhere and can even win back customers who’ve tried one of your competitors.

Of course, these are just two ideas you can use with your mailing list. The options are really unlimited.

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