Last night as I watched "Facebook Obsession" on CNBC, it occurred to me that while people are obsessing about how much personal information is captured by online companies like Facebook and Google, they never think about the volumes of off-line personal data available to smart marketers. I get asked all the time, "How is the information gathered for the mailing lists that you provide?" Not surprisingly, it's gathered and compiled in much the same way as online data, and it's used by smart marketers like you to target an ideal audience for your product. This post will provide a very brisk tour of what types of lists are available and their data sources.
Why do you need to know this information? So many people uncover new markets to target that they never knew existed. Once you understand what sort of information is available, you will undoubtedly make better decisions about how to target new customers.
So how is consumer data really collected?
Can you answer "yes" to any of these questions?
• Do you use any loyalty cards?
• Do you subscribe to any magazines?
• Do you make purchases with a credit card?
• Do you mail back product warranties?
• Do you completer online surveys, or surveys when you attend events?
• Have you donated to a charity recently?
• Have you moved recently?
Information is collected and compiled any time you answer "yes" to any of the above questions. There are many other sources that are not even listed; these are just some of the most common. The important thing to understand is that there are huge volumes of robust data available for you to use for marketing.
How can I reach consumers? Just about everyone knows that mailing lists can be complied using geography, but most people are completely unaware of lifestyle mailing lists which instead target prospects based on their hobbies and past times. Examples of these lists include, people who golf, people who enjoy drinking wine, people who listen to opera, people who like to sew, etc. If your target customer demographic lines up with any of these, than this is a much better place to start than with geography alone.
Believe it or not, your charitable donations are tracked and used to compile a Charitable Donors list; this is possibly the most effective lists available for nonprofits to grow their list of donors.
Yes, even medical information is available to use for creating targeted lists. These lists are most commonly used by drug companies, and by physicians who are conducting medical trials. Data collected on surveys completed at health fairs is used to target people with arthritis, diabetes, and many other medical ailments.
Don't worry, US Federal HIPAA laws prevent your medical records from being used for this purpose, but many people volunteer this information because they appreciate receiving coupons for certain medicines, and they like being educated about what types of treatments are available to address their disease or medical condition.
What if my target customers are other businesses? If you own a business or if you know someone who does, then you're probably familiar with the volumes of forms that need to be submitted to local, state and federal government offices. All of this information can be harvested by marketers to determine things like annual estimated revenue, number of employees, and even the name of the president, owner or CEO. In addition, you can easily target certain specific industries like medical doctors, attorneys, architects, etc.
The bottom line is that using precise data to target specific businesses is as easy as using consumer data to target residential customers.
What if I don't really want to interact with my prospect using snail mail? Even if you want to develop a following online, traditional direct mail is a fantastic way to get started. You can pull prospects to your website or blogging using QR Codes or PURLS and then entice them to sign up for your e-newsletter or e-zine. In many cases, it's easier to pinpoint the demographic that you want off-line and pull them to your online content.
Why waste money trying to market to everyone, when you can easily identify prospects who are truly interested in your product or service and market just to them.
If you have any questions about mailing lists, please click here to submit your inquiry-I'll be happy to do some research and determine exactly what's available in your target market for free.
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What criteria do you use to target prospects? Please share your comments below.