Growing Your DatabaseOnce you have all of the components set up so that you can get data into your database, (as we covered in: “Growing Your Database” part 1), you will be ready to put together some strategies to increase your subscriber base. Growing your database is one of the most important things you can do. We have all heard of the stat that repeat customers generate a lot more income for you than new ones, and new customers cost twice as much to convert. By having a solid database, you can continue to market to ensure repeat business. Below are a few things you can do to quickly grow your database:

  • 1. Contest/Sweepstakes: This is the oldest trick in the book, but it still works very well. Each user to you is worth $x amount of dollars. If you are an online sporting goods company with an average gross of $1.00 per person per campaign and your list is 100 people, then you know you will make $100 per campaign. If you give away a free iPhone that costs $600 (wait, sorry first round iphone buyers I meant $400), then you know you should at least get 400 people signed up to break even on your first campaign. But if you think about it, even if you only had 200 people opt into your email campaigns and you are making $1.00 per user per campaign, then you will start seeing a positive ROI upon your third campaign. You need to figure out what you are willing to pay per user and then build your contest or sweepstakes promo around that. I always like having at least one contest each month. When someone wins the contest, email everyone a picture of the winner or if they don\’t have one at least their name and location (i.e. John from Cincinnati). Also, be sure to announce it on your site so people know the contest is legitimate.

  • Here are a few important things you need to consider:

      a. Make everyone confirm their subscription via a confirmation email that is sent to their address when they register for your contest. It would suck to spend all of that money on an iPhone only to get bogus addresses that don\’t work.

      b. Make sure people know what they are opting into and be very clear they are being added to your database for future messages. Don\’t run a contest to get subscribers for your blog that covers mobile marketing technology and then in the future send email messages about product updates or corporate press releases. Get separate permission for those other types of campaigns. A good idea is to talk about the frequency you will send these messages (i.e. three times a week) and I would even go so far as to provide a link that opens a pop up window displaying what a campaign might look like. It is very important you manage everyone\’s expectations to minimize potential spam complaints.

      c. Each state has different laws about sweepstakes as far as what you need to say and how much you can give away without needing a real terms and conditions. California for instance allows you to give away up to $5,000 without having to have a full sweepstakes terms and conditions. If you are going to offer a big prize, make sure you talk with a company who does sweepstakes rules drafting. This really isn\’t something you should try to do internally as any slip could result in serious legal issues for your company.
  • 2. Viral Campaigns: Viral campaigns are a great way of growing your database quickly; however you have to be equally as careful in how you do it. Let\’s say you have a promotion where you are giving away a t-shirt to everyone who forwards your email to 25 or more people. Just because you show 25 new email addresses in your database (with the forward) does not mean you have the right to market to those people. It is illegal to just start sending messages to those people. However, what you can do is send one message asking those people to join your database. If they don\’t click a confirmation link, get them out of your holding database and never send them a message again. Provide clear instructions in your opt-in email about how you received their information or reference their friend who forwarded the mail. Promote the free t-shirt in the opt-in campaign as well and on the landing page they see after they opt-in so they can forward the message to their friends. This is the beauty of viral; it goes on and on and becomes an MLM.

  • 3. Events:
    1. a. Offline: Offline Events such as parties are a great way to get people to opt-in to your database. For example, The Rubicon Project is a client of ours that holds a monthly networking event here in LA for the technology community. They are using Stun!\’s RSVP Manager to manage their guest list. Attendees RSVP to the event through a custom landing page they created. They promote this event via email and on their website. All attendees are giving the option to also sign up to receive other news and information about Rubicon and its partners. The opt-in process can happen on the form itself, or you can send an additional email at a later date to all attendees asking for their permission.
      b. Online: Online events like webinars are also a great way to build your database. Once you have developed your presentation, promoting your webinar can happen everywhere. You can use ad networks like the Rubicon Project or Google\’s AdSense, place banners, send dedicated email campaigns via partners, and promote the webinar on your own website. All of these links however should go to a landing page where someone can register for the webinar. Here you can ask them to opt-in to your newsletter for future communications. After the webinar is over, you can also send a follow up email asking them to take a survey on how they liked the webinar, giving you one more chance to get them to opt-in to your database.
  • 4. Secondary offers: I like asking people to opt into a database after they performed some sort of action. This can even be done from within your application itself. Let\’s take mobileStorm for instance. After someone sends an email campaign, we know they are an email marketer. We also know they are probably wanting to become a better email marketer so we offer them the ability to opt into our \”Outside the Inbox\” newsletter which covers tips and tricks on email marketing. This secondary offer can also take place after someone purchases something on your site or fills out a \”Contact Us\” form. Think about all of the places you can reach out to your customer after they have completed a main task. If they don\’t want to opt in, they can always close the window or click \”No thanks\”.

  • 5. Partners: Find partners who are willing to share data with you. Using a \”Data In\” API you can connect to your partner\’s web-forms and get that stream of data at the same time they are receiving it. As mentioned above, make sure you are clear why you are sending them this email to minimize complaints.

  • 6. Offline promotions: A number of our event driven customers still walk around with pen and paper asking for people\’s information (or they use our Stun! Wireless program). Either way, collecting data in person is still a good way to grow your database. All it takes is an outgoing individual who is willing to approach people and ask them for their info. Make sure they have a clear pitch as to why they want the data and what they will do with their information. Make sure the subscriber is reassured their data will not be sold. Manage their expectations like you would on a web form. Upload any data you collect offline right away and send a message to that database at the same time. DO NOT wait longer than a week to communicate with these people or you will face a lot of potential complaints from people who won\’t remember why they gave you their information. In the welcome email, remind them again where/why their data was collected and what you plan on sending to them in the future.
  • Remember, with every message you send, always provide clear opt-out instructions and honor it as soon as possible. Follow CAN SPAM rules and reach out to a digital marketing specialist if you have questions or need help.

    If you can think of any other ways to build your database, I would love to hear about it. Please click the comment button below to join the discussion.

    Jared Reitzin
    Entrepreneur Source