If you´re a regular reader, you know that I lecture endlessly on the virtues of a clean, updated database throughout the year. However, I also know that it isn´t always possible to regularly maintain a database if you´re as busy as most of us are. That being the case I like to advise my clients on the necessity of database maintenance and end of the year mass mailing. If you´re implementing mass mailing campaigns throughout the year, great. You´re on the right track. However what I´m talking about is an end of the year blowout to get the new year off to a fresh start with new clients and prospects. Now there are a few things to keep in mind before you begin the process.
The sooner you organize your leads the better. Start in September if you can and begin by printing out a list of prospects. I find that it´s easier to go down a list, crossing off the contacts that are no longer valid (disc #, out of business etc) rather than going into the database and deleting files.
Prioritize the leads. Chances are there were hot or warm leads that fell through the cracks throughout the year(s). These were people that at one point or another were interested in your services but for some reason never became actual clients. Be sure to highlight or mark those leads to call later to gage their level of interest. Don´t be surprised if they don´t necessarily have an interest any longer, it´s the price you pay for not following up on a regular basis. In case that happens, don´t worry. The only thing you want to know is their level of interest NOW. Even if they never use your services.
"Clean up" is about making certain that the info in your database is accurate and current. Is the contact the decision maker? Do you have the correct spelling of their name? Is the address correct? All of this will save you time, money and energy down the line if you can verify the info up front.
You will need to stay focused and remember that the only thing you´re looking to do is verify info. You´re not looking to sell or set an appointment. Otherwise cleaning the database will take you all year to complete. The info can be verified via the receptionist or contact´s assistant in a matter of minutes, because you just want to make sure your direct mail piece gets to the right person. Don´t assume. Go thru every call and verify the info. This entire process can take months to complete which can depend on how thorough you want to be and the size of the mailing you want to send. If you have a large database, you may need to do a portion at a time, say every 500-1000 names. Remember this is a mass mailing.
Typically if you´ve cleaned your database and you´re ready to begin mailing you may want to begin sending them around the beginning of December, however the sooner the better. This has nothing to do with data clean-up which should happen sooner rather later. Keep in mind that we´re going into the holiday season and you will want to make sure your direct mail piece stands out from all of the holiday cards and other promotions coming in to the prospect.
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