Respect Your Database
Your relationship with your database is one of the most important relationships in your business. If you manage it properly it will result in continued new business through positive interactions with your contacts.
However, like any relationship, how you handle it is key to whether it works for or against you. Here are some areas to be mindful of:
Adding people from your social media list to your database mailing list – Whilst this may seem a good idea to grow your database, make sure you are mindful of privacy and spam laws as well as the individual’s wishes. Check the specific guidelines governing your area, so that you don’t place your business at risk and consider how the person will feel if you add them to your database mailing list without asking them first. Someone who has connected with you via social media may also prefer communications through this format and respond negatively to being added to your mailing list. Instead allow people to choose how they stay in contact with you and send the same information through both channels to ensure everyone receives it.
Adding people from your networking events – Using business cards you have collected to add people to your database (without asking first) again risks crossing privacy and spam laws and annoying the person involved. Make sure you ask permission to do this, so you that don’t have the opposite effect than the one you are trying to achieve. A good approach (and good networking practice in general) is to email your new contact after the event, let them know how much you enjoyed meeting them and ask them if they would like to be added to your mailing list to stay in touch. Then if they do agree to be on your list they will likely pay more attention to your communications.
Respect their time – The torrent of emails that flood into our inboxes every day can be overwhelming, so be careful of adding to it. Think carefully about the information you send and how relevant it is to your contacts. Also consider targeting specific groups in your database to ensure that the information is as closely connected to them as possible. Keep the emails short and direct (and if possible on one topic) so they can immediately decide what to do with it. Be mindful of the number of emails you send and remember you will likely stand out more if you send less. Not considering how many and what emails you send risks them unsubscribing, which ultimately prevents you marketing your services or products to them and the people they could have referred.
Respect their comments – If a client takes the time to respond to one of your bulk emails then make sure you respond back in person. It can be challenging to do this when many people respond to you but it will encourage them to contact you again in the future and strengthen your relationship by showing you appreciate their efforts. Everyone wants to be heard and appreciated for what they have to say – make sure you are mindful of this fact and commit to responding to them in the same way you commit to sending out the information.
Respect your unsubscribes – If they do unsubscribe (even after all you have done to treat the relationship respectfully) try not to take it too personally – it happens to all of us! They simply may not need your information at the moment or just wish to cut down on their emails – it doesn’t necessarily mean they don’t want to hear from you. Make it a clear and easy process to unsubscribe and respect their wishes to leave. If you do this they are more likely to come back in the future and speak positively about you to others.
A database relationship is like any relationship – you need to treat it with respect and consider the other person’s feelings when you interact with them. Do this and your contacts will stay with you and continue to promote your business positively to others.