…is still the way to go
There is no doubt that generating leads is one of the most important steps to turning your target audience into buying customers. Leads, or potential sales contacts, are ineffective unless they are genuinely interested in your offerings, and for any business, identifying leads, targeting them, and keeping them engaged is the best way to turn them into buying customers. This is especially true of companies looking to break into new markets like Africa.
This is where demand generation from database profiling and email blasting comes in, says Louise Robinson, MD of Database360, a specialist in data and outsourced lead generation in Africa and other emerging markets. “Database profiling creates unique, sub-segmented databases to target marketing efforts and personalise your messaging. Your database can be a valuable resource, and will be the difference between targeted leads, and a ‘mud against the wall’ approach.”
She says databases take time to build and contain a slew of vital data on partners, competitors, potential customers and existing clients, making them an invaluable resource for any marketing-wise business. “However, it’s a sad fact that too many companies are unable to harness the true potential of their assets without bespoke databases, which require a database profiling solution and data cleansing, especially in Africa where information is hard to come by. There is clever technology available today to build rich database profiles, which essentially divides a database into smaller, more targeted sub databases. Solutions of this nature enable companies to segment and score their database.”
According to Robinson, lead scoring enables the marketing team to prioritise their database by assigning points to each record based on specific criteria. “An instance would be running scoring programmes across the database to assign points to individuals in a certain income bracket, or a specific industry, a company with over a certain amount of staff, or even a country like Nigeria, South Africa, Kenya, etc. This is known as demographic lead scoring. There is also behavioural lead scoring which takes into account other factors, such as whether an individual has responded to a promotion, clicked on a mail campaign, or filled in a form on the Web site.”
Speaking of segmentation, Robinson says database segmentation is essentially the process of creating individual lists or groups based on specific criteria. “In this instance, the marketing department could put together marketing lists such as a list of contacts in a specific industry that have had some or other interaction with your business in the past year. In this way, personalised communications can be sent to potential customers that are relevant to them individually.
Then there is email marketing, she says. “Email is still one of the best and most cost effective ways of targeting new customers. Growing the value of your customer relationships while at the same time converting prospects into buying clients can be a tough challenge. Email marketing tools can make this job both easy and affordable.”
Firstly, they allow businesses to maximise their marketing ROI. “Email marketing is far more cost-effective than traditional media. It is an easy way of establishing early and long-lasting relationships, enabling businesses to communicate at lightning speed. In addition, responses to emails happen within a day or two, boosting tracking and feedback of marketing efforts. When trying to reach African countries, this is especially useful.”
She says unlike most marketing campaigns, the success of an email campaign is easy to measure, as everything can be tracked, and it is easy to see who clicked on which links and suchlike, giving valuable feedback.
But again, as with databases, in order to be truly effective, email needs list segmentation too – or the dividing of email lists into specific groups based on characteristics and criteria such as behaviours, interests, decision maker contacts, African countries, or demographics.
“Segmenting email lists allows businesses to speak more intelligently and directly with their clients, giving them the information that they want at the time that they want it, making prospecting and profiling of clients easier. Companies who are doing this well are reaping the benefits. Remember, no-one likes a lazy, generic, unhelpful email. It’s a waste of space. Segmenting emails means saving your clients time, and offering them products they are genuinely interested in, which equals a happy customer. And a happy customer is one who will keep returning.”