Maybe you do not remember those times, but not so long time, of course relatively, secretaries were responsible for putting most important contact data in Rolodex. Then computer times started which certainly expedited the procedure of maintaining the contact data. But the question remains how to build an email list or database so that it can be more efficient. While thinking about a contact list some may imagine that it is such a simple thing, yet in case of building one we have to consider few significant elements such as creation, maintenance and business contacts.
To make easier building a list or database you can use a software program such as ACT!, Goldmine or Outlook. These contact management software programs run on your computer or handheld. They can be very useful as they can alert you when it is time to make a call to a prospect. In addition, they can be also used as a day planner.
However if your job is about travelling you should consider building a list or database on the Internet. You can use for that Contact Expert which will store all your files of business contacts. Contact Expert has many features and one of them allows you to sort business contacts into one or more lists; so remember about it if you want to build a list. To build a database you should be prepared that it takes some time. However if you are busy and do not have enough time to put all contact data while building a list, for example in Contact Expert, you can always think about hiring a Virtual Assistant. To find one you can visit the International Virtual Assistants Association website. You have two ways of employing one either by contracting a VA on an ongoing basis, or by hiring by the project.
But who should be on the list which you want to build. Before building a database you should ask yourself one more question, namely, who would be interested in hearing from you or more specifically your company on an ongoing basis?
Then during the process of building a database you may also consider creating categories of the list. So you should take these categories into consideration while the list is under construction. First category will be built around people you have already done business with (The Clientele), including your former clients is important as they already know your company and they might be interested in doing business with you once again. Second one will include people you would like to do business with (The Prospects), while building this category you might base it on people you have met at community events, via referrals and even while participating in online discussion. Including them on the list will allow you to keep in touch with them and develop relations with them so in the future they might become your Clientele. Third category might be called Friends of the Studio. In this category you will include people you know that you will never do any business with them, yet they may send some business to you. In these category you can put: collage classmates, former bosses and co-workers, family members, friends, etc.
One of the ways to build a no-cost list is to use the “Who do I know” system. If people you know fit your Ideal Client Profile just include them in database. If they do not fit the profile you can look for your future business contacts elsewhere, in this case you should look into industry directories, trade associations and trade shows, mailing list brokers, new release services, new aggregators, online list brokers and libraries.
Industry directories all are very helpful. Remember that every industry has its own directory which can be used by you to build a database. Trade associations useful as well, but you should keep in mind that some of them specifically forbid using their directories as a business mailing list. Their lists are available to either members of the trade association, or to those who think of joining one. Do not forget about trade shows. Every show entry fee should include a directory of exhibitors. The best way of obtaining a useful piece of information, which can be used while building a database, is to identify exhibitors you want to do business with and gather their business cards. Mailing list brokers might help you to build a list when you have already created you Ideal Client Profile. Just take the profile and show it to your list broker. He will help you find your business contacts, which could be included in your list. Libraries are all also helpful for any kind of business. Every library should have two of the guides to mailing list, including Standard Rate and Data Service Direct Marketing List Source and Oxbridge Communications National Directory of Mailing Lists. Do not forget that libraries have also directories of different business sources. And do not forget about online list brokers like FrescoData and more.
Once you have your business contacts, use them immediately to build a database. Your aim is to contact as soon as possible your leads which you have already used to build a list. But first contact them, and include those in your database who have expressed the interest in your service and those who have entered into your contact manager. This way it will make for a lot less data entry, and time is money as you know. And remember to keep in touch with your business contacts, take the initiative and for sure you will be successful.