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Developing a Customer Mailing List

By: Rachel Newcombe - Updated: 7 Dec 2010 | comments*Discuss
 
Business Customers Gardening Tips

When you’ve got customers, it’s important to retain them. It’s also useful to hold onto any interested ones, in case they can be tempted to purchase from you in the future. For this reason, it’s essential that you create and develop a customer mailing list.

Your customer mailing list serves several purposes. Firstly, it’s a good way for you to keep records of who your past, present and potential customers are. Secondly, it’s a great way of informing everyone about what your business is doing, any special offers you’re having, what products you’re stocking and for offering related gardening tips. Basically, it will help you encourage your customers to continue to buy from you and keep your business name firmly in their mind. All businesses need to create and develop a customer mailing list – in fact, they’d be mad not to.

Creating Your List

You should aim to start creating and developing your mailing list as soon as you launch your business. If you’re really savvy, you could even start it before you launch, such as during your market research stage, and build up a list of potential customers and interested parties to target as soon as your gardening business launches.

You’ll need to use a reliable database programme, ideally one you already have experience of, and create a database to record key details, such as people’s names, titles, mailing addresses, email addresses, mobile numbers and phone numbers. It should be kept updated as regularly as possible, making sure that you take off any people that want to be removed.

It’s important to be aware of the Data Protection Act 1998 and only maintain a mailing list of people who actually want to be listed on it – what’s known as opting in. People can opt in by filling in a card in your shop, emailing you or by filling in a form on your website. Some companies do sell mailing lists, but if you want to avoid sending out information to people who don’t actually want it, and keep your list as targeted as possible and relevant to your local area, then it’s best to avoid buying lists such as these. It’s also potentially tricky to know how the information has been gathered – some may be via debatable means.

Using Your Mailing List

Once you’ve developed your mailing list, don’t just let it sit there, use it! Your mailing list should be a valuable tool for keeping in touch with your customers, sending them details of offers, your latest news and even gardening tips. Depending on the information customers have provided you with, you could either contact them via email or by post. Email has advantages over traditional methods, mainly that it’s cheap and easy to use and won’t involve the need for you to have things printed out. But for those who don’t want to give out their email details, or who aren’t on email, the best way for you to reach them is via traditional postal methods.

Another modern contact method may be to text people, if they’ve provided their mobile phone number. However you’re sending out to your list, don’t overload people with information, as too many mailings can get repetitive. But do keep in contact regularly, so they don’t forget who you are and what you do.

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