• Kaitlyn Merola

Is there business value (revenue!) hiding in your current database? I guarantee it.

93% of B2B marketers use email to distribute content. (source) This statistic is no surprise, right? When you hear it, you think about how prolific email really is and how it's truly become a staple in how marketers do their job. But in order for this to be the case, all of these marketers must have a database to send their emails to. That's what I want to talk about here, your database. Let's start with where those long lists of names and email addresses come from...


If you're doing it right, then as part of your buyer's journey, leads interested in your product or service will provide their email address to you when they request a demo or download an ebook. The idea being that over time you'll start to accumulate quite a database of leads to then work creatively to nurture and ultimately convert into customers. Although this process takes time and lots of thinking outside the box, it's the right way to go.


If you're doing it wrong and think you can skip the work of building an organic database, then you'll purchase a list of outdated email addresses and/or people who will never be in your buyer pool and start "nurturing" from there (not recommended!).


This is all well and good, but what I've uncovered in many of my recent conversations with clients and colleagues is that these databases are hugely underutilized. Although it's important to execute on strategies for database growth, i.e. lead generation, it can also be just as big of a game changer to take strategic steps to squeeze out as much of the hidden value sitting in your current database as possible. Here's how to do that:


Use your data to segment


Segmentation is critical in figuring out how to effectively extract revenue sitting in your database. In most cases, even if you're just starting to scratch the surface with marketing automation, there are data points surrounding engagement behavior that can majorly inform how you segment.


For instance, here are some ideas to get you started:

  • those who have opened 5+ emails

  • those who have clicked at least 2 emails

  • those whose last email engagement behavior took place less than 14 days ago


I know you're probably thinking this is basic, but there have been too many people I've talked to, and/or I've actually snuck a peek at their database with my own eyes, that do not segment their database in this way. Most marketers initially segment based on what little they might know about their leads. In other words, the lead's demographic or firmographic data points.


Some examples of segmenting by buyer persona characteristics are:

  • those with similar job roles or job titles

  • those who work at companies in the same size range (by ARR or # of employees)

  • those who work at companies in the same vertical or industry

  • those who work in the same geographic location


It's infinitely harder to uncover and capitalize on high-value groups, repeat customers, and upsell opportunities within your current database without an organized and defined matrix for segmentation. In fact, it's reported that marketers who use segmented campaigns note as much as a 760% increase in revenue. (source)


The point here is that once you have a sense for how to impact your most valued segments, you'll be in a winning position to put structures in place for repeatability across all segments.


A/B test your messaging


There are many ways to A/B test your messaging, branding, and positioning of your product or service using your existing email database. I like to recommend to my clients who are questioning where to allocate budget in terms of their marketing channels to hold off on spending a ton of money on digital ads or social media retargeting until they've tested, and tested again! It can be quite costly to use digital advertising as your means to figure out if a certain snippet of messaging resonated (or didn't) with your audience.


So, use your current email database for this instead. Create as many versions of the same email as you wish and deploy to your segmented database (choosing one group per version). The best elements to start testing include subject lines, headlines, CTA button (color, language, or placement), and the hero image. Of course, just choose one element at a time to test!


Based on engagement metrics over a series of thoughtful tests, you'll be able to determine how to best write, design, and position your future emails and digital ads - as well as other marketing materials - to maximize your spend. You'll feel empowered by the insights you garner through your A/B tests, you'll start to understand your own audience a bit more, and you'll better know how to realize ROI through your other marketing channels.


The business value you're extracting from your database is knowledge. The more you know about your target audience and which types of messages maximize conversion rates, the quicker you'll influence the sales cycle going forward.


Create automated email campaigns


A clean database segmented by important buyer information coupled with solid findings from well-executed A/B tests will leave you in a great position to start putting together email nurturing campaigns. These automated campaigns act as that steady drumbeat, pinging your existing database with the right content at the right time (and the right frequency!) to ultimately fuel new interest and/or spark repeat interest in your product or service.


I've seen the power of these campaigns first-hand. Get creative with it! Perhaps set a goal around igniting a group within your database that you've categorized as inactive or dormant through the deployment of a nurturing sequence. In this case, let's say these people haven't opened an email in 90+ days. You can focus the messaging around a "we miss you" sentiment or eliciting a feeling or FOMO (fear of missing out). I've also seen limited time offers or special promotions work well to poke an inactive group.


Ideally, your digital marketing engine should include an automated lead nurturing email campaign for each database segment. Over time you you'll have the content to distribute and the means to tailor that content for each. Virtually all (96%) marketers agree that personalization advances customer relationships. (source) Personalizing and executing on these types of campaigns will result in the extraction of any underlying interest that may exist within your database.

Final Thoughts


Sometimes turning your lens towards the assets you already have can be the best pathway towards growing your business. Think of your database as a sea of untapped knowledge, power, and in most cases hidden revenue. It's up to you to do the smart work to find it.


Questions? Or, are you ready to talk about your database and how to capitalize on what could be hiding in it for 2020? Chat with me!

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