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BLOGThe Database Thought Leadership Test

by Randall CraigFiled in: Blog, CRM, Data, Engagement, Make It Happen Tipsheet, Thought LeadershipTagged as:

Are you up for a brief tour of some marketing history?

The Database Thought Leadership Test

Let’s consider the snail-mail mailing list. This was usually a database file maintained in a central computer. To send a mailing, you printed the labels onto labels, and then sent the labels to a mailing house to be manually affixed to what was being sent. Usually the process took weeks.

This evolved to a “computer tape” being sent instead of the physical labels, and the mailing house simply auto-printed and auto-affixed the labels directly. Then snail mail was replaced by the much faster, and much cheaper, fax lists. And the fax lists eventually were replaced by the email list. (End marketing history tour.)

The one thing that these all have in common is the database, which brings us the Database Test. Both the database size, and engagement level, are primary indicators of thought leadership.

Putting aside lists that are purchased, and lists that are scraped from the internet, email lists also have one other important characteristic. Each person on the list is on there for a reason: they are a client, they were at your event, or they personally double-opted in. In other words, they already have a relationship with you.

The question, however, is how strong that relationship is. If they open the email, click on links, reply, forward, transact, or bring up the email topic in a phone conversation, then they are highly engaged. If they never (or rarely) do any of these activities, it is a “dead” list: they may not even see your email as it may be going directly to trash.

Doing well on the Database Test means having a large number of names in your database, AND also having a very engaged list.

This Week’s Action Plan:

The best way to grow your database is to provide incentives for people to WANT to be closer to you. This means providing continual value to your list — eg. your thought leadership. The more people forward this to their network, the more others will join your database… and see you as a Thought Leader. Interestingly, the best way to have an engaged list is to do the same. This week, put together a realistic plan to make this happen.

Database Growth Insight: Another way to grow your list is through partnerships. While privacy laws restrict your ability to trade lists outright, when your partner’s list is exposed to your guest posts, guest webinars, podcasts, etc., many will follow you back and sign up to your list. You add value to their list, while they do the same with yours.

Thought Leadership Insight: While the Database Test and the Social Follower test seem similar, there is a fundamental difference between them: Social Followers are “owned” by each social media platform, while your subscribers are owned by you. A social media connection implies “I know you”; being in your database is implies a deeper current (and future) relationship. For both of these reasons, it makes sense to encourage migration from your social media platforms into your database.

Related Post: Take the next Thought Leadership Test: The Community Involvement Test

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