Building a list of Great Potential Clients

from my  old blog: Monday, January 7, 2008

(I’d add social media to this list now in 2009)

One of the hardest marketing chores for many businesses is building a list of great ‘target prospects’ or potential clients to whom one wants to sell one’s products or services.

What are the ideal methods for this?
Naturally, each business or each owner has their own favorite ways of finding their perfect client. Here are a few I’ve used with clients–and a few they use on their own with varied success:

1. rent mailing lists.
This method is truly a crap shoot since you’ve no relationship with the people on the list, so it’s least likely to ‘perform’ for you. But it’s a great way to start testing outreach, and for specific sales campaigns it can generate some good return on the invested cost.

2. post blogs and respond to readers who reply. At least they know something about you having read your blogs. It’s a more likely sale this way, and a great way to build a list.

3. Capture enews or newsletter subscribers by offering something free to them. Again, they’re ready something about your company so your foot is in the door a bit further trying to sell to this list.

4. Social networking. Post links to your site and sign up forms so you can capture their information if they’re interested in what you sell.

5. Networking or speaking to organizations. Collect cards of people you meet in person at events, or networking and build your own list. Since you’ve met the person, know something about them and they you, this is a much faster sales cycle–meaning they are more likely to purchase your products/services sooner since they’ve met you.

6. Go to the library and find companies you want to serve on their proprietary databases. I often find this is much faster than searching online for lists that are not exactly what I need. No kidding, librarians are a vast wealth of info. If ONLY I’d realized that while I was in college 🙂

7. Media lists
, like Bacon’s Directory and similar collections are usually out of date as soon as they’re printed due to a large turnover in that industry. But it’s still one of the best for building a media list.

What are your favorite ways
to build a list? Give us your comments and let us learn from your experiences because after all, Knowledge is Bliss.

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