Just part of the patterns.

Sunday, November 04, 2007

Building a Data Base

I was asked recently by one of my distributors about handing out business cards or brochures at craft shows. It seems that this distributor was getting lots of great comments on the cloth dolls she had made. People were spending time holding and talking about the dolls. They wanted to know if she could do this or add that. After spending time with these customers they would put the doll down and ask for a business card. She happily handed them a business card, but she never received a call or an order from those customers. She was getting quite discouraged. Why wasn’t she getting any call backs or orders from handing out those cards?

I realized that sometimes handing out cards is not a good idea unless someone actually asks for a card. Even then they may lose it or put it in their bag that is soon thrown away. There is nothing is more discouraging then to see your business card or brochure laying in the walkway of a show later. It almost feels as if someone has thrown you away. I am sure most of these people would have called, but they simply lost or misplaced your card.

I discovered I needed to take the control. I knew that people really did like my items, it might not have been the best time for them to purchase or perhaps they were short of cash that day, lots of reasons for someone not to purchase on the spot. This is what I discovered; I needed to be in control of getting back with that person. It was not the customer who needed to contact me. I needed to take this down a different route.

I wanted to create a data base. I needed to create a data base. Successful businesses pay big bucks to buy a data bases. If I am in business I needed a data base of people who would buy what I make. This is what a successful business has, they let this base of customers know about new products or promotions, sales and so much more. Most importantly they let this base of customers know who they are and that they are still in business and waiting to sell to them.

This is what led me to think about taking control when I do a craft show. This is how I started my very own data base. I offer a doll as a door prize at the show. This could be one that I can’t sell or one that I don’t like, any doll that you want to offer in perhaps a nice basket with a blanket. Have slips of paper for customers to sign up with, asking for name and e-mail address. Let them know this is how you will contact them about the winner. I would also tell everyone that there will be second place winners for everyone who gives this information. This could be a percentage or dollar amount off any special order or doll at future shows you may do. People are always looking for a bargain. If you give classes you could even have an area on the slip that might ask would you like to learn to make a doll for FREE. Now, you are collecting names and e-mail address, you are creating your very own data base. How easy is this? Now, something else remember those people who talked your arm off and then asked for a business card and never called, get their information. Ask them for their e-mail address. Tell them that you often run specials and you will keep them informed about upcoming shows or special offers. Most will give you this information, if they don’t how serious were they in the first place. Give them your card anyway and always be professional.

A data base can start with just a few e-mail addresses and build from there. Add people and ask them to refer others to you. Collect everyone’s e-mail address that you talk to and make sure that you send them a thank you email.

Send a bulk e-mail out to your customer list at least twice a month. Let them know that you are still in business and what you have to offer, if you have a website, refer them to it, if you sell on eBay let them know. The more you stay in front of your customers the more they will remember you and refer you. If you do not do this, they WILL buy from someone else.

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