A selection of potential email marketing suspects

Does your business have strategies and tactics to separate prospects from suspects? We all have databases full of people we call “leads” and “prospects.” But if we don’t plan to weed out the bad ones before we identify and cultivate the good ones, we waste time cultivating weeds that never blossom.

Imagine you run a restaurant and you plan to introduce a new catering service. Everyone in your client database has eaten at your place. But who among them would be interested in your catering services?

One way to answer that question quickly and easily: Include a brief item about your new catering menu in your email newsletter. Those who are interested in your catering services will click through. Use an email marketing system that tracks clicks so you can identify the people who jumped to your catering menu. Those are your prospects for the service.

Now you can send a follow-up email to those prospects around holiday party time or wedding season. Maybe you’ll send them a direct mail piece or call them if you have their telephone numbers. That depends on your sales process and what’s necessary to close the sale.

Why not send the follow-ups or make the phone calls to everyone in your database? Because a huge percentage of them have no interest in catering. You’ll be wasting time and money, and you will annoy those people who have no interest. You will be cultivating weeds that never blossom. The same tactics and principles apply to any business.

This article first appeared in St. Louis Small Business Monthly

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