If you read my last article on Proof content marketing works, I wrote that next to good service, your database can be number two in bringing in new business.

I promised a good database story too. Here it is.

Come back with me to 2012. I had just sent out my first email newsletter of the year. 20 minutes later, along with the normal slew of out of offices, mail delivery errors, changes of address, unsubscribes (sigh), an email came in with a lovely compliment on the newsletter. It was signed Kate; and had a P.S. inquiring if I conducted the small group training I had mentioned in the newsletter in Australia.

Isn't this what you want when you send out your marketing communications? Enquiries. The smile on my face was quickly wiped off as I noticed that my subject line in the newsletter to her, had been addressed 'Kylie, wonderful life and business quick tips to start 2012 with'. Her salutation was Kate.


I said to myself 'oh no. I've got a mistake in the database. Addressed to Kylie and her name is Kate'.

I keep the date and the source of each person on my database. When I went to check the records, my jaw dropped in amazement. Kylie/Kate had been on my database since 2003. Nine years!

She joined when I spoke at the financial services conference in which she was a director at the time. As the years passed I learned later, she started a new business and wrote in to change her email address. Our office didn't look closely to notice she had slightly changed her first name too.

Another 12 months passed. A one liner in my newsletter caught her eye and yes, Kylie emailed again and another piece of business.

What is the relevance?

1. Your database can be your goldmine.
Are you keeping one, or simply letting people walk in and then out. Call and hang up. Come to your website and leave. It pays to be proactive instead of reactive.

2. Persistency pays. Heaps
Sending a newsletter - or any communication plan must be a long term view rather than a 'I'll try this once, twice, to see if it works'. In this instance, my persistency was rewarded nine years later. However when you think about it, when you push send for your newsletter via email, the cost per person is miniscule.

3. Relevant and valuable
Do you think that Kate would have changed her address and stayed on the database if she wasn't getting information that was pertinent and valuable to her? You can of course have the 'selling' in your newsletter, but it must be tempered with an ample amount of material your database recipients will find interesting and worth staying on your list for.

Would you have been able to kept Kate?

P.S. Yes, she's still on the list. She's one of the hundreds who responded to my please help email that I wrote about in my last column.