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Recognising the different stages in the b2b sales process can help you gain new leads and convert them into business....

1. B2B Prospects

A prospect is a company which could buy your product or service, but that you’ve never contacted before. This doesn’t mean every other business in the country is a prospect – just the ones which might actually have the need for your product or service, and the resources to pay for it. Prospects should be the target of your direct marketing and field sales activities. They can be identified and gathered in a number of ways, and are usually managed in a prospect list or database.

2. B2B Leads

A lead is often confused with a prospect, but is in fact a prospect that you have had some contact with – either by them contacting you, or you approaching them directly using field sales, telemarketing, or direct mail. Leads are often managed by the sales team, whose job it is to try and convert the lead into a customer as soon as possible.

3. B2B Customers

The most important conversion your sales process needs to achieve is from Lead to Customer. It may only be a small one off or sample order, but they are still a customer, and your relationship with them has changed forever. Now you can focus on building a relationship through your customer service team, and regular communication using direct marketing, service calls and newsletters. You also need to get the valuable second and third repeat orders which are the sign of growing customer loyalty.

4. B2B Clients

Clients are customers who buy your product exclusively from you, and not from anyone else. In other words you have become the sole supplier. For some businesses such as accountants and banks it’s normal for customers to become clients from the start. For others, converting a customer into a client can take much longer. But it can be worth the wait. Clients will usually buy more frequently and are also a great source of recommendations, referrals and testimonials.

Are you sure when you should be using direct mail, or how to achieve the best results from it? Here’s some examples of when direct mail can really help drive business growth...

Use Direct Mail to Gain New Customers

New business development and customer acquisition all mean the same thing – gaining new customers for your business. And direct mail has an important role to play. Working from a profile based on your existing customers you can use direct mail to target more of the same. Or use direct mail to reach new types of customers in new areas, or launch new products or services.

Use Direct Mail to Sell More to Your Existing Customers

If you take into account the acquisition cost of gaining a new customer, it may be that you only start to turn a profit when the customer repeat orders for a second or third time. Therefore use direct mail to contact existing customers and sell them product replenishment, upsell to larger purchases, try new products, or get repeat purchases.

Use Direct Mail to Keep Your Customers for Longer

Direct mail doesn’t always have to generate a sale. It can also be used to speak with your existing customers more often and build a closer relationship with them. They’ll be less likely to defect to the competition, and more likely to become an advocate for your brand. Direct mail campaigns of this type often use newsletters, vouchers or third party offers to add value.

Use Direct Mail to Cut Out the Middle Man

If you are in a market where you’re reliant on a middleman or intermediary, then direct mail can often be used to target the end user directly. Because it is aimed at the individual, mailings can be sent straight to the people you want. And because direct mail is low profile, it’s less likely to be seen by your distributors or competitors.

To summarise, the best time to use direct mail for your business is whenever you need to achieve measurable results and you know exactly who it is you need to speak to. If you need help and advice in using your direct mail, call the team at Selectabase now on 01304 382211.

Use direct marketing to keep your salespeople topped up with regular sales leads and prospects.

If you are responsible for marketing within an organisation with a sales team, you’ll recognise the pressure to keep the sales department fed with new leads.

Instead of throwing budget at poorly targeted above the line press ads to try and drum up new leads, below the line techniques like direct mail can help you target prospects and convert them into qualified leads far more cost effectively.

Direct mail campaigns targeted to lists of potential customers, profiled to match your target market, provide a number of benefits over alternative marketing channels:

• Mailings can be carried out on any scale and whenever you need them, so you could mail small volumes monthly for a steady supply or send a larger campaign to achieve a bigger hit in sales.

• When your mailing data is linked up to or imported in your own internal CRM sales database, then you can track exactly which recipients responded and which ones your sales team then converted into customers. This can help you measure the success of your campaign more precisely.

• Mailings can also be targeted by market sector or location, so you can support different sales reps in their territories or push sales of specific products or services.

• As well as generating direct leads or enquiries for your sales team to follow up, mailings can also be used to warm up recipients for a subsequent telephone follow up, or give recipients an opportunity to opt out of receiving such a call.

Selectabase provide a range of different mailing lists which can be used to support sales teams. From regular monthly business or consumer lists from New B2B, New Brides and Birthday Mailings, to bespoke list selections from Prospect Download.

Mobile phone users can now add their number to the TPS register by texting ‘TPS’ and their email address to 78070.They will receive a text reply from the TPS confirming their mobile number has been successfully added to its database.

The Telephone Preference Service (TPS) allows consumers to opt out of receiving any unsolicited telesales calls. TPS is a legal requirement that telemarketers do not call a number registered to the TPS.

It is important you check your prospecting lists before dialling.

All lists ordered from Selectabase are checked for you on the day you download your list. If you have your own list Selectabase provide instant, easy and low cost TPS and Corporate TPS checking direct from

Call 01304 382211 for more information.

Everybody with an e-mail inbox is familiar with e-mail marketing campaigns. Every day, you open your inbox and find a fresh batch of alluring e-mail subject topics demanding for your attention. Which will you click? And which will you delete?

For anybody who utilises e-mail marketing, the questions are harder to answer. How can I improve the effectiveness of my e-mails, boost open rates and increase clicks rates? There must be some way to test e-mail campaigns, right?

Of course there is!

Introducing A/B Testing

A/B testing for e-mail marketing campaigns involves sending two e-mails to two different groups from your mailing list to monitor the success rate of each. The first group receives one e-mail – let’s call it version A. At the same time, the second group receives another e-mail – which is slightly difference from the first – version B.

You then monitor the success of both e-mails. The success rate can be measured by the amount of e-mails opened or the number of click-throughs. The most successful is then sent to the remaining contacts on your mailing list.

Sounds simple, right? It is. And it’s very effective. However, there are a few things that you can do to optimise your testing.

A. Test one thing at a time

To determine what works and what doesn’t you should test one thing at a time. You can test virtually any aspect of your campaign.

If you’re concerned about the number of people opening the e-mails, test something they will see without opening the e-mail. A perfect example would be the subject line or how the e-mail displays the “from” name.

If you want to find out how to improve click throughs, try different offers such as 10% off in version A and free delivery in version B. Try changing the format of the content. You can even try a linked image in one and linked text in the other.

Test as many aspects as you like - just make sure you test one at a time! If you test everything at once, you won’t know exactly what worked.

B. Make sure no subscriber receives copies of both e-mails

For the test to work, you need to send the e-mails to different groups of contacts. No subscriber should receive a copy of both e-mails. You’ll end up sending conflicting messages and overwhelming subscribers.

For the best measurement, each group should be made up of at least 100 names. Once you get the results, you can then send the best option to the remainder of your contact list.

C. Send both e-mails at the same time

Your test won’t be accurate if you send version A at a different time to e-mail B. As the posted time could be a contributing factor to the success or failure.

Having said that, this could be something you choose to test. By sending out the same e-mail on different days or at different times, you could discover the best timing for your e-mail campaigns. If you do choose to test this, you must remember point B above, and keep the other factors the same.

Can we help?

If your business needs a reliable source of new contacts, we can help at Selectabase. We provide local and national business and consumer mailing lists. Alternatively, you can find **more information about Selectabase and read feedback about our service.

In today’s age of technology, you would think the most successful marketing strategies would include e-mails and social media.

As much as these two platforms have a firm place in the marketing world, direct mail campaigns are still proven to do wonders for marketing. In this blog, we explore five direct mail facts that will have you rethinking where to invest your marketing budget.

1. Young adults prefer direct mail to e-mail marketing

According to Forbes, people between the ages of 18 and 34 prefer to receive information about offers via their letterbox than their inbox. When you think about the number of young adults with a preference for phones, tablets and laptops, this is particularly striking.

2. Direct mail marketing campaigns provide the highest return on investment

A research study on marketing campaigns discovered that social media came second to direct mail methods in terms of return on investment. You would think that the expense of producing a direct mail campaign would outweigh the benefits, but this isn’t the case. People are more likely to open and read direct mail marketing than e-mail marketing, which explains why the return on investment is so much better.

3. Direct mail has a higher response rate than e-mail marketing

Not only do more people open direct mail compared to e-mail, but more also respond to it. Harvard Business Review found that 25% of those targeted by direct mail campaigns took action on the mail they received. Digital means came second again with e-mail responses totalling just 23%.

One of the best features of direct mail is that the recipient is made to feel that they are receiving information about a product or service, rather than an aggressive sales pitch. Using this method to educate rather than sell piques the customer’s curiosity, so they want to learn more, hence the higher response rate.

4. Recipients are more likely to deal with direct mail than e-mail immediately

Figures show that 79% of recipients will deal with direct mail instantly. When compared to the amount of people who will respond straight away to e-mail at just 45%, you can see there is a massive difference.

With the flood of e-mail marketing delivered to our inboxes every day, it’s much easier to delete or move to junk than read each one. As a result, e-mail has to be especially eye-catching for us to take notice. Direct mail doesn’t have the same competition. When faced with a couple of white envelopes on the doormat, we are more likely to see a bold, colourful flyer, and respond to it.

5. Direct mail attracts repeat business

Research has discovered that 70% of those who no longer used a business go back to them after receiving direct mail. This is a tremendous amount of clients, whose custom would otherwise go elsewhere.

Rethinking your next marketing campaign?

If these direct mail facts have convinced you to reconsider your next marketing campaign, take a look at Selectabase’s range of targeted and proven direct marketing lists and services. If you would like to discuss your options in more detail, contact us on 01304-382-211.

To celebrate 20 years of roaring trade, marketing list broker Selectabase has released its innovative online marketing service Create & Post from beta testing. Previously only available to existing clients, Selectabase are excited to offer this exceptional service to all small businesses. And, thanks to the impending launch of a brand new website, customers can expect a faster, improved version too.

With Create & Post, tricky mail merges and fiddly envelopes become a thing of the past. The online print and post service allows small businesses to send affordable, professional and personalised marketing letters to target audiences. Simply upload a letter, select a mailing list and Selectabase takes care of the rest.

Selectabase’s business services don’t end there. If you’re struggling to find prospect lists, their easy to use online data portal, Prospect Download, makes list counts and analysis available 24/7 with no minimum order and immediate data list download. There is no need to worry about old data either, all list databases are completely rebuilt every month with fresh and updated data complete with daily checks against TPS.

Steven Sellwood, Selectabase’s Managing Director, attributes the 20 years of success to the company’s hardworking team and their revolutionary commitment to help small businesses with direct marketing campaigns. “Historically, direct marketing data suppliers required minimum orders of 10,000 to 20,000 records and needed 3 to 5 working days to deliver just the list counts,” he said. “Selectabase was born to change this. Our team has always aimed to provide flexible data solutions with low minimum orders at competitive prices.

“Prospect Download, our online business and consumer data portal, makes list counts and analysis available 24/7, with no minimum order and immediate data list download. Which means, businesses can start by purchasing just 1 address. The goal is to be the one stop shop for small business direct marketing in 2016 and beyond. Watch this space!”

Key Points:

• Create & Post out of testing phase. Service available now. No minimum orders. • Business and consumer data portal, Prospect Download, provides immediate data list download with no minimum order and daily TPS checks. • Goal to be the one-stop shop for small business direct marketing in 2016 and beyond.

For further information visit Create & Post or call 01304-382-211.

Want to know how to write a sales letter but not sure where to start? You’re in the right place. This blog outlines 5 tips that are sure to help you write like a pro in no time.

1. Your headline matters – a LOT!

Have you spent hours writing and re-writing your sales letter? If so, stop. There’s absolutely no point spending hours lovingly crafting the perfect letter if potential clients take one look at the headline, decide they’re not interested and toss it straight in the bin.

If you want people to read your letter in full you’ll have to grab their attention immediately. Spend time perfecting your letter’s header. Make it short, snappy and to the point. The idea is to get people to continue reading – so give them a reason to.

Do: Consider including numbers and statistics – they are eye-catching. Don’t: Try to list all of your offers in the headline – save something for later.

2. Get personal

Now that you have their attention, you need to hold on to it. Give you the best chance of doing this by making your opening paragraph punchy and give the reader something to think about. Try to get your reader to imagine a situation and then work your services into the scenario. Consider starting with a question or statement that presents a problem and follow up swiftly with the solution – your services.

Do: Put the client first. It’s not so much a case of what you have – it’s what you can do for them that matters at this point. Don’t: Rush in with a long list of specific services and offers. This will only overwhelm the reader.

3. Don’t ramble

Now that you have successfully engaged the reader, it’s time to get to the point. Be specific and give examples of your services – being vague at this point will get you nowhere. Whatever you do, don’t ramble. Say what needs to be said and leave the reader with a clear idea of the services you provide.

Do: Think about sentence structure and content. Be specific. Don’t: Try to cram everything into one long never-ending sentence. Big blocks of text aren’t pleasing to the eye. Try using short sentences or bullet points that can be read quickly and easily.

4. Invite them in By this point in the letter anyone reading about your business should be interested enough to want to know more, so help them! A solid call to action (or CTA) is crucial if you want to generate leads and sales from your letter. Remind the reader of the key services of your business and give them a nudge in the right direction by telling them what they should do next. Provide a location, website and contact number – anything they can use to get in touch.

Do: Remind them what you can do for them. Don’t: Introduce new information- you’ll only confuse things.

5. Include a Postscript

The P.S message of a letter is the second most read part of a letter, so take advantage of it! Strip your main message down to its keywords and encourage action. For example:

• P.S. This weekend’s massive bed and bath sale is first-come, first-served, so get here early to avoid disappointment.

Get started

Interesting in finding out more? Check out our handy letter writing tool. It will show you how to write a sales letter in a few simple steps.

How can we help?

If you need help with your direct marketing, Selectabase can help. We provide a speedy Create and Post service, allowing you to print and send professional looking letters to your target audience. Contact us today to find out how we can help take your business to the next level.

Many businesses that depend on marketing calls to contact clientele have a pretty bad reputation among the general public, but – contrary to popular belief – this isn’t simply because they contact people at random. It’s because many go about their telephone marketing without conducting due diligence first. The result? Unwittingly engaging in bad practices that irritate and upset potential customers.

If you own a business and rely on telephone marketing, TPS checks, data enhancement and cleansing are essential. In this blog post we’ll explain why.

Nuisance Calls

Last year, the Guardian reported that the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) received over 170,000 complaints in 2015 from people who had received nuisance calls and texts. Andy Curry, ICO enforcement manager, also revealed that they had issued over £1m worth of fines and penalties to companies who had breached data protection laws. This figure is over three times the amount charged to cold calling companies in 2014 – demonstrating the ICO’s eagerness to crack down on the process of so called ‘rogue contacting’ in the UK.

Curry said, “The law is clear around what is allowed and we will fine companies who don’t follow the law”.

Legal Requirements

Curry’s words should serve as a warning to companies who flaunt data protection laws. Many businesses find themselves in trouble for calling numbers registered with the Telephone Preference Service (TPS). It is a legal requirement that companies do not make calls to numbers listed on the TPS unless they have consent to do so. If you own a business and conduct marketing calls, it is your duty to ensure that your prospect and customer databases are up to date.

Don’t Risk Fines

Unwittingly cold calling prohibited numbers will not only anger the person on the other end of the line, it may also lead to hefty fines, bad press, a poor reputation, and have knock-on effects for your business in the future. Ignorance is not an excuse.

Remember: Bad practices and old/bad data waste valuable time and put your company at risk of prosecution. Don’t risk fines – get the most up-to-date data available from a provider you can trust.

Selectabase Can Help

At Selectabase, we know that the best way to remain on the right side of the law is by keeping all customer contact data updated. That’s why we offer a variety of data enhancement and cleansing services including TPS checks, email and landline verification processes – to detect and highlight ‘dead’ accounts and numbers – and tailored data enhancement services.

Get in touch today

Why not get in touch today and see how we can help your business make the most of 2016? Call 01304-382211 or complete a short contact form online and one of our friendly advisors will be in touch soon.

Direct mail is a powerful marketing strategy. In fact, according to research by Baker Goodchild, 92% of direct mail is opened. Any business – small or large – can use it, the costs are typically cheap, and it’s one of the most effective marketing methods around. Why then, do some businesses avoid utilising direct mail?

In this blog we’ll explore some of the biggest myths and misconceptions surrounding this booming industry.

MYTH: Sell, Sell, Sell! To Anyone! To Everyone!

BUSTED: This couldn’t be further from the truth. Although it may be true that the overall goal of direct mail is to increase profit margins and attract more customers, it’s also used for collecting vital data and statistics that companies can use to concentrate on the right kind of audience – their target market. Direct mail campaigns focus on specific groups of consumers and ensure that your marketing efforts aren’t wasted on households that haven’t any use for your products or services.

MYTH: Nobody Looks At Direct Mail

BUSTED: Completely untrue. Take a look at the statistic at the top of this blog post! People in the modern day are bombarded with electronic mail left, right and centre – especially if they work in an office job. For many people, opening mail at home presents a welcome break and even has a certain novelty factor. If you use personal elements (including their name for example), first-class postage and hand-addressed envelopes, customers will be even more likely to open your mailer.

MYTH: Direct Mail Is Outdated and Impersonal

BUSTED: Just because the majority of business is done by email doesn’t mean that direct mail has had its day. Contacting customers by post is something that a lot of companies ignore, but by engaging with direct mail in an effective way you could convince a few of your competitor’s customers to give your company a try instead.

As for direct mail being impersonal – nothing could be further from the truth. When structured and managed carefully, this marketing method can actually help to build stronger links with consumers, encouraging them to use your company in the future and make further purchases later down the line.

MYTH: Direct Mail is Extremely Annoying

BUSTED: Direct mail is seen by many as being much less intrusive than an unsolicited phone call. Mailers give you the opportunity to introduce your business and services discreetly and with minimal disruption to the recipient. In many cases, people keep advertising mail in their homes for several weeks after receiving it, giving your flyer or special offer plenty of time to get noticed.

Can we help?

If your company is thinking about using direct mail to win business, Selectabase can help. We provide marketing data for businesses across the UK, helping boost sales and guaranteeing the most targeted marketing campaigns possible. If you would like to find out more, get in touch with one of our friendly advisors on 01304-382211. Alternatively, request a call back and we’ll get in touch at a time that best suits you.

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