businessmenMost any business can take advantage of mailing lists to expand their business. Even if you don’t currently use any direct mailing list campaign, your customer list is a valuable asset that can be utilized to grow your business. Hopefully you have also been keeping a record of your sales leads and the contacts you have made with them along with the various promotional actions that have been taken.

You should also have an invoice ledger – even if it exists in the computer or in your bookkeeping software – because you can use this as a tool to analyze your marketing efforts. The road to success is not often a very straight one. A business owner or sales manager must often use a lot of trial and error to get it right. The key is to keep good records of all your promotional actions. Advertising and marketing campaigns can be very expensive. You win some and you lose some. You have to study the successes and failures very closely and you need to keep good records to be able to pull it off.

Using the Invoice and Expense Ledgers as Marketing Tools

Every business should have ledgers for invoices and expenses. You can print them out or export them to a spreadsheet. For the invoice ledger, include columns for invoice number, invoice date, customer name, a description of what was purchased and a lead category or code for how you got the sales lead. Let’s say you want to analyze a time period of one year. Prepare the spreadsheet from all the invoices within that time period. Let’s say during this time period you generated the leads from the following sources:

  • Referral – Lead generated by customer referral
  • Mailer – Lead generated by direct mail
  • Field – Lead generated by a field sales call
  • Print Ads – Lead generated by print ads
  • Website-PPC – Lead generated by pay-per-click ads
  • Website-Search Engine – Lead generated by search engine natural search results
  • Trade Show – Lead generated at a trade show
  • Phone Lead – Lead generated by phone (NOT a follow up phone call from some other category)
  • New Business – Lead generated by new business listings
  • Unidentified – You want as few of these as possible

Your list of categories will probably be different, but you get the idea. The whole point is to carefully identify how the lead was generated for each sale. This is extremely important. It’s the only way to tell the difference between the promotional activities that are paying off and which ones aren’t. Now, this brings up another very important point – who answers the phone and how much do you pay them? Don’t have the mistaken idea that the receptionist should be one of the lowest paid people. You want them to have a stake in the sales revenues of the company.

You can offer a small bonus for employees who help in the sales efforts. If you have advertising with a call to action that tells the customer to call a particular phone number, then make sure that person either relays the phone call to a salesperson or logs the source of the lead. If the call is routed to a salesperson, then that salesperson is responsible for logging the source of the lead. If it comes from an ad, then they have to ask, “Which ad”. If it comes from a direct mail piece the have to ask for the ad code (you want to code your direct mailings whenever possible). If it comes from a search engine, then they have to ask “Which search engine?” This is the best way to monitor the effectiveness of all your advertising expenses.

Mailing Lists Direct is a full service direct mail list company where you can find consumer mailing lists, business lists and specialty lists at competitive prices. Mailing Lists Direct provides first rate customer support. No matter what your business needs in the way of anaddress list or managing your mailing list campaigns, Mailing Lists Direct will be able to satisfy all your needs. Call toll free at 800-741-0116.

Mike Doughty is a small business owner and entrepreneur with a background in direct mail marketing, manufacturing and distribution. During his career, he produced a mail order catalog and worked on many successful direct mail campaigns.

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