Building Up SMB Customer Lists for Impact

April 15, 2016

An SMB’s customer list is the basic building block for marketing. A basic goal of having a customer list is to keep adding names that are likely to become loyal, impactful customers.

Almost 80 percent of SMBs maintain some kind of customer list, according to BIA/Kelsey.  The vast majority, however, don’t have a real strategy for adding to the list, or zero-ing in on specific customers. 

Given the technology and services available, the under-leveraging of customer lists is a missed opportunity.  The conventional wisdom in the industry is that a loyal customer brings in 5X the revenue of a new customer.

Several strategies are available, however, to build up bigger and better lists.  Typically, the best ways to add new, loyal customers are via:

  1. Social media
  2. Point of Sales
  3. In-store Tablet signups
  4. Email marketing that is focused on offers, sweepstakes and games.

Social media represents a strong opportunity for building up customer lists.  A lot of attention, obviously  is about winning “likes” on Facebook. Other outlets such as Pinterest, Twitter and Houzz can also be very impactful.

Facebook, via its custom audience and lookalike audience “Fan Builder” campaigns, has made a conscious effort to boost SMB “like” lists.  If SMBs can present some basic information about their customers, such as phone numbers or email,  Facebook is able to research and find the customers to be targeted.  Since many customers are already on Facebook,  match rates are high:  even a list based on phone numbers will produce a 50 percent success rate.  

Targeting customers shortly after they have had a good experience might actually be the best approach to adding them to a list.  Just 10-15 percent of restaurant diners, for instance, will typically have the chance to join a list before they leave the premises, according to Venga, a restaurant loyalty service.

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