How to build quality customer database for free?

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Marketing technology is getting stronger every passing day. Marketers have software that takes care of their customer engagement and conversions. But what about Acquisition? Be a struggling startup or comfortably running business, we all need a quality customer datalist to reach out to before we put the list into automation software for engagement and sale.

You can buy list. Pros: Readymade list of targeted prospects. Cons: Bad quality, contacts are generally not updated, costs a lot, lowest ROI etc. Buying list is a desperate move and we won’t suggest that. Let me share few ways in which you may build a genuine customer list by yourself. I’m sure you are already doing few of them.

Newsletter subscription: Sorry to name the most common trick in the world to get prospect’s email ID, but it really works. Not just newsletter, you may ask them to subscribe for anything and everything. Say, daily quotes, cartoon memes, fun facts, offers & discounts etc.. whatever suits your business. Just find a way to reach their inbox and soon you may have a two way conversation.

Newsletter subscription form

Downloadable Resources: People on the internet crave for good, interesting stuffs. Create resources that they would want to read or share. Resources can be in the form of Whitepaper, Webinar, Infographic, Case Study etc. Post an extract (snapshot) of your creation and ask people to put their email IDs to download whole stuff. This works better over time, once your work starts getting traction and people believe in your write-ups. Initially, your trick is – pick hot, burning, irresistible topics.

Whitepaper download form

Lead Generation Forms: This is probably the best way to collect customer contact details. Applications like FirstHive helps you create a form and put it on your website. People filling up the form are automatically added to a datalist which you may use to perform campaigns, from within application itself. Look at the example:

Black Friday Form

Surveys/Quiz: Create an interesting, sharable survey or quiz related to your business. Use free tools like Google. Share it with your friends, relatives and ask them to forward. If at all you need, provide rewards for completing the survey or quiz. This will increase the virality. A friend of mine, who owns baby clothes store, shared a baby-related quiz among young moms community and offered them 10% discount on next purchase. Long story short, he had to extend the quiz submission deadline.

Social Media posts: If you can get a bit cheeky with your marketing, try luring people into submitting their phone numbers or email IDs on your social media posts. A bit of warning: This doesn’t work for every product and there’s a chance of brand image taking a hit. Anyway, if done right and creatively, it can gain you the contacts. Take a look at an example (nevermind the graphic, I’m bad at designing):

Jan 18th Blog image

Trade Shows: Okay, trade shows will cost you a lot if you exhibit or sponsor. That’s crazy money dudes drain. Nevertheless, you can be a visitor at a relevant trade show and can still earn lot of contacts. Say suppose you have a product that start-ups might use, go to a start up event. They will be more eager to talk to you. Walk to all the stalls and exhibits. Exchange cards and keep following up. That’s easy 100-200 contacts, depending on size of the event.

Review websites: This is kind of a hack to poach your competitor’s customers. Be it software, hospital or restaurant, every business is listed on some or the other review website. Go to such website, look at the reviews of your competitors. Find out the details of the person who wrote a review. Voila! You have your list of hot prospects. Cheeky, right?

Verification Code: If you have a prospect’s email ID and can manage to make her login to your website, you ask for their mobile number in the name of security. You might have seen this pop-up in some websites saying, “Add a layer of security by adding your mobile number” or “Verify your mobile number for two-way authentication”. While few of them are genuine, more often than not it’s a scam to get your contact number. Although it’s a hack to get people’s contact, it’s an unethical practice and we don’t recommend.

With no money and a great product in hand, all you need a quality prospect’s list and a rocking marketing software that will enable the smooth communication with real-time analytics. At FirstHive, we are doing our bit to help marketers worldwide with the power of technology. If you have more ways to collect customers contacts without spending money, do let me know in the comments. I’d love to learn more ways.

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