“Data is like drugs.
The harder you make it to get hold of, the more the price goes up.
And we’ve got a lot of really good shit.”

This was the speech that an old boss of mine made when he took over one of the biggest list rental businesses in the UK.

We had data on almost every household in the UK, but we knew that what would protect us in the long term was the quality.

A few years later the business launched an absurdly successful spin-off based on one simple piece of data.

“How often do these people buy?”

We got all of our mail order clients in a room and got them to pool their customer databases.

Then we gave the lists back with one number tagged on the end that represented how many times we found that name on other lists.

I worked with one of the number-crunching wizards on some of this data and we found that as soon as we found someone who bought from more than one mail order business, their value to either business shot up.

People don’t just buy from one supplier.

I’m a total addict for Apple stuff, but I’m writing this on a cheap old Chromebook that I use because it’s less distracting.

I have 4 racing cycles, all from different brands.

Hyper buyers are people who buy irrationally. They keep buying even when the basic need is met. They enjoy it in its own right.

Hyper-buyers buy from all over the place.

This leads us to a tactic which the US seems to make use of way more than Europe does.

Work with your competition.

Being all guarded about your customers is costing you half your business if not more.

You don’t have to hand your actual data over, but once in a while, find people who you can trade deals with. You promote their stuff, they promote yours.

You’ll see a few of these offers from me over time. There are people who I’ve learned things from who I’ll share with you. Sometimes they’ll be free, sometimes they’ll be things to buy.
(They’re always things I’ve used though.)

Remember what I said about being strategic. About making sure your list-building is headed in the direction of being a customer?

This is 100% in line with that strategy.

If you’re selling online training, you absolutely need to find people who have bought online training before.

The trouble is they’re hard to spot.

They don’t read different newspapers, live in different parts of the country, or read different books.

The only difference is that they believe that an online course is a good way for them to learn about the problem they’re trying to solve.

And the most reliable way of knowing that is if they’ve done it in the past.

So, my little list building tip for today is this.

Think about an offer you have that will bring buyers onto your list in large numbers, that you can offer to a competitor to promote.

And look at that competitor and decide which of his offers would be most appreciated by your customers.

Then get in touch to strike a deal.

I’ve done this with everything from marketing software to lingerie and it’s brought good customers in every time.

Definitely one to try.

Stephen Pratley
Copy & Conversion Consultant
The Conversion Co.


c/o The Conversion Co., 2a The High Street, Thames Ditton, KT7 0RY, United Kingdom
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