[by Charles Gupton]
The foundation for building a workhorse client contact list is formulating a good idea of the different ways you plan to use the list — and the simplest method of grouping the names so that they can be easily sorted.
I’ve found it’s very easy to over-think and over-complicate the process of organizing a contact list. The options range from placing names on index cards at a cost of a few dollars — to a customer relationship management system costing thousands. It’s far better to start with a simple solution that you can use rather than waiting until you have the perfect solution. The act of doing it will bring the clarity you need.
My contact list provides information for three primary functions: sending emailers and newsletters, mailing postcards, and making phone calls for more personal connections. You also need to have a regular, systematic plan for keeping your list updated. It can be embarrassing to have a potential client find you’ve been sending emails to an address that’s not been actively used for two years.
For simplicity, I currently divide my list into three basic categories:
Influential Buyers – People who have the means and influence to make the buying decisions when photography services are needed. I call these folks most frequently to keep a consistent connection with them.
Influential Non-Buyers – People who wield great influence in deciding who may get hired but don’t actually do the hiring or generally work with the artists who are hired.
Business Referrers – Business connections who either don’t have the means or need for my services but are willing and usually enthusiastic advocates for my work.
My contact list used to be divided and sub-divided by various industries, job titles, etc. But I spent more time putzing around with the lists than I did staying in contact with the people on the lists. My current system isn’t perfect, but now it works when I work it.
via Strictly Business.