Sell Customers to Other Businesses
One of dozens of strategies listed and linked to here:
How to Make More Money
From Your Business
By Steve Gillman
The idea that you can sell customers to other businesses doesn't
sit well with some. But as long as it is done in relevant ways
that are likely to be beneficial to your customers, there isn't
really an ethical issue here. My credit union even does this
now. They put offers from insurance companies in with the monthly
statements they send. I can assure you that they don't do this
Of course, you want to sell or rent your customer list to
companies with non-competing products. The credit union is not
going to let a bank pay to advertise to their customers. But
the products or services should also be complementary in some
way. Insurance is probably pushing it, but at least it is a financial
product. If the credit union starts sending out ads for hair-growth
medicines customers might get annoyed.
Most of the time you do not actually sell customers or customer
lists. You rent them. Rates vary according to the nature of the
list and the offer that the buyer/renter will be making. The
credit union, for example, might get $100 per thousand names
for an insert they include in those envelopes, and the inserts
themselves are paid for by the advertiser. At a nickel per insert
for printing, and a dime to send them, that advertiser gets their
message in front of people for just 15 cents each--much cheaper
than doing their own mailing. Meanwhile, if the credit union
has 10,000 members (no idea--I'm just speculating on these numbers)
they get an extra $1,000 per advertiser (sometimes they have
two inserts) per month.
Even when the names and addresses are "sold," so
that a company can do it's own mailing, they are usually rented.
They are sold for a one-time use. You can track this by including
"dummy" names and addresses that you track (perhaps
your own address or that of a friend). If a second mailing is
received at the dummy address, you can sue the list renter. Your
customers only become part of his list if they contact
his company or buy something from it. Otherwise, to use your
names again he would have to pay again.
I have seen lists sell for as little as $50 per 1,000 names,
and up to hundreds of dollars. Again, the prices vary according
to the nature and quality of the list. A list of real estate
investors would be worth more than a list of people who filled
out a form to win free cat food, for example. A list that was
from sales made years ago would have very little value compared
to a list of customers who bought something this year.
So, if you have a list (see the page Use
Your Customer List for more about why you need one), consider
whether you would like to sell those customers to make more money.
You have the control, so you can rent out the list or choose
to include ads in your own mailings. You also have the right--and
perhaps the obligation--to allow only relevant products and services
of real value to be promoted to your customers.
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