There’s a trade here, an email address for something I value.
This process of trading something you value to capture a potential prospect’s details is the best way to capture contact details.
An attractive offer must be created that has enough value to be traded.
In some cases a whitepaper is sufficient, or a video or some free software. What the offer is, will depend on your business and the value perceived by your prospect.
The notion of value is very important, only when the value is sufficient, at this point in time, will the prospect trade details.
Sometimes the timing is not right, for example, with one of my old hobbies, furniture making, I signed-up to many relevant resources, but this was a few years ago, and now I’m no longer interested, any offer wouldn’t entice me to trade my contact details.
Once the prospect has given you their details you have permission to market to them - to nurture them into a customer.
So many databases have missing email information.
Rather than rely on sales people to capture data, it’s much better to have an offer ready so that the prospect wants to give you their details.
Have an easy way for the offer to work.
You may be thinking that in my business there’s no offer to entice people to trade their details, there's nothing interesting enough.
The good news is that in nearly all businesses there’s always an offer that will work. You may need to get creative to find that offer, then thoroughly test the offer, but there will always be an offer.
After all, they are likely to be a customer and they will only buy if there's something of value - the offer needs to be related to this value.
You may need to have many different offers for different touch points - in today's environment there are so many ways for someone to find you.
For example, if you’re exhibiting then ‘Win an iPad’ is often a good way to get contact details (you will always have people giving business cards who have no need for your services/products but there will be many that do.)
If you’re using Google Adwords then you will need an offer to match the keyword you’re targeting.
Using multiple offers at different marketing touch points can significantly increase uptake.
The principle is to trade with the right offer (one of value to the prospect) in the right situation across multiple touch points.
Taking this approach, you get contact details for prospects to a much higher level and subsequently higher rates of customer acquisition.
This is much better than purchasing data, as you have explicit permission to market to them.
The above technique works very well for email addresses, but is also valid for capturing other types of data, for example addresses, phone numbers, etc.
Filling in missing data is one of the easiest ways to increase levels of data quality. Using best practice marketing techniques will aid completeness of data and maintain the currency/accuracy of your data.