Creating Your Own Database

Creating Your Own Database
Creating Your Own Database Your database is the most valuable part of your business. It is the key to your success.

Knowing how to create your own successful database will enable you to grow your business. If you can customize it to enable cross-promotion with other organizations you can expect even greater rewards.

Most businesses will, by law, have an accounts database that includes contact details, order history and payments.

Many businesses keep their details in an excel spreadsheet and some (particularly in retail industries) don't even know who their customers are.

But with a smart database you are able to generate your own prospects, or even sell the contents to a third party for 'easy money (as long as this is compliant with Australian Privacy Laws).

And when it comes time to sell, a large database will add a great deal of value to your business.

It also enables you to personalize every communication you make with your audience, ensuring the information people receive about your business is RELEVANT to them.

What do we mean by relevant?

Take a web building company, for example, called ABC Web Designs. We could assume that;

the target audience is small to medium business

they would prefer to speak directly with the business owner

they hope to solicit new business from the target audience

So firstly, the target audience of ABC would be businesses requiring website development.

ABC has worked with many clients over the years, and follows up a contract by offering hosting, maintenance, eNewsletters and other services.

What would a relevant communication to ABC Web Design's database be?

Imagine you are a new customer, and had recently paid $5,000 for a new website to be built. Then you receive a newsletter that advertises a discounted rate of $4,000 for a limited time.

Firstly, you don't need a new website.

Secondly, you would expect that if you were a truly valued customer of ABC Web Designs, you would already have know this and acted accordingly.

There are likely to be a lot of disgruntled customers who paid the higher price.

Alternatively, if ABC's database was divided into customers and prospects they would be able to customize correspondence so as to avoid these pitfalls.

Something like this may be preferred;



Dear Mary,

It has been a month since your exciting new website was launched!

If you are interested in increasing the reach of your valuable new resource, call us TODAY at ABC and we'll send you information regarding our highly successful eNewsletter service.

What information do we need to collect from our customers and prospects?

An important rule of thumb is to only collect information that will actually be useful.

(If you are selling computer packages, it may be useful to know how many employees an organization has. However if you are providing printing services, your offer may not be related to the size of the company)

A good starting place for capturing information -



Contact Information

Company Name

Postal Address

Street Address

Main Phone

Fax Number

Website

Personnel Details

First Name

Surname

Position

Direct Phone Number

Extension number

Email Address

Has the person opted in to receive marketing materials from you?



Transaction Details

Purchase History:

Date of purchase

Product purchased

Quantity or volume

Value of purchase

Payment method

Date of payment

Contact Log

Date

Method (phone, email, fax, mail, meeting)

Details

Reference

Staff Member

Contact Logs are also an essential part of managing your business as they can be used as evidence should any future disputes arrive.

You can further extend your database to contain the following components:



Promotion History

Promotion date

Promotion code

Response

Result of response

Service History:

Returned products

Date of return

Reason for return

Complaints



Demographic Information

Age

Gender

Marital status

Home owner

Income level

Personal Preferences:

Holidays

Last holiday

When next holiday planned

Destination

Price range

How would they prefer to be contact by your company?

Email

Phone

Mail

Fax



As well as sending customers RELEVANT information, you need to ensure that you only contact these people once in each campaign or newsletter. By accidentally sending the same person two copies you are not only increasing the cost of your marketing, but also altering the persons perception of your credibility and professionalism.

Before entering new customer information, thoroughly check the details have not previously been entered under a different name or slightly different spelling. Full stops, abbreviations and Pty Ltd endings can mean double entry.

If your customer database is small, you can manually check for double entries or it is a worthwhile investment to organize for a database guru to come in and do it on your behalf.

As prevention is better (and cheaper) then cure, have strong procedures in place when it comes to data entry. Search by personnel names as well as company name and variations of each.

Once you have a detailed idea of who your best existing customers are… then comes the time to purchase a list of other people or businesses with similar characteristics.

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