Got a Healthy Database? Really?
One of the biggest misconceptions with running a business is that “if you build it, they will come”. Well, not quite! You absolutely need a healthy database. Simply having products or services for sale is not enough to bring visitors in to your store or website. Gone are the days of opening the front door and putting a neon sign out the front. You have to market to let them know you’re there to gain an audience and you’ve got to have a quality database of customers to build that audience.
The basics of a database include information gathered from existing customers and interested prospects, such as those who opt into your newsletters or call to inquire about your product/services. Keeping your list to these groups ensures a more relevant, and therefore more successful, database. The bare bones for building any list are as simple as:
Of course, the info gathered can expand to include a physical address (particularly if you ship products), the company and position of the customer (essential for B2B companies), phone numbers, etc. There is no limit to how you segment your customers.
Building this list isn’t as difficult as it may sound and there are many software options to choose from. You can use the Excel spreadsheet or Access database to enter the details of the business cards you’ve collected. Or you could export details of your email contact lists and most accounting software packages, like Quickbooks, MYOB and Xero to aggregate your important information concisely to one place. Alternatively, your database may be attached to your website or CRM program.
There are many cloud-based options for database management and Client Relationship Manager (CRM) solutions, which include Zoho, Capsule or SalesForce. All of these offer FREE trials, various subscription options and are designed to fit the demands of businesses, large and small, to help with lead management, sales, invoicing, workflow and communications.
The Benefits of Quality Database Management
In addition to giving your business a new dynamic and an overview of customer-related activity, a solid and well-managed database also serves to improve efficiency and productivity, while automating key marketing systems to boost your bottom line. Holiday marketing is an area where this is crucial, as communication and advertising are key to competing for the business of scores of holiday shoppers.
Cloud-based options add the following benefits:
- Data integrity – Having one primary record avoids duplicates within that record and are easy to update or make changes to.
- Broad History – Being able to see workflow, manage emails, send campaigns and track leads, sales, marketing efforts, etc. from one place maximises efficiency of all your business activities.
- Ease of Use – The learning curve on web-based software is greatly reduced, as it’s designed to be user-friendly and intuitive, so there’s no need for extensive training. Furthermore, it can be accessed from anywhere, so you can check in on your business whenever it’s convenient for you and your team.
- Support – If there’s ever an issue with the software you choose, help is generally only a phone call or email away.
No longer can a business manage their database on a single purchase program that will be outdated in no time unless it is custom designed for your specific needs. How effectively are you using your database? Are you maximising the benefits of your database?