One of the advantages of a small business is personalized service; however, so many SMBs still do not maintain a manageable customer database. A small business can spend years developing relationships with customers and collecting their information in an effort to nurture loyalty; but if that customer data is stored improperly, it will never be utilized to its full potential.
Database marketing involves using customer information to inform promotional campaigns so they can be tailored to meet individual needs and interests. Communications in database marketing can occur across various media, from banner ads to social posts, with email in particular being a standout performer.
The use of a database allows businesses to:
- Remind customers about the range of products and services your business provides
- Update them on exclusives and deals
- Engage them when they interact with your business, in-store or online
- Follow up after each transaction and solicit feedback
Not only does this encourage loyalty and brand advocacy with your customers, but it will enlighten the productivity of your business operations.
When engaging new customers through digital marketing, be aware that you are attempting to build a reputable impression of your brand. It’s also an opportunity to educate them on additional services your business offers. Regardless of the size of your business, utilizing a database to fuel your marketing strategy will increase brand popularity and revenue stream.
Building a Database
A database is a structured set of data which exists in a computer program to be managed and manipulated as needed. Basically, it is a way to track and collect information. Small businesses without an existing database will have to build one from scratch. It’s important to know how to structure a customer database for any potential use.
When building your database from the ground up, it’s important to prepare and plan. Gather all the relevant information collected from customers or clients over the years – perhaps stored in binders of old email sign ups, customer service cards or registration sheets – and determine what data you will need to extract.
Kickstart the process with a simple data table and input some sample data.
- Consider what fields you need and reduce them to their most basic part
-Example: First Name, Last Name-instead of just “Name”
- Query the data and produce reports to test if it meets your needs
-Example: Can I find all the females in my database?
- Review your table to see if there are any inconsistencies or redundancies
-For instance, if more than one person is named John Smith, then your data isn’t being properly identified.
- Modify your design.
-Example: Customer IDs can be added to your design to distinguish from the 48-year-old John Smith that lives in Texas from the 23-year-old John Smith in Colorado.
- Every time you revise your database design, test it! You will want to fine-tune as much as possible before going through the work of entering hundreds of customers.
It is a process, but once you get there, you will have a wealth of information at your command. A well-designed customer database can propel your marketing strategy, inform your business management, expand your brand and boost profits. Contact our digital experts for ways to best utilize your customer database in marketing initiatives.