What is a Marketing Database and How To Use It?

Simply put a marketing database is a list of customer information compiled into a list in which you can send information about your products, services and current sales promotions. There are many avenues that can be used to collect customer information. A business must be very careful in collecting customer information.

Collecting Customer Information And Building Your Marketing Database

People in general do not like receiving “junk mail.” That also includes “Spam” through e-mail. By building a solid customer database a business can avoid sending junk mail or Spam.

Privacy is taken very seriously around the world. Most countries have privacy laws governing what can be done with customer information. A Privacy Policy is essential for both a “bricks and mortar” business as well as Internet businesses. Explaining to customers that their information is secure and will not be sold will build trust and confidence in your company.

One way to collect customer information is through surveys. These can be in the form of customer satisfaction surveys or new customer surveys. You might want to offer a gift for answering the questions. The gift does not have to be extravagant.

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A business can also collect information if it has a website and has a sign-up page for customers or has a checkout system. Of course there is the direct mail approach. Your company can send out a general marketing survey. The drawbacks to this method are; Higher cost, and longer return and process time. After receiving the surveys, the processing time will be lengthy, as the information must be entered into the database. One suggestion is to hire an outside firm that specializes in database management and surveys. It is easy to find these companies on the Internet.

Another way to build a database is to purchase mailing lists. Many people will put their names and addresses on opportunity list because they want to receive information a business is sending.

Putting Customer Information to Good Use

Once a business has its database built and sorted, there are many ways to use it to get the valuable information to customers.

Direct Marketing is a tried and true way. With this method the business sends out a mailing to its customers about a special or sale the business is running. When the business sends out their mailers, it is a good idea to include a coupon with a specific amount of savings. The savings can be in monetary form such as $10 or as a percentage like 20%.

There are some definite advantages to using direct mail for small business. One is the small business owner can manage the cost of the campaign. You can start out with a modest mailing in the beginning. This will allow you to gauge the response you receive. Remember, you do not want to be overwhelmed by the response. That would cause a worst disaster than zero response. This is one instance where “too much is better than too little” is not desired. You do not want to damage customer relations before they can happen.

Email marketing is another great way to use your database. There are numerous websites that can help you plan an email campaign. You might even want to invest in a program that let’s you design your campaigns. The easiest way to find these companies is do a web search. Type in the words “email marketing campaign” and you will get many results. Usually the first ten are the most popular. Make sure to visit more than one site before you make a decision. Many of these companies will offer a free trial or a low monthly fee.
In conclusion, customers are the life-blood of any business.

Small business must use customer information wisely to compete with the large corporations. By building and maintaining a good marketing database the small business will be able to know the wants and needs of its customers. By using this database to offer customers special sales or services the business will continue to grow.

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