A marketing database is simply an electronic system processing your customer relationships, transactions and contact detail all in one. If you have a client list that contains your customers’ names, addresses, telephone numbers and sales information, then it is not difficult to turn it into a database without costing too much (normally less than $1000).

The main advantage of developing a database are:

  • Tracking and maintaining good customer relationship
  • Identifying valuable and potential clients that contribute the highest percentage of your business
  • Understanding various level of clients and selling more to the frequent clients at less costs
  • Targeting possible future leads by giving more information and offering something for free

In other words, this helps you collect, store and analyse huge amounts of data efficiently and provides you with a better picture of your clients structure.

So how to develop a useful database?

  1. First step is to clarify what you want from this tool. It could be to give you access to all clients’ information from one central location; to be able to track customer purchases; or to identify how many people respond to your promotions.
  2. You then need to analyse available resources including all your clients’ information and where is the data stored. You may have the same data in more than one place. Also, it is essential you evaluate your financial capacity to develop the system so that you can appropriately allocate your money.
  3. To gain access to these resources through your accountant and bank manager.
  4. To prioritise what do you want from this database according to your current needs. For example, what sort of date you need to capture, what information you need for management, what sort of functions and features should it have, who are the users of the system, etc. Do not expect everything immediately from it. You have to build this system gradually.
  5. Then it is time to find a database designer that suits your purpose. Keep in mind that always asking for demonstrations before settlement and spending time on it to test whether it meets your requirements.
  6. After the above processes, you are now able to list exactly what you want in terms of what resources you have and what expectations you have from the system. For instance, the data available, how many data fields you want, how fast you want the system to be, the functions, the desired output of the system and in what format and probably your budget.
  7. Now you should be ready to build your database.

Final tips on how and why to develop lists

  • Use social media, let other do the work to finding their way onto your list
  • Use your phone app to covert business cards into a phone contact
  • Use a giveaway or great free information to entice people to give you these details and have this automated through auto-responder softwares like Aweber
  • A great list can add value to the value of selling your business

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