4 effective tips for building a customer database

The key to any long-term successful business venture lies in maintaining a good relationship with your existing and potential customers.

Building a good quality customer database is a prerequisite for tailoring and delivering a unique value offer to your prospects, and crucial for the success of any targeted marketing and sales campaign.

Stats say that 66 percent of marketers use age to segment audience in order to make their email offers more personalized.

Still, it takes a lot of work to gather the data you need, as well as to keep your database regularly updated and constantly growing, so that your business grows along.

Here are some effective tips for building a customer database:

1. One step at a time

Your prospects can get a bit doubtful when they need to share their data, so having a 10 field sign-up form on their first website visit is not going to work.  It is best to use the foot-in-the-door approach, and ask for your prospects’ data one step at a time.

Focus only on the most necessary information, such as your prospects’ name and e-mail address, and find the ways to obtain other valuable data through your next communication steps, after you’ve delivered them what you’ve offered.

This way, you will have a chance to show your prospects that your company is credible and trustworthy, and requesting more data shouldn’t be an issue.

The data you gather and use will mostly depend on your industry, so choose only what’s relevant for it. There is no point in requiring data you won’t ever need or use, so it is best to just leave it out. 

2. Use clear forms

In order to get accurate and reliable data, make sure you use clear forms in your sign-up process and provide a description of the field wherever you think it may be needed.

When it comes to your prospects’ name and surname, your form should accept all the letters and special characters which are used in different languages. Email addresses can now also include previously uncommon characters, such as pluses and spaces, so you need to enable this option too. 

Also, make sure to verify the data you collect, especially the email address, which is a key contact identifier. So, it is a good idea to use a two-step email address verification process, and ask your prospect to click on the activation link which will be sent to the email address they provided through registration.

3. Make your offer hard to resist

To motivate your prospects to leave their data, you need to create a pretty good offer. It needs to be something they will find valuable – the kind of benefit which they will find hard to resist. Here are some of the ways to place your offer:

  • Contests on social media or traditional media channels are a great way to engage your prospects and generate new leads. Stats say that 57 percent of customers are willing to share their personal data in exchange for discounts or personalized offers. You can incentivize your prospects with prizes, such as coupons or discounts, and ask them to register and provide relevant data, such as name, gender, location, age, email address, etc.
  • Instant coupons you can give discount coupons in your stores to your registered customers, or use pop-up discount offers on your e-commerce site. Either way, require the data you need most as a good starting point.
  • Gated content can be a good model for obtaining new leads, as you will request only basic (and the most relevant) information and give your content away for free. 
  • Surveys Your customers love when they’ve asked for their opinion, and many of them will be happy to provide you with the feedback and get a prize or a discount for taking part in a well-tailored customer satisfaction survey. This method is great for collecting data which can further qualify your prospects.

4. Keep your database clean

Building a customer database is not all about the quantity of your data, but also about its quality. If you want to make the most out of your database, you need to keep it fresh and updated.

There is no point in segmenting and tailoring your contact list if the data you use for planning your campaigns isn’t accurate and may even be misleading.

For running email campaigns, it is important to regularly make the necessary updates. There are a few things you should pay attention to:

  • If you notice any email hard-bounces, you should make sure to either update the email address or delete it from your mailing list. Otherwise, If you continue using it, you are at risk of being marked as a spammer.
  • Always check the auto-responses and replies you get as they may include relevant information, such as an updated email address.
  • Your contact list probably has many inactive contacts, which you’ve been emailing to regularly and never got a response from. You should decide to send them a break-up email and if they remain silent, then you should definitely remove them from your mailing list.

A high-quality database will help your marketing and sales efforts in providing well-targeted and personalized content to your prospects. Be sure to only collect data you need and to keep your database clean and fresh.

This guest blog post was written by Elaine Bennett who is a digital marketing specialist focused on helping startups and small businesses grow. Besides that, she’s a regular contributor for Bizzmark Blog and writes hands-on articles about business and marketing, as it allows her to reach even more entrepreneurs and help them on their business journey.

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