A customer database is a precious source for managing your business marketing strategy. It can often take years to develop and wield effectively but once you grasp how to use it, you can transform the way you develop your business.
First of all you need to think about how you have gained a customer database. The database itself will consist of contact details for each customer who has made a purchase from you. For an online business, this is likely to include their name, postal address, email address and perhaps telephone number. For a high street store, the database may consist of few basic details obtained when the customer signs up to a store loyalty card for example.
Keep contact relevant
If you want to get in touch with your customers, it’s important to consider your previous interactions with them. For example, it your customers have placed online orders with you, there would be no use in reminding them of a current promotion in store. A good way to manage different customer types is to divide your contact lists into different types; one for online customers, one for in-store customers and perhaps one for business customers.
Any promotions offered should, again, be relevant to the means by which the customer originally made a purchase from you. With online retail, you have the added benefit of the customers’ email addresses. This is a great tool for launching your email marketing strategy. Target your promotions effectively by offering certain product types to the customers who have, or are likely to purchase them. You can also use analytics to examine the exact products that have interested each customer. For example, if a female customer ordered baby food online, you could tailor your advertising and promotions to suit her shopping history
Boost your database
With email marketing, a great strategy is to include a link or a small reminder for the recipient to forward the email to a friend. You can always offer a small discount or token as an incentive. Once you’ve mastered this, you’ll find you can reach new potential customers who receive the promotion from a friend or someone they trust, thus giving your company an automatic recommendation. Alternatively, an increasingly popular option for high street retailers is to ask customers to sign up for a store loyalty card or subscribe to the store newsletter for a discount to be applied to their present purchase. Once signed up, you will have the customer’s email address and postal address for sending more targeted promotional material.
Refine your customer information
Customer information and personal details are obtained in a number of ways but are primarily gained when they enter the details in an online entry field. Any customer who clicks ‘buy now’ will join your growing customer database. On this page, you have prime opportunity to find out as much information about your customers as possible to ensure that your database can be analysing to effectively tailor your future marketing. The key is to think about what kind of information would be useful. For example, do you need to know their occupation? Although this could be useful for recognising student customers to offer a specific discount, you will largely find this information irrelevant. Instead, what about age or date of birth? Knowing the average age of the customers in your database can be a fantastic way of tailoring your marketing specifically to suit their lifestyle. After all, a 19-year-old female is likely to order a very different product to a 75-year-old male.
Remember the privacy rules. Your relationship with your customers can be delicate and relies on you dealing with their personal information in a safe and secure way. Never share their information with third parties unless they have given you permission to do so.
Don’t forget the customers at the beginning of your database. Customer information obtained years previously is always still relevant. Don’t be tempted to simply skip to your most recent customers.