Client databases are the bane of many a business person’s life.   Common scenarios include having multiple lists in varied locations, lists full of inconsistent information, handwritten lists awaiting data entry (never gonna happen!) and great big lists that have grown old and mouldy from disuse.  Others still don’t collect any information from their customers at all.

A solid customer database is a powerful marketing tool that you can use to sell your products & services, get your customers to interact with your brand and encourage them to tell their friends all about you.  We all know that it’s easier to retain an existing customer than get a new one and they’re a lot easier to keep if you know who they are!

If there’s one thing I want you to take away after reading this blog, it’s to put a simple plan in place to collect the same information from all of your customers (both existing and potential) in a single, electronic database that you commit to use for the good of your business.

When you are deciding what information to collect from your customers, think about what is important for you to know so that you can engage with them on a deeper level.  Is it important to know what they are interested in, with a plan to engage with them on that topic? To know which of your stores they shop at, with a plan to tell them about upcoming events at that store? Their gender or date of birth, so that you can tailor your messages accordingly?

When you’ve decided what you want to know, consider all points of customer contact within your business and leverage them to acquire that information.  With a particular focus on enewletters, here are a few tips for building your lists:

• Optimise the location of your enewsletter signup on your website.  Consider a pop-up window on entry to your site to encourage sign-ups.

• Ask at bricks and mortar store checkouts if customers want to join your email list.  Input their information immediately or have a device at the checkout where they can enter the data themselves.

• Make every form a subscription form: Make sure that every form your customers see has an email subscription opt-in box.

• Provide reasons and value for customers to sign up to your enewsletter, along with incentives (eg. subscribe and receive x % off your next order).

Stay tuned for my next blog, which will focus on optimising your enewsletter content.