Marketing Basics – Contact Databases

Dear insert first nameYour contact database is critical to your marketing approach. Who you know – and who you need to know – can make or break your business communication. So it is worthwhile dedicating some time to get organised about your contacts lists so that sharing your story is as efficient and effective as possible.

Step 1 – Who Do You Know?

Think about all the people you know – professionally and personally. Do you have all the information you need to contact them reliably and regularly?

Take a blank piece of paper and start writing down all the contact lists you already have:

  • Contacts in your phone
  • Email lists
  • Facebook friends
  • LinkedIn contacts
  • Blog followers
  • Event attendees
  • Customer lists
  • Others?

You may already have hundreds of contacts and I’m sure you can already think of ways of increasing this number.

Step 2 – Database Options

Now you need to find a way to bring all your contacts together and manage them.

There are endless databases options available to suit the size and requirements of your business. From fully integrated Customer Relationship Management (CRM) systems, cloud based solutions or just a simple Excel spreadsheet, you should choose a database that allows you to easily add and extract useful contact information.

Spend time to get the information ‘fields’ (i.e. title, first name, surname, email addresses, etc) and categories (i.e. clients, contacts, specific lists for newsletters, billing details, etc) right up front so you have all you need when you come to using the data for communication. Will you mostly be using email communication? Do you need postal addresses? Is there any purpose for capturing personal information such as birth dates or ages?

It is important to make sure you are across rules relating to privacy in your country or state – particularly for email and online communication – so you are not caught out sending unsolicited information. In Australia you need to provide a way for people to ‘opt-out’ or ‘unsubscribe’ from your mailing list if they no longer want to receive information from you.

Step 3 – Extending and Updating Information

A database is only as good as the information it contains – and it can quickly become outdated. Schedule some time each month to update your database and put processes in place to add new contacts as soon as possible.

Work out some simple strategies to ensure your database builds each month. Make sure you never lose an opportunity to get new data in so you can extend the reach of your communication, giving you access to even more potential clients and customers.

How are you managing contact information in your business?

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