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After a busy few weeks networking, I finally got around today to updating my contact database. I would be the first person to tell my clients to make sure that they have a centralised, up to date contact database.
I bet if I asked you “where do you keep record of your clients, prospects, contacts and suppliers?” you would probably list about four or five different places – mobile phone, Outlook contacts, Excel spread sheets, accounts or CRM system or a pile of business cards gathering dust on your desk.
It is so important for small and medium enterprises to have a centralised database that is up to date – not only is it central to your communications activity but it also enables you to react quickly to market opportunities. How many times have your direct mail campaigns, event invitations or email newsletters been held up because you are running around the office collating names and addresses?
Here are a few quick tips on how to set up your marketing database:
- Choose a centralised database – this could be a customised or off the shelf CRM system, Outlook contacts or an Excel spread sheet for example.
- Select your fields – I would recommend as basic fields: name, address, landline phone number, mobile phone number, email address, industry, referral, status e.g. client, prospect and relationship manager.
- Input your contacts – start today by either merging all of the data from the places you currently store this information or start a new database from scratch.
- Maintain your database – make sure you regularly update and cleanse your database, and assign this responsibility to just one person.
- And finally, make sure you use your database – use this valuable information to send targeted and timely communications to your customers and prospects, to generate referrals and cross-sell your services ensuring that you are compliant with Data Protection of course.
Make centralising and updating your marketing database one of your New Year business resolutions!
Image courtesy of David Castillo Dominici FreeDigitalPhotos.net