If you ask me what the one secret for your business to continue to make money as long as it exists, I would say it is your customer database! Your customer database is the list of all the customers and prospects that have encountered your business in some way (not a database you purchased from someone else) and they are important because:
- They already know you exist: people on your customer database are most likely there because they know you exist. They might have patronized you or contacted you in the past.
- They have used or are willing to use your product: they are willing buyers because they have either used or are willing to use your products. You don’t need to spend too much time persuading or nurturing them to get them to buy.
- They are cheaper to sell to: it has been established that it takes less time and money to sell to an existing customer that to a new customer. So since they are already on your database, you can gain their attention cheaper without an expensive advertising campaign.
- You can find out what they need and create it: since you have access to them, you can listen to the questions and enquiries they are making, ask them questions to find out what they want and create a product(which can be a variation of your current product) to meet their needs.
- They can refer new customers to you: The customers in your database can bring more customers for you! They are potential marketing agents and with the right incentive or just asking them, they would bring other customers to you.
So how do you build your customer database?
- Collect information from existing customers and arrange them on an excel sheet or any other spread sheet. The most important information is their names, phone number and email address so you can correspond with them regularly. You can also ask them for specialized information like their date of birth, birthdays and anniversaries so you can send them special discounts on those days.
- Set up systems around your business to collect customer information, like a form on your website for people to enter their information if they want to make an enquiry, join your list or sign up for your free offerings.
- Collect potential customer information at networking events, fairs seminars and conferences. You can have a card collection bowl or register for them to fill their information.
These are just a few tips to help you build your customer database, but as you build them, don’t just keep them there, nurture them by sending them helpful tips, information and telling them about your offering.
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