How to collect and save customer information (and permission) from customers and prospects
Collecting and saving customer information is the most important thing you can do for marketing!
If you know how to contact your customers, you can market to them directly and inexpensively through email, text messages, mailings and phone calls.
Remember that song: “make new friends, but keep the old…one is silver and the other gold.” This applies to marketing and sales! Customer data is like a gold mine.
From our experience, most small businesses don’t set up a process for how to collect, save and update customer information and a result of not doing that is they then have to spend a lot more money on advertising and mass marketing.
Why it’s important to collect customer information
1. Getting a person’s email address and cell phone number allows you to recontact them directly and inexpensively through email, text messages and calls. You can send them email newsletters, alerts about sales and invitations to events.
2. If you have their mailing address, you can send them direct mail postcards, letters, brochures, catalogs. You can also buy “appended data” to learn more about the household or business.
3. If you’ve kept customer data to know what someone has purchased, you can cross-sell other products/services.
4. If you know what and when they last purchased, you can anticipate when they might be ready to purchase again and proactively send them information at the right time to make it easy for them to place their order or come in again.
Email messages and text messages are much less expensive (and effective) than “reminder advertising” to get people to buy or come in again.
5. If you know if they are married or have kids, you can identify other members in the family who you could sell to.
6. You can isolate prospects and nurture those new business leads
7. You can identify your most profitable customers
That helps you know who to deliver VIP service to. It also helps you figure out what characteristics your best customers/clients have in common to help you find and buy lists of people like them.
8. You can track and measure your marketing to figure out ROI
9. You can start Lifecycle Marketing
This is a win-win for the customer and the company.
Our advice: Do not spend a dime on any advertising or other marketing until you have set up a way to collect, save and update customer and prospective customer contact information. We are amazed at how many small businesses don’t or won’t do this.
Know this: You don’t want customer data in many different systems and places. That makes it hard to manage, update and handle “unsubscribes”. There’s also a high “switching cost” if you set up (and input) your customer data into one software “solution” (because you got a free trial for instance) and then decide you want to change. choose wisely!