Ten years in business and they could have built a nice database with hundreds of people who have already used their services

Capturing data is essential for your business

by / Wednesday, 21 May 2014 / Published in Your Website

Why capturing data on your website (and offline) is critical for the success of your business

Creating and growing your own customer database has always been relatively easy. Agree? Well, I have heard this so many times and I don’t actually agree with that. Creating and growing your own customer database needs dedication, persistency and time. It requires adequate tools that will automate that process. Your database should be built organically through email data capture or opt-in forms rather than buying in lists that are often of very poor quality and with emails out of date.

Recently I have been working with the owner of the hair salon in Lancashire. The owner needed some help with new website and online marketing so I offered my help. The business has got lots of potential but no vision or strategy when it comes to online presence. Beside that, they had a major problem and they were not aware of it. All their effort in order to bring more business in was concentrated around how to find new customers. Existing and past customers were ignored to the point that they did not even know who they are, they had no customer database, no email or postal addresses. Ten years in business and they could have built a nice database with hundreds of people who have already used their services. What a wasted opportunity to build a relationship with them, introducing new products and services, keeping in touch and so on.

Anyway, after half an hour of discussing the possibilities, we have identified at least four different ways in which they could gather data of each customer that comes through the door which will enable them to undertake the cost-effective email marketing.

It seems to me that many businesses follow the same strategy; throwing the money at expensive advertising or mass leafleting without being able to track whether any of their campaigns actually work. There are couple of reasons why you should think twice before spending your cash this way with first one being the extremely high cost and second one being difficulty to engage with your audience.

You need to find ways of interacting with your customers/visitors offering them something that they will not be able to refuse. What you offer very much depends on your specific business.

You need to find ways for customers to interact with you i.e. offer them something in return for their email details. This could be a free report, a free trial or 10% off their next purchase, and in return you have a name and email address.

And setting up these mechanics are not that difficult – a feedback form or valuable report sign-up box on your website, a QR code on a cafe table taking them to a page specifically built for mobile phones offering 10% coupon on the next visit, an entry form for a competition sitting next to a till. If you think about it, it’s really nothing new, it’s just a case of finding the ways and opportunities to collect your customers’ details.

For the end, I will tell you a little story about how important data capture is and how I really understood the importance of it.
Back in 1999 I attended two-day workshop in Connecticut and I met a gentleman who was from that area. He was sitting next to me for the duration of the workshop. He said to me at some point that there was a hurricane in the area the previous month and that many houses and businesses were destroyed. Having hurricane in that area was a bit unusual but he said to me that his bike shop was destroyed as tree fell on it. I felt really sorry for the guy as he lost his life-long business but he was actually very calm about it and he said “I am not that bothered, I have a list”. I did not want to look stupid and I said something like “good to hear that, I hope it will work for you”. I didn’t understand what he meant by ‘having a list’. At the end of the workshop we all said goodbye and he said to me “whatever you do in your business make sure you build your list and followers before anything else”. Months later his words became clear. Of course he was talking about how important was that he had his own database of customers. He valued that more than his shop or inventory or anything else. He moved his business online and straight away he had hundreds of customers willing to buy from him online. All because he was taking care of the data.

Think about Tesco loyalty scheme and a little card we carry on our car keys. Have you thought about why Tesco is doing it? For sure not to give us some money back in the form of vouchers but to have a complete insight of what products we bought in Tesco for the last ten years, how much money we spend and whether we like Tesco Finest or Extra value. Then they can use that info to do so many things.

I would love to hear your comment and the way you capture data within your business. Or do you capture it at all?
What difficulty do you face when capturing data or the reason you don’t capture data. Leave the comment below.

If you need any help in creating a system for data capturing just give me a call, I will do my best to help.

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