Regardless of your industry, developing a strong understanding of who your customers are is absolutely crucial, but do you know how to build a great marketing database?

Some of the most successful brands and businesses owe much of their success to building a tremendous network of repeat customers, thanks in no small part to the quality of their communications.

Communication is also key in attracting new customers.

Beyond just advertising and selling to prospective new clients, businesses will often find that they must nurture relationships over a sustained period before turning them into a customer.

For both of these types of target, building and maintaining a great marketing database is very important.

So, how do you get started?

Collecting data

The very essence of a great marketing database is the data you collect from your existing and prospective customers.

Whether it’s a new or repeat sale, having the right information about your targets is essential.

There are several methods for generating this data:

  1. Website lead form – Build and install a lead form on your website that enables visitors to quickly input their details and be added to your database
  2. Social media – Use LinkedIn’s lead gen tool to deliver a campaign that gathers audience data without taking them away from the platform
  3. Sales journey – include functionality for your customers to sign up for communications as part of their purchasing journey

Throughout all of this, you must ensure that your processes are in keeping with the latest GDPR regulations.

GDPR dictates how data is collected and stored, and businesses can receive heavy punishments if they are found to be in breach, so take care to read up.

You should also ensure that the process is quick and simple for the user. Asking for onerous amounts of information will put people off, so only collect the data you definitely need.

Offer value

Once you have the data, it’s important to ensure that you offer genuine value in your communications.

Those who have signed up to your marketing database are unlikely to be interested in just seeing adverts landing in their inbox every so often, so consider how you can engage with them in a deeper way.

Ultimately your goal remains the same – to sell your product or service – but the journey to that point is often not so direct.

You should use the communication channel to educate and engage with your existing customers, and to demonstrate trust to prospective new clients.

Talk about topical issues, think about what your audience will find useful, and try to ensure that your email is one they actually look forward to receiving and reading.

Other tips and best practice

As most businesses owners know, measurement is a hugely important factor in improving results and planning for success.

It’s the same for your marketing database, and apps like Mailchimp will help you monitor open rates, click rates and the number of emails that simply didn’t reach their destinations.

Naturally, ensuring your messages are delivered is fundamental, but this should not be taken for granted.

Emails with large images and media are often too big for destination inboxes to manage, so keep file sizes down, and consider the overall read time of the content.

The best e-shots are concise and efficient, offering opportunities for readers to access further information at their leisure, so try to avoid sending thousands of words.

You can also track unsubscribes, so pay attention to when people are removing themselves from your lists and consider any changes to the format you could make.

Ultimately, there is no exact science to building an effective marketing database, but, by capturing the right data, adhering to the latest guidelines and delivering content that is engaging, you can put your business on the right path towards building a successful strategy.