A customer database is a true business asset. It provides a business owner with a snapshot of who is interested in and who is supporting their business, as well as a means of communicating directly with them. For franchises, it also provides an insight into customers who are following your individual store, rather than just the greater franchise. Here are four ways ways to grow your customer database.
1. Ask your customers
One of the easiest ways to grow your database is to simply ask your customers to join it. Make it common practice for staff to ask customers if they would like to join your business database every time they put through a transaction with a new customer. This can be as straightforward as asking for their email address.
If a customer agrees, tell them what their email address will be used for and what the benefits are to them, for example, to send them special offers, news and promotions. You can have a tear-off pad made that briefly explains the benefits of joining, so customers can take the information away to think about, or as a record of giving permission. Getting an email address is particularly useful for franchises, as you can develop your own local customer database and share store-specific updates and deals.
Depending on the nature of your business, a database could also capture detailed information on the customer, such as their previous purchases. For example, a specialty wine store may record wines purchased by a customer. This may benefit the customer as they can access a history of products they have purchased previously and may like to buy again. It also means you can offer special deals that match their preferences, at times you know they are likely to buy, like Christmas, birthdays and other dates.
2. Create a competition
A competition is a great way to help grow your database, whether it’s on Facebook (just be sure to read Facebook’s promotion guidelines), in-store or both. Entry conditions can include an option to join and sign up to your email newsletter. Prizes can also be sourced from within your business to showcase your products and services. For example, if you run a franchise restaurant the prize could be dinner and drinks for four people up to a set value; or free coffee for one year.
3. Make joining easy on your website
Someone who is visiting your website is likely to be interested in your business. Add a field on your home page or footer where visitors can join your database. Link to the join up page from relevant places in your content. At the bottom of a blog post, offer users the option to sign up for more articles like the one they have just read. You could even add a pop up box that appears when users first come to your site where they can sign up to receive email newsletters.
4. Run promotions
Promotions are another way to grow your database. In exchange for joining you can offer customers a discount, special deal or freebie. For example, a cafe celebrating its first birthday could give every person joining their database a free coffee or a free coffee on their birthday.
What tips do you have for businesses looking to grow their databases?
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