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Marketing

25 ways to build your customer database

by
Nathan Cenovski
on
Jan 16, 2019
Customer database

Developing a customer database is of vital importance to the modern marketer for a few reasons. One of the most obvious reasons is that a growing database of customers means your business is likely growing as well.

Aside from that, the info you can glean from a properly leveraged customer database is incredibly beneficial to help guide your sales, marketing and all other departments’ efforts in growing your business.

Knowing as much as you can about your customers and properly using those insights lets you bring products or service to market that your customers want and present it to them in a way that entices them to want to purchase.

So, we get the basics of why you want to build your customer database, but how do you do it? Lucky for you, we compiled a list of the 25 most effective ways to build your customer database.

When a transaction is made

The most obvious time to gather data on your clients is at the point of sale. There is a lot of valuable information that can be gathered here and it is the maybe the easiest time to gather information.

Web forms

This is fundamental, but it is important to make sure you do actually install and optimize web forms on your site. Use clear and compelling Calls to Action (CTA’s) s to make people fill out those forms to sign up for newsletters, product updates…etc. And A/B test your web forms. All web forms are not created equally and you can dramatically improve your conversion rate by testing your forms. Put your most valuable content behind walls and require readers to give you more information to access that content.

Content Marketing

Today’s prospects have far more options than time and are inundated with marketing messages and advertising. The production of useful content that relates to your product helps clients to find your brand and vice-versa. Using gated content with accumulative data profiling mechanism or data enrichment is a great way to build your profiles.

Email blasts

A customer or prospect’s engagement with your emails is great data and an opportunity to drive them to give you more data. Not only do you get to see what interests them, you can further gate content to enrich the data you have. Email acquisition is critical. Once you have an email address the entire digital process of linking, communicating and gathering data becomes easier.

Social Media

In general, social media is great as most platforms are based around voluntarily sharing info about yourself, your interests and your life in general. We will go through some more specifics later in the list.

In-Store:

There is a reason department stores ask for your email at checkout. Judicious use of in person data collection can help your efforts if you have strong brick and mortar presence.

LinkedIn

This is a goldmine of information on your prospects as well as the organizations they work at. Make sure to leverage this tool to build a clearer picture of how the contact you have a relationship with fits within the larger picture for their organization in a B2B sale.

Facebook

The world’s most popular social media site may have seen its best days, but it still has more profiles than any other site and many people, increasingly the older crowd, still voluntarily(over) share a lot of info on here and clearer Facebook has no compunction about sharing this info, for a price.

Facebook leads

When you run ad campaigns on Facebook and a prospect clicks on a CTA button, their info is automatically loaded from their profile and passed along to your database, providing you follow the proper integration and setup features.

Buying lists

There are numerous data providers out there that will gladly sell you a list of contacts for your target market. Just be sure to curb your expectations as the lists are invariably of lower quality than advertised by the provider.

Events

Hosting or attending events in your niche and collecting business cards is a great way to get more contacts

Tradeshows

Similar to events, but on a somewhat larger scale. Tradeshows tend to drive more traffic and badge scanners allow you to avoid the ubiquitous “I just ran out of cards”

Giveaways

See how these are flowing together? A giveaway or contest is a great way to drive signups on forms and build databases as long as what you giveaway is worth the info you get in return. Many companies create contests to gather email addresses with great success.

Webinars

People crave information. A webinar is an interactive and (hopefully)informative way to satiate that desire and collect info in the process.

Competitions

People love to win. Doesn’t matter what the actual prize is, people will fight for the pride of victory. No rational person can say that an actual Olympic gold medal is worth the effort, but the pride is. While you may not be able to deliver that kind of sense of accomplishment, you can use people’s competitive nature to drive data collection via creative and well-engineered competition.

Surveys

Surveys can give great qualitative data and give you a “pulse”’ on the market. They also provide contact info and data on preferences.

Coupons/Discounts

People are usually glad to give away plenty of data in exchange for a small amount of monetary savings.

First look/Exclusive access!

Scarcity is a hugely important motivating factor inhuman psychology. It’s odd, but as soon as someone knows a thing is rare, they want it. Use that aspect of human nature to your advantage.

Tell them what you use their data for

This is a good practice to comply with the new GDPR laws in the EU. But, also makes people trust you a bit more and can increase the info you get. Just tell the prospect in plain terms what you are going to do with their data. Language like “We plan to tell you about new stuff and exciting news!” make you seem more human and trustworthy.

Optimize all forms for mobile

More web traffic comes from Mobile than desktop, don’t let the majority of visitors have a sub optimal experience.

A/B test everything

What fields you ask for, the colors, the CTA…everything. Then optimize to what works best.

Ask for the minimum

We ran an experiment where we found that form fills increased by 34% when we reduced the fields we asked for from 5 to 1.

Use continuous data profiling

Keep them coming back using the other tactics we talked about earlier and add data piece by piece as they go. Soon enough, you have a complete picture

Don’t ask for the same thing twice

Along the same lines, proper ongoing profiling will adapt to make sure you don’t ask the same client for the same info on two different white papers. It won’t help your efforts and will annoy them, so don’t do it!

Integrate offline data

Use a CRM/Marketing tool stack that work together. Sales and marketing should be aligned and they cannot be if data is siloed.

That’s the end of our list. If you can think of more ways to increase your customer database, let us know and we will be glad to included it on the list with a shout out to you.

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