Improving your marketing strategy requires better knowledge of your customers and prospects. A valuable database is an essential tool to better capture your customers’ profiles. Creating a database includes 8 steps: analysis, data collection, source selection, data centralization, structuring, normalizing data, updating, and database evolution.
1. Analysing your needs and goals
First, think about what you want to achieve. Is your goal to find new clients, or to retain your existing clients?
You should also determine who has access to this information and for what purpose: Is it prospecting salespersons, or the customer service department who needs order history?
This analysis will help you determine which data to collect and store.
2. Collecting data
There are numerous ways to obtain your prospects’ data:
- Collecting email addresses on your website
- Surveying your community
- Prize contests
- Order forms
- Trade shows
- Purchasing databases
Always comply with GDPR provisions by asking for your clients' express consent. If you are purchasing data, choose a legal partner (OR partner compliant with legislation).
3. Choosing high quality data sources
Today, data collection points are everywhere: newsletter registration forms, social network contests, loyalty cards, etc. Review each source and assess the quality of the data provided. For example, on social networks, a user can register using a pseudonym or a false date of birth. This channel is not the most reliable source for your data.
4. Data centralization
You have identified the important data to collect and their sources. Avoid scattering this data in various places. This is a waste of your time and poor use of your data. Gather all the information about your customers and prospects onto a single platform. Connect your various sources to a CRM. This will provide a clear view of your data.
5. Organising your database
Once data has been collected and collated, your file should be organised. Structuring your data will provide you with a clear view.
A database is formatted in tables, which in turn are made up of rows and columns. Split your data lists into several tables: customers, products, sales, orders, suppliers, etc. These tables are linked together with keys.
Keep your goals in mind and design a database tailored to the people who will use it.
6. Normalizing data
Your next step is to normalize data. This step consists of removing redundant data and correcting anomalies. The goal is to get consistent data across all your tables to find and use them efficiently. For example, some dates are encoded as dd/mm/yyyy, while others include months in letters. Choose a single format and correct all discrepancies.
7. Periodical data enrichment
Over time, you will probably find that the data initially selected is obsolete. As your business grows and your goals and marketing strategy evolve, you will need to enrich your data and supplement it with other sources. Take this opportunity to check the information already in your possession and correct it if necessary.
8. Database evolution
Your database will evolve as your company does. When you choose a management system, do not just focus on your current needs. Anticipate future changes in your database. Do not choose a platform or software with limited capabilities if your purpose is database growth.