Sales & Marketing
5 clever ways of capturing customer data
5 min read
19 September 2014
Customer data forms the beating heart of your database – it’s the lifeblood that keeps your company’s cash flow, well, flowing. As a marketing director, you want that database to grow over time - not only by calling on data providers to expand it, but by growing it organically too.
The question is – what are the best techniques for drawing in fresh customer data without incurring huge costs?
We offer you a guide to customer data management.
1. Incentivise to mobilise
Sometimes it takes something as simple as an offer to encourage a customer to divulge their data. Deploying relevant surveys/polls and offering genuine, uncynical incentives will encourage your prospects to engage with you. Not only will they be comfortable passing on their customer data to you, but the results of the surveys and polls will be of genuine use to your business plans and persona creation strategies.
Competitions are also a highly effective format for pulling in fresh customer data. Part of the competition process should always feature a mandatory customer detail form (with a relevant opt-out check box). While the initial outlay for competition prizes can be costly, the amount of customer data generated by the competition will more than offset the initial investment.
Incentives needn’t be costly – and you may already have great incentives at your disposal. These can include discounts, vouchers, free consultations, eBooks and White Papers – to mention a few. If the incentive offers value – while helping the customer address their business pain – they will be willing to provide you with their information.
2. Go social
Attract customers via your social media channels, using relevant content that encourages them to join your database. If you offer them rich, value-added content, they will be happy to make the trade-off and opt into your sales funnel.
A simple but effective technique for ensuring that this process gains traction is to embed a subscription form on your social media channel. This allows your prospects to enter their details impulsively and in a fuss-free format.
Use web form builders to create an optimised form that is simple and clear – this will encourage customers to fill the form out. You should test how long it takes to fill in the form – one that takes over a minute could result in the prospect losing interest.
3. Send to a friend!
Offer incentives to existing customers to share your messaging with their friends and colleagues. After all, a recommendation from a peer will be taken far more seriously than one that comes directly from you. Always embed a ‘Send to a Friend’ link alongside your social media buttons in any email campaign, also offering an option for the sender to add a personal note provides that perfect personalised touch.
4. Promote, promote, promote
Wherever your customers make contact with you, ensure that there is always an opportunity for them to opt-in to your database. This can be achieved through a physical leaflet, a business card or an online campaign.
Don’t Get Too Personal! Be wary of how much information you ask from customers – you may have garnered their attention but if you ask for personal information such as marital status and home phone number, your prospects may feel intruded and could baulk at signing-in.
5. Keep it clean!
Maintaining your database is essential to effective data capture – it is imperative that all new data is consistent with your existing database entries, i.e. email address, telephone number and so forth. If not, you’ll end up with unmanageable entries on your database, creating extra work and potential confusion further down the line. Running a de-duplication programme on a regular basis ensures that customers’ data isn’t being multiplied on your database.
If you’re not sure how to proceed with your customer database management programme, call in a reputable data provider to do the heavy lifting for you.
Julie Knight is founder and MD of Marketscan.