Successful Customer Database Management for Winning e-Marketing

By Matthew Kwan © Copyright. All rights reserved. Principal Consultant

Adams Company Limited

So you are generating good responses from your e-Mail campaigns, online advertising, search engine marketing and etc…The next most important thing you need to do is to manage your customer database successfully. Without this, your e-Marketing strategy will always have a missing link. You can grow to certain level with success but if you want to grow from good to great, Customer Database Management is the area you need to plan in the beginning of your e-Marketing effort.

What can you do if you are running on lean budget and do not want to spend a lot to buy Customer Relationship Management (CRM) software at the start. Here are some good practical suggestions you may consider:

1. Spreadsheets
2. Mail Client Software
3. Accounting Software

1. Spreadsheets
Obviously, MS Excel is the most commonly used spreadsheet software in the market. However, you can use any kind as we are just keeping a simple list. The trick is that you create multiple files of e-Mail/Contact Lists by segregating your Suppliers, Partners, Customers, Prospects and other categories in different files for ease of management. In future, whenever you have new e-Mail addresses/Contact information, you just need to append to the relevant lists/files to keep them up-to-date.

2. e-Mail Client Software
Most of people would use MS Outlook Express or whatever free e-Mail Client provided by the Operating System in your computer when downloading e-Mails from server. It is relatively simple to keep your master e-Mail/Contact Lists within the same e-Mail system or your e-Mail Client Software you are using. The idea behind is the same as you would do using spreadsheets. You just need to create different “Distribution Lists” or “Groups”…etc to maintain your e-Mail campaign lists. One good function with some e-Mail Client Software is that when you add duplicate e-Mail addresses to the same list, the software will automatically add only one entry to the list rather multiple. This would minimize the unpleasant experience of the receivers when they are receiving multiple copy of your e-Mails just because it was not properly managed.

3. Accounting Software
As I proposed often, your e-Mail campaign should always sending to your closest relationship groups first. e.g. Suppliers, Partners, Customers, Prospects…etc. These closest groups are typically already captured by your accounting software for invoicing or billing purposes. Therefore, you may make just a little bit of effort to keep up your contact database in your accounting software to make sure e-Mails are properly input and up-to-date. Preferrably, you may ensure your accounting software could give you some options or remark fields to sort out the lists with additional criterias to facilitate better management.

Other than the above 3 suggestions, the next best option I can think of is using the e-Mail Marketing software. The price of these kind of software can range as low as US$100 to very high prices depending on the kind of functionalities they can provide.