In the early days of digital marketing, a database was little more than a list of names, or business contacts. On a good day, there were a few people who might be interested in your product. Or, at least, had shown some interest in the industry. Data collection was tough and expensive for the small business marketer, and it was common practice to just purchase a database, and bombard them with sales literature.
Fast forward a couple of decades, and the outlook isn’t half as bleak. Data is in abundance, and the means to capture data and build a database is now more affordable than ever. This said, it’s alarming how many still consider purchasing and spamming a list a suitable marketing tactic. Sure, in all likelihood it will probably result in some conversions – after all, if you throw enough dirt at the wall, something will eventually stick. But as any marketer will attest, not all conversions are created equally.
If there is one reason why building a database is so important, it is lead quality. Lead quality is everything. It influences whether or not an individual converts. It impacts how long a customer remains a customer. And it plays a huge part in determining how much it will cost to retain that customer for the long term. Building a database from scratch gives you control over the quality of your leads. Unfortunately, you can’t achieve the same result with a purchased database without significant expense.
Build a community
Building an active, engaged community is at the top of many marketers to-do lists, and rightly so. In this day and age, the divide between business and consumer has been torn down by social media, creating an open line of communication between brands and customers. One that allows businesses to offer value, and cultivate loyalty in return.
Using social platforms to engage your database can act as a crucial building block for your community. And it goes without saying that the higher the quality of your leads, the more active and engaged your community can become. This, in return, makes it a whole lot easier to retain your customers, and a whole lot cheaper too.
How to build a database
So, all this talk about databases, community building, and retention is all well and good; but how do you actually go about building a database filled with high-quality leads? Traditionally, marketers would have had to spend hundreds, if not thousands of dollars to conduct surveys, gather customer research, and run campaigns to collect enough information to compile a full database of potential, and existing leads.
The truth is, consumer data is in abundance online. It’s simply a case of having a tool that helps you not only capture it but also make sense of it all. As a result, building a high-quality database from digital data can be a lot easier than you might think, be it through social campaigns, image upload competitions, or campaigns that drive your digital contacts to your physical store. The limit to your database building really is your imagination.