Keeping Your Data Up-To-Date

The Importance of Data

Data is the driver of so much in this day and age but businesses often struggle to know where to start with data collection, management and usage. Done well, it leads to significant increases in revenue, profit and customer retention. Let’s take a look at some examples of where data can make a big difference to a small business.

Car Garage

A customer brings their car in to a small local garage for 2 new tyres because they have seen a deal advertised in the local paper which is what they typically rely on for generating business but its low margin being so competitive.

When will that garage contact that customer next and about what? Often the answer is never because the data that will drive contact with that customer has not been captured anywhere electronically. For example, capturing when is their MOT and service is next due along with a mobile number and email address (customer name and address are a given!) would allow them to go for that work when the time comes and in a cost effective manner by text / email (or mail). Collecting this simple data allows that garage to better influence that customer’s decision on where to get the work done therefore increasing their revenue and profit, meaning their advertisement to capture new customers generates so much more than just one job.

Gardening Business

I was recently talking to a friend that runs gardening business and he said he was doing another flyer drop in the local area, he said his work had dried up. I asked him about the customers he had done work for in the past and when he last spoke to them about whether they would like any work doing. The challenge was, he had very little data. He had some names and phone numbers in his mobile amongst all his other contacts but couldn’t show me a list of customers, what work he had done for them and when. Keeping a simple spreadsheet or even paper diary with a record of each job carried out, for which customer and the date, perhaps with the cost of the work would have made the world of difference to him. It would have allowed him to generate work from an existing customer base by targeting those that had work this time last year or had not had any work done for a while rather than having to go for new customers which is costly and time consuming.

Top 10 Tips

  1. Make some time to decide what data will be of use to you e.g. last job date, next contact date
  2. Don’t put it off – the sooner you start capturing data it the sooner you can use it to your advantage
  3. Review any existing data capture processes what quantity and quality of data are your staff capturing
  4. Measure success regularly daily, weekly or monthly
  5. Set out a plan for how and when you will contact current customers, previous customers and prospective customers
  6. Ensure data you capture allows you to follow the plan
  7. Follow through on the plan and measure success
  8. Find a method that keeps it simple manual diary, spreadsheet, other software.
  9. There are lots of very cost effective and sometimes free solutions which are ready made, search the internet
  10. Get some help if it all seems too much.
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The Do’s and Don’ts of Email Marketing

Email marketing remains the single most popular customer acquisition channel, but in 2015 76% of emails were deleted within 24 hours. Read our top do’s and don’ts to make sure your email campaigns are working for you.

Do test. Test different browsers and email clients- there are many ways of reading emails now. Test for spam- it is never going to convert if it doesn’t reach the inbox in the first place. Test results – A/B testing is all about you, which method works best? You could test your call to action, subject line, the specific offer, the text and images.

Don’t presume anything. Don’t presume you know your demographic – test. Don’t presume your template is the best. Test!

Do use a short and simple subject line. With 89% mobile users deleting emails before opening, subject lines can be killer. Keep it punchy.

Don’t forget mobile. 50% of users check email on mobile devices, so everything should be built mobile-up.

Do use a clear and impactful call to action. This is what will convert your email into clicks.

Don’t bombard them. Don’t spam. Don’t annoy people. This will only lead to the unsubscribe button.

Do know the best time to send. Traditionally midday in the middle of the week is the best time to send emails, but with mobile users the whole game has changed. The best way to find the perfect timing? Yep, that’s right! Test!

Don’t ramble on. Get to the point quickly. You only have a few seconds to capture their attention.

Do use pre-header text. If your image doesn’t load, pre-header text will still communicate the main subject of the email to the recipient.

Don’t be afraid to try new things. Even if your email is working well, don’t be afraid to switch it up a bit. Everyone gets bored of having the same thing, and there could be an even better solution. Also, customers get complacent in what they expect from you, try surprising them.

Do optimise images for lighter load. Especially for mobile. You don’t want the quality to be bad but you need to think about how long it is going to take to load on mobile, there is a fine line between image quality and weight. Find out what it is.

Don’t end up in the junk folder. There are plenty of things you can do to ensure you reach the inbox. Don’t use the terms “free”, “click here” or “buy now”. Think about image to text ratio and image size and weight. Don’t use ALL CAPS, especially in the subject line. And avoid excessive use of exclamation points!!!!!!

Do be selective when buying email lists. Buying lists is a common practice, but you need to be targeted, and make sure those people are relevant to your demographic. Sending to the wrong demographic can be damaging to your brand.

Don’t be discouraged by bad results. They might not be as bad as you think! Industry standards have an average click-through rate of 1.5-5.7%. Even if your results really are bad, this just gives you an opportunity to not repeat your mistakes. Why didn’t a particular campaign work? Find out, and make sure your next campaign is better!

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