The BIG Benefit of Databases for Small Businesses
One2create were recently approached by Craft Focus to share our knowledge on the benefits of databases for small businesses.
Databases, they don’t sound like the most exciting subject in the world but what if we told you they could be the answer to better customer relationships?
They could increase the turnover for your company and make your business more profitable. A comprehensive and well-organised database, could literally be the holy grail of business, the bedrock for success.
Sounds more interesting now, doesn’t it?
Here are the four major reasons why you shouldn’t be without one.
MANAGING CUSTOMER RELATIONSHIPS
You need to think about how many offers and emails you get bombarded with on a daily basis… and then, how many of those end up in the trash, ignored, or worse still for the sender, prompt the recipient to click on the unsubscribe button. The answer is probably the majority.
Databases let you stand out from the crowd and allow your business to enhance return on investment when sending marketing communications. Databases can do this by allowing you to build up a profile of your customers and by storing information you want to collect about individual customers.
Does one of your customers love a particular craft? Are they going on holiday this year? Maybe they mentioned something to you that they want to achieve in the future. All of this information allows you to make communication with your customers more tailored and ultimately make them feel less like a number and more like a human being.
INCREASE YOUR CASH FLOW
All small businesses have a number one enemy – competitors, the battle to get greater market share and a fight to increase brand awareness. Ultimately however, the main destroyer of small businesses is cash flow and the ability to make sure that you have capital available at any given time to react to challenges or opportunities that present themselves to your business.
By creating a database that allows you to control your stock, you can improve your capability to deal with this. Lots of small businesses make the mistake of tying up capital in stock, then find it a struggle in the long run as stock fails to sell.
Databases can allow you to keep tabs on stock, seeing how much of each product is selling, what needs to be re-ordered and can even teach you lessons on which products have been stuck on your shelves or in the warehouse for far too long.
Databases help you to make intelligent choices about stock purchasing, and can automate the re-ordering process (if necessary) and fundamentally protect cash flow going forward. This will enhance your ability to be fluid and take advantage of market changes or even more critically, to survive economic downturn.
SEGMENTING YOUR TARGET AUDIENCE
Already touched on earlier, a database is a great way to steer the conversations you have with your customers.
Small businesses often have only a small marketing budget to play with so why waste it on poorly planned or ill-directed marketing campaigns Having a well-managed database gives a business a fantastic insight into a customer’s buying patterns, interests, location, age and a whole host of other data. This in turn allows a targeted marketing campaign to be undertaken.
Imagine being a jeweller that sells exquisite wedding rings. What do you think would be more effective and get a better return on investment: ‘scatter-gun’ campaigns sent to everyone in their database, or a targeted campaign sent to individuals that have been specifically identified, such as women who are currently engaged or women living in the region where the business operates? The answer is clear, and using a database effectively will deliver the return on investment your business craves.
Take lessons from Facebook , essentially one of the biggest databases in the world. Facebook allows its users to place adverts on the social networking site, the key selling point of which being the opportunity to segment the target audience by marital status, age, sex and more.
Now we’re not saying you need a database containing just over one billion individuals like Facebook (which now has a 7th of the global population using its site) however, the same principles apply. By having a database with all of the information you could ever wish to collect about current and prospective customers, you have a unique opportunity to target your marketing to specific individuals – take the opportunity now or get ready to fail.
AMAZING ADMINISTRATIVE EFFICIENCIES
Enhance your business’s administrative processes through the delivery of database efficiencies and use your database for processing orders, reminding you to call customers and recording conversations, invoicing and collecting customer data and information, sending email confirmations – the list goes on.
Through the implementation of an online e-commerce system, integrated into your website, it can instantly deliver huge savings in both time and cost but the real superstar behind the whole e-commerce system is – you guessed it – a database!
The database can be easily populated with relevant content, it can collect data about each customer and can even synchronize with accounts to automatically generate an invoice each time a customer makes an order. Rather than feel dazed and dazzled like a rabbit in the headlights, you now have the information you need to make an informed decision about how a database can help to take your business to the next level.