A lot of people go to a networking meeting, trade show, or conference only to return with a big stack of business cards that they either throw away, put in a drawer, or keep as a ever-growing pile on their desk. What they don’t realize is that there’s gold in those cards. One of the most important things you can do for yourself and/or your business is to create and maintain a database. Contacts are one of your most important assets because they can become clients or can recommend products or services, as you need them. Take easy steps toward mining the gold that is your database.
Think about your business and contacts. Decide what categories you should establish. This will help when you do a marketing campaign that is suited for one specific part of your business. For example, a pet retailer may categorize by pet clothing, bedding, or accessories.
Choose software that’s best for where you are with your business. For some, a simple spreadsheet will do while others will require ACT or other specific software.
Add to it- often
As tempting as it may be to pile those business cards up in a stack on your desk, resist. Within a week or two of making new contacts, make sure they are entered into the contact database.
Keep it maintained
Your database is seriously compromised the more out-of-date that it becomes. Make sure you schedule a regular time to do or have all your database updates done. This process can be made simple by keeping a file folder marked “Database Updates” handy. As mail, emails, or remove requests are made, put them in the file to be handled all at once.
Back it up
At least once a month back up your contact database. This can be done with a back-up drive or by using an online back up service like mozy.com.
Following these recommendations will ensure you are creating and maintaining a solid database- a smart investment of your time and resources.
Lauren L. Darr is the President and Founder of DIY Mmarketing Communications, a brand of Lauren Originals, Inc. She has over 20 years experience in working with companies large and small on their marketing efforts. Her passion is working with small businesses and entrepreneurs to create successful marketing campaigns. You can get a FREE report by Lauren, “The Top 3 Pitfalls of Marketing and How to Avoid Them” at http://www.diymarketingcommunications.com