Wednesday, 9 December 2015

New Years' Resolution - Build a clean database!

If you have a bit of downtime, put aside a few hours to inspect your customer database.

A customer database is gold. These are people who already know you, and they are usually receptive to receiving messages from you, and of course, more receptive to BUYING from you!

I recommend implementing a strict data policy in your business. And this starts with having a Style Guide.

Sounds a bit posh, but there's no berets or bling in site!

A Style Guide is what editors put together so their writers know what to do in the case of ambiguity in the language or text.

For example: Do we write labor or labour? Do we input phone numbers like this: "0455555555", or like this: "0455 555 555". Do we abbreviate roads info: "Drv or Hwy or St or Ave". Do we capitalise suburbs "SYDNEY instead of Sydney".

I know it seems pedantic, but in my years of helping clients with data, I have seen lists that are a dog's breakfast. And if you plan an SMS blast, a direct mail campaign, or your sales team want to call the list, that's when NOT having a Style Guide will bite you.

A stitch in time...

The SMS Express system is able to tidy imported data to a point. It will ignore spaces, remove duplicates and won't matter if the 0 is chopped off the front. The system's "style" is to reformat numbers from 0455 555 555 to 6145555555.

But what it can't do is fix wrong numbers or missing numbers.

You may use Excel, Access, Salesforce, HirePOS, Filemaker, SwiftPOS, doesn't really matter which program, as long as it's easy for you and your staff to use.

Many people use Excel because it's already there plus you can export data INTO Excel making it easy for use with SMS Express or for other direct marketing campaigns like mailing a brochure.

Put together a Style Guide that will instruct staff on how the data is to be input into your Customer Database...

For example:

If you want to make it easy for import into SMS Express, put the Mobile in Column A in your database (this is required by the SMS Express import Style Police!):

It may also help to print your Style Guide and stick it where you and your staff will see it.

So before I leave is your data actually collected? Reception, website form, cards, salespeople...? Try to make all your data collection and storage consistent so there's less double handling.

If you have a webform, then make this your "master" Style Guide format.

Don't forget our free 9-page Mobile Marketing Ebook, which covers data collection and formatting. Download's quick enough to read over a coffee break:

free sms marketing ideas ebook