It wouldn’t be the first time you’ve heard me harp on about databases but it truly is the core to the next phase of the marketing cycle and if you don’t get it right then you can forget being the Babe Ruth of your industry…it’s strike out if you don’t even see the pitch!
Building a database isn’t as easy as it would seem.
It’s all well and good to gather information and even to have some semblance of an order but if the data itself can’t be authenticated then you’re going to have huge issues going forward.
As eNewsletters become more and more popular as a form of communication, your database is definitely going to play a bigger role in your batting line up.
The issue is, that as time goes on, spam laws will become tighter and tighter and deliverability is becoming a much more significant issue.
For those that care to understand the Spam Laws, there is a really good site on the CAN-SPAM Act that outlines the guidelines in fairly simple terms and includes examples.
In simple terms though, you can only ever email people who have clearly given you permission to email them specifically about the subject you’re contacting them about.
The problem is, that most companies don’t have effective ways of proving this and as enforcement of the laws becomes stronger, those with no evidential basis to their database will simply have to forfeit the use of that database.
As a guide, here’s a few ways to ensure that your database is sound.
• Ensure you have a subscribe form on your website and clearly outline what they are signing up for.
It’s best to make this as broad as you can so that you leave yourself open to being able to contact them on a range of subjects.
• If you’re gathering your database via a website form that’s not a specific subscription form, then provide an opt-in checkbox on the form. Now don’t try and be tricky and make people check it if they DON’T want to be contacted…this just won’t fly.
• When running an offline competition or survey, you must explained to them that you would be contacting them by email AND have them tick a box indicating they would like you to contact them.
It’s also fine to contact clients or customers who have purchased from you within the last 2 years.
Another traditional method of building a database is the collecting of business cards. You essentially need to ask for permission to add them to your list but it’s fair to say that if you have had a conversation with them and it’s reasonable to assume that they would expect to hear from you, then you will be fine…this is a grey area though.
Also, keep in mind that if they simply dropped their business card in a bowl at an event or similar, then there must be a sign indicating that they will be contacted by email about that specific topic.
It may seem a little complicated at first but like most things, if you lay the foundation and do things right in the first place then you won’t have a problem.
Hitting it out of the ball park is easy with the right team of tools. Making sure your database is a big hitter is no longer an option…it’s a must!
Interested in finding out more?
Why not come along to the Margaret River Region Super Online Network Training Program session?
(yes…it’s a mouthful isn’t it!)
To find out more, see our article here or contact firstname.lastname@example.org to register your interest.