So your business is growing and you are starting to gain new leads every day and getting new transactions each day. One of the most important actions is to capture transaction data.
If you have a website, one of the easiest and least expensive ways to do that is to set up an opt-in form for people to enter their data. I recommend Formstack. They have lots of pre-built forms, whether for invoicing, contest entries, e-Mail opt-in forms, or e-commerce with full analytics.
Transaction data is data that includes information about customer purchases, communications (example e-Mails to customer support) and interactions, such as product returns. Transaction data is only useful in connection of knowing who made the purchase, which leads marketing professionals to offer incentives to consumers to identify themselves when making purchases. One very effective way to do that is to offer to send customers who enter their e-Mail address a coupon or special offers when they sign up for your e-Mail newsletter. Nowadays, a lot of department stores have that option when you swipe your credit card in the credit card processing machine during checkout. The easiest way to implement this lead capturing strategy is to have a website with a web form. If your business is web-based, you can offer a free eBook as an incentive to join your e-Mailing list.
Sometimes transaction data is used for follow-up communications or determine consumer purchase patterns that allow the company to determine target markets or the most efficient marketing efforts, which can greatly benefit you in maximizing your return on investment by targeting a niche market.
Now you know how to generate leads as well as how to gather transaction data, but what do you do with it and where do you store it?
The process of storing and organizing all of this information is often referred to as data warehousing.
Data warehousing facilitates the challenge of organizing all of your customer data in an efficient and organized manner, which you can then use to know your customers and have them know you. Data warehouse functions include
- Customer communication, whether in form of a follow-up e-Mail, a phone call or a postcard
- Data-driven marketing programs, such as certain paid advertising spaces on the internet as this data will allow you to identify your target market and which websites are mostly visited by your target market in order for you to place your ads on these pages and be likely to attract new leads
- Customer service operations
- Customer information storage and organization, which allows you to search for certain customers based on many different characteristics for certain marketing campaigns
- Sales staff operations – depending on who your customers are, you will have to create a sales strategy as well as find a sales staff that is fit for that particular sales strategy to maximize efficiency
- Market planning, which includes the refining of your business plan, goals, and action plan
Improvements in technology require a continuous adaptation in database programs, so make sure you choose database software that will suit your needs long-term. In addition, competition constantly increases, which requires companies to have a quality database program to be competitive.