Growing Your DatabaseClients always ask me what they can do to grow their database, because lets face it, more subscribers means more revenue (or eyeballs) depending upon what you are trying to accomplish. In part 1, I will discuss all of the ways you can add subscribers to your database. In part 2, we will talk about some techniques that will get people excited to join your database.

With that in mind, here are some good ways to add subscribers to your database –

  • 1. Web forms: There are two types of Web forms you can provide for subscribers so they can add themselves to your database.
    1. a. Website form: I am sure almost everyone has some type of form to capture data on their website. I suggest you try and ask as much information as you can without turning your subscriber off. It\’s a fine balance here, and only you know your subscriber base. From my experience, those with fan sites will be able to ask the most questions because subscribers will have the most loyalty and will be well, fanatical about wanting to stay in contact with their objects of affection.

      Even though most businesses have Web forms in place, 99% of them need to step up their user experience – Web 2.0 is here for goodness sakes! To hook more subscribers with a sleeker look and feel, check out this imedia connection post by Molecular. The first two levels cover form validation and Auto-suggest, both highly recommended when trying to capture more data from your subscribers.

      b. Wireless form: To tap into the onsite data capture without relying on the old pen/paper method, we incorporated wireless forms into Stun!. The idea is simple: allow a business to generate a Web form that is formatted for use on the Blackberry or Sidekick so that anyone in the field can quickly capture someone\’s information and this data can in turn be sent directly into the database wirelessly over the Internet. A good wireless form should check in real time for a valid email address or duplicate data.

  • 2. Offline: Even though Stun!\’s wireless data capture feature (as mentioned above) is trying to replace the pen/paper concept, we can\’t rule this out as a way of capturing data. A lot of companies who run offline events still like the old school way of getting people to opt in. I must have filled out a ton of cards on the mall and have yet to still win a Mercedes.
  • 3. Upload:
    1. a. Multiple records: All good digital marketing solutions should give you an easy way of uploading multiple subscribers that you have collected either in your offline initiatives (as noted above) or from personal contacts you have gathered. When data is uploaded, it should always be scrubbed for duplicates, invalid records, abuse complaints, and unsubscribes.
      b. Single subscribers: If you can upload multiple records you should quickly be able to input a single subscriber into your system. All of the same checks should be done for data integrity.
  • 4. SMS: Text messaging via SMS is a great way to build your database and it engages your subscriber in a conversation. Stun!\’s SMS campaign manager has a mobile CRM feature called Data Builder that allows you to send a message out to your database and ask them any question you want such as (Text back your FIRST NAME followed by your EMAIL ADDRESS). You can set it up so that when they respond with this data, it gets appended to their subscriber record. You can also set up a series of campaigns that are scheduled to go out once a week that ask your database a new question. This is a great way of building your database without having to think about anything, just set it and forget it.
  • So we\’ve now covered the techniques to capture more subscriber data. Next time, we\’ll discuss strategies to get them to actually fill out the forms. Stay tuned\”¦

    Jared Reitzin
    How To Become An Entrepreneur