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Website marketing guide
for small businesses and start-ups

How to use your website to generate marketing data

Some forms of marketing are difficult to do if you don't have any data to work with. If you get junk-mail which is addressed to you through your door, it means you are on somebody's mailing list and that they got your data from somewhere – probably on a list they bought from another company you transacted with.

Since small businesses cannot afford to buy lists of prospects from other companies, they must create their own databases. One way to grow your database is to use your website to capture prospect information.

Here are some ways you can do this:

Run a competition

If you run a competition or prize draw through your website it gives you the opportunity to collect data. Remember that you can't use the data for marketing purposes unless the user 'opts in'. This means that they must agree to be contacted by you in the future about offers or with information.

Simply add a check box to your entry form that gives the entrant the option of receiving more information by email or post from you.

Send a newsletter

Many businesses send out a newsletter either in the post or by email which keeps customers abreast of any new offers and products or gives them useful information related to your industry.

You can use your website to sign-up users to your newsletter and at the same time as them if they would like to receive other types of communication from you.

Registration or membership

On some websites you must be a member in order to buy a product or view information. This is true whether you are buying books and CDs from amazon.com or reading marketing news on mad.com.

Creating a membership or registration process in this way allows you to capture the data of all your customers. Even if they don't opt-in to receive communications from you, you will still be able to learn a lot about your customer base from the information they give. This will help you to improve your service and target it more effectively to your customer base.

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