Make Dates Part of Your Small Business Strategy for Sales and Marketing

Customer dates should be integral to your small business strategy for sales and marketing.

Access to a customer's birthday, anniversary or other significant date is another of the advantages of a database management system. It presents some exciting marketing opportunities for the small business.

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Dates - the essence of a small business strategy for database marketing

A customer date encapsulates the perfect small business strategy for database marketing:

  • one single, simple piece of information

  • easy to capture and record

  • very personal to the customer.

A date gives you a great reason to contact the customer, not to hard-sell but to offer them something of value as a reward or incentive.

Get your data organised and accessible

Your database management system or CRM software system (or even a simple Excel spreadsheet) will be able to run filters based on customer dates, giving you notice of an upcoming birthday or anniversary.

But the data needs to be up-to-date and accessible first!

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Get personal with your customers

How you contact the customer will depend on your relationship. Here are some suggestions:


    You might consider the personal touch to be the best strategy, and send a hand-written card.

    Pros: personal, high delivery rate (ie your card will almost certainly reach the customer)

    Cons: more labour-intensive, not automated, cost per item sent


    For high volume, low transaction-value customers, using automated emails may be a better strategy. Most good email delivery systems can send an email to individuals, triggered automatically by the approach of a specified date.

    This is a fantastic way to reduce your workload, while still taking advantage of the opportunities presented by using dates.

    Pros: fully automated once set-up, can have some personalisation, no cost per item sent

    Cons: low delivery rate (average 20% - see link below), not so personal


    A manual or automated text message might suit your customers better.

    Pros: high delivery rate, fully automated once set-up (may need API - speak to your text service), some personalisation

    Cons: very limited space (160 characters, including unsubscribe line), cost per item, not so personal

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Win-win with a repeat sale

It's a good strategy to offer the customer a discount or freebie as a gift that will give them reason to come back to your business.

A real win-win situation - you generate additional business and lots of goodwill from a very satisfied customer.

Track the response rate

Give your customer a voucher to redeem. This would be either included with your card, downloaded from the email, or if you use a text, the message itself.

Customers like to have something tangible, and it also means you can easily track the response rate to your promotion.

So, there's another crucial reason to make dates part of your small business strategy for sales and marketing!

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I used to dismiss a generic birthday card from a business as just commercial and soul-less. However, my partner did some work through a recruitment agency, who subsequently sent her a birthday card . To my surprise, she appreciated the gesture and put the card on display with all the others from her family!

Lesson learned...

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