This is a guest post by Clint Wilson, CEO Cazoomi.

You’re not alone if you use QuickBooks, Excel, or other tools to manage your business in tandem with email marketing.

In fact, you’ve probably found yourself searching through old email conversations trying to find something, looking for numbers on multiple spreadsheets in multiple locations, or getting a reply from an angry prospect you emailed who had already opted-out.

Millions of small businesses face these challenges daily. In this post, we share with you some of the contact database options that solve these problems and fit nicely with your email marketing strategy.

What is a contact database?

A contact database, or its fancier version the Customer Relationship Manager (CRM), makes it easy to remember everything about your contacts. With it, you and other members of your team are able to enter data into a single version of the truth, YOUR DATABASE. You can even automatically sync your contacts with your email marketing program.

Why is a contact database important?

When emailing your contacts it’s key that your subscriber data remain up to date across all the applications your small business is using today. Sending a message out from your CRM when a subscriber has opted out or vice versa can cost your company not only just a customer but it also pushes you up against CAN-SPAM regulations. So keeping your marketing and contact lists up to date is critical.

How do you find the right contact database for your business?

Here are some questions to ask:

  1. First, what do you want the system to do? Options include sales management, marketing automation, customer service and support, call center, help desk, knowledge management, web self-service, and more.
  2. Next, how many users will use the contact database at the same time? How many contacts and how many deals will you track with it?
  3. Finally, what is your monthly budget for a contact database?

Here are some contact database options:

If you’re just starting out or on a tight budget until you can see some return on your investment (ROI) then check out Base (free for up to 150 deals) or Highrise CRM which is free for up to 250 contacts. And there’s Google Contacts which is free up to 25,000 contacts. These options are perfect to get you started.

Looking for free but also something you can build more into later like accounting, marketing automation, projects, social, support, then take a look at Zoho CRM which is free for the first 3 users.

Need a paid plan now which incorporates it all then go with Microsoft Dynamics CRM, NetSuite CRM+, Sage ACT!, Salesforce.com, or SugarCRM. All of these CRMs will pull in your marketing metrics for email marketing too.

Easy integration with your Constant Contact contacts

Rest assured that once you choose the right CRM for your business you can quickly integrate it with your Constant Contact contacts. Just head to the MarketPlace to easily connect all your contact data!

Are you using a CRM for your business or organization? Let us know what you think in the comments below.