6 Replies Latest reply on May 12, 2011 10:17 AM by philmodjunk

    Newbie!  Help!



      Newbie!  Help!


      My client list for my small business is growing, and I am finding myself ever in the need of a database program.  I have never used a database program before, so all this is very new to me.  I'd like to explain what I am looking for, and if you all could let me know if FileMaker can do this, I would greatly appreciate it! I Obviously need to be able to keep contact info    I am beginning to seminars for a host of financial products. These seminars are marketed in a multitude of ways.  Press Release, Direct Mail, Signage, Website, soon Radio adds,  etc.  When someone calls in to reserve seats we find out how it was they heard of us.  I need to be able to enter the call-ins Names and contact info and track the long term results of each of these marketing techniques to determine their profitability. I trust I'm not losing anyone.       Once they reserve seats, I need to hit them with a confirmation letter, follow-up email and reminder postcard prior to the event.  So I need something that I will be able to look at and say: "This list needs to be emailed today to remind them about next weeks workshop"     Once the people have attended, many will sign up for a individual consultation, and perhaps become a client.  So at that point I need to be able to say:  Ok, so 12 people reserved a seat through the direct mail campaign, 7 off the website, 10 from signage, 11 from radio etc.  Of those 12 that came to us through direct mail, we had 4 become long term clients; 2 from the 7 website reservations....and so on. I would also like to be able to access a list of people that have birthdays that month and things like that.   I'm new to this, so I don't even know if this kind of stuff is available to guys like me in small business, for a decent price... Appreciate any comments.

        • 1. Re: Newbie!  Help!

          FileMaker can do everything you describe, but that isn't the key question. The key question is are you able to use FileMaker to create it?

          FileMaker is a tool for creating databases. How well and how quickly you can create a database will depend on the skills you already have and how much time you want to invest learning how to design databases.

          You indicate that you have never used a database before. That suggests that you may need to invest some time reading about the subject and/or watching training tutorials on how to do this. (And you're welcome to ask questions here as you work on the project.)

          If you haven't already done so, you can download a free 30 day trial copy of the database to try it out and see if you can get it to work for you or not.

          Another option, is to find and buy an off the shelf application that does this for you. Or perhaps you can find a FileMaker database template someone has already designed that will do what you want.

          Some people also hire someone to create their database for them...

          • 2. Re: Newbie!  Help!

            Thanks phil... Thats what I figured.   Your answer to the "key question"  would be NO!   I am fairly Tech-Savvy but as I said, I've never done anything with databases.  I am downloading the trial to FileMaker, and have already downloaded the Bento.  Which of those do you recommend to start with? 

            I will definitely be reading a lot!  It is starting to drive me batty, trying to keep a lot of people and who they are straight on spreadsheets. So I have some incentive.

            Where would you reccomend me to start learning?  

            • 3. Re: Newbie!  Help!

              I really can't make any recommendations here other than to do a lot of web searches and evaluate the training materials and books for yourself. You can check out reader reviews on book selling sites such as Amazon, for example.

              • 4. Re: Newbie!  Help!

                There's a really good/deal situation for you at ...


                It's a pre-written Filemaker Business database solution that comes free just by downloading a filemaker trial...

                You can try using the database(s) to see if they meet your needs.

                If it looks promising, you can buy Filemaker, and customize the database as you develop skills.

                That's what makes FMP great, you can adapt IT to me your needs, rather than adjust your business for use with someone elses idea of what's important.

                Also note: theres a half-price deal avail till June 17 --so your timing couldn't be more perfect.

                eGads this sounds like an Ad but I'm not affiliiated with Filemaker in anyway - its just a great time to look into FMP as a possible solution.

                • 5. Re: Newbie!  Help!

                  Thanks guys!  Im doing alot of research, trying to find out whats going to work best.  According to my description of what i'm wanting to do, is BENTO capable of that?


                  • 6. Re: Newbie!  Help!

                    I don't think Bento can do all that you describe, but I am not a Bento user (Don't have a mac). You may want to either ask that question on the Bento forum or research the product info on Bento here on this site.