Do any of the below scenarios seem familiar?
Scenario 1 – You have a list of email addresses that you regularly communicate with but rarely get a response from.
Scenario 2 – You recently purchased a list of supposedly targeted leads but every time you communicate with them you receive a ton of unsubscribe requests.
Scenario 3 – You’ve gathered a list over time from customers and associates and when you communicate with them via email you often receive ‘not interested’ replies.
Whether you’ve outlaid a lot of money or you’ve invested a lot of time into growing your database, the 1, 2 or 3 scenario would very likely be making you frustrated (insert a lot harsher words if frustrated doesn’t quite cut it). There are a lot of other scenarios similar to these that I’m sure you can relate to but instead of fretting over the problem you have, let’s focus on the solution.
Below we have listed what we would consider the important facets that make up a very GOOD database and we’ve also included how to create one if y ou don’t have it already.
A good database is one that has been cleansed before each email send. This means:
- Identifying and deleting duplicates – Sending emails costs money so you do not want to send one email to the same person twice. It’s not necessary, and certainly won’t please your potential customer. Depending on the Customer Relationship Management (CRM) system you are using you can set up an auto de-dupe or, if you are storing your list in excel, there is a dedupe function.
- Checking email addresses are correct – If you are using a system that accepts all emails, incorrect emails could be a problem for you. If email addresses are incorrect, each time you email out to your list you will very likely have a lot of ‘not delivered’ bounce backs, so the best thing to do before a send is to scan the list. Check for typo’s, .coms instead of .com.au’s and obvious spelling mistakes (e.g. htmail.com or gmial.com. ) on common email provider addresses such as Hotmail and Gmail.
- Deleting inactive emails – Emails that have bounced because someone has left a business or changed their details. You may need to call the business for an updated email contact or do a website search.
- Deleting junk contacts – You will often receive subscription emails such as email@example.com or similar, from leads who do not want to provide their real details. A sample smart email send will soon weed out the bogus emails from the correct ones.
- Removing unsubscribes from the list – If your system doesn’t automatically unsubscribe leads, make sure you have manually unsubscribed all requests, before your next send.
- Making sure the naming convention is correct – Each form field you use should reflect the correct column heading in your database list e.g. First Name. Last Name. Email Address etc… This will help for correct match when importing and exporting lists to an email platform or CRM system.
- All data formats are defined clearly – That is, you have no numerical digits in places where alphabetical submissions should be. And vice versa. Make sure you have applied validation constraints or check routines to avoid accepting incorrect data.
- Keep a backup of your data – This is especially important if you are sorting a list and analysing data. You don’t want to delete data (accidentally or not) and not be able to recover a recent copy.
- Check notifications or alerts – When importing leads to a campaign generator, make sure to check notifications or alerts. Some programs such as Marketo, Dynamic CRM, or Mailchimp will advise if leads haven’t imported correctly. It will then be your responsibility to scan the data to identify any problems that have occurred, are corrected.
- Test your data – You don’t really know how valuable your data is until you create an email campaign and send it out. Find out how, in my next blog The Perfect Email Send In 12 Easy Steps.
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