As a core part of the Data HQ team since 2004, David is an expert at unravelling complex data and making sense of intricate client requirements.
Today, it’s almost unheard of for businesses to neglect data marketing, whether that’s using a bought in B2B marketing list or through their own existing data. There is now a plethora of low-cost or free email delivery platforms, and with this comes the opportunity for almost any business to run mass email campaigns to a list of prospects or existing customers.
But are your marketing efforts performing as well as they can? Worse still, are they even having a negative effect on your business?
Read some hints and tips to ensure that you get the most out of your marketing lists:
Is your data list fit for purpose?
This question is very important, whether your marketing list is a purchased list of prospects, or in-house data that you have organically acquired over the course of normal business.Ask yourself, or your third party data supplier the below questions to help you:
- Is marketing to this data GDPR compliant?
- Is the data clean and accurate?
- When was the data last verified or cleansed?
- Are the recipients appropriate for this campaign?
Question your GDPR compliance
With GDPR now fully operational, there is far more clarity around what marketing activities are and aren’t compliant. Tim recently wrote a blog about how purchased data can be compliant, and the principle of Legitimate Interest; this can (probably!) be applied to your in-house data as well.
The ICO provides guidance on its website to help you evaluate this.
Consider the data quality
Ok, so your data is compliant, but is it clean and accurate? B2B data can decay at an alarming rate – up to 40% per year – so, when buying data, it is essential to check with your third party supplier what accuracy guarantees they have in place.
If it is your own in-house data, meanwhile, consider the practices you have to ensure data is correctly captured in the first place, and continues to be maintained. As well as improving internal processes, you could also outsource a data quality audit.
Your data supplier should have the capability to identify the data improvements that should be made. Completing this cleanse will help you to correct out-of-date or wrong information, as well as adding new data to your database.
Who is your target audience?
Whether you’ve purchased a marketing list, or you’re emailing in-house data, the temptation can be to select as much data as possible. Whilst this is understandable, it’s important to think about the aim of your campaign. Is the target audience you’re selecting correct for this specific message?
There are three main considerations:
- Timeliness: Is this the best time to communicate to that prospect/segment?If your campaign is designed around previous interactions or time of year this could seriously change the target audience. Communicating with your audience at the wrong time can damage your response rates, not just on this campaign but long term.
- Contact: Is the contact you are looking to reach a decision maker or influencer in the product or service you are promoting? Contacting people that have no interest in your current offer could lead to high unsubscribe rates and the inability to contact them in the future, even when your messaging is more relevant.
- Suppressions: Has the contact previously unsubscribed from you?There is nothing worse for brand reputation than to contact people who have previously asked not to be contacted, not to mention the legal implications this could have.
A poorly targeted campaign can do more harm than good; it can damage your brand perception or even cause difficulties for sending future emails.
High unsubscribe rates and/or using bad data can negatively affect your email platform to the point at which your sending privileges can be paused or stopped.
What broadcasting platform should you use?
As mentioned above, there are a lot of low-cost or free email broadcasting services. These tend to be great tools for in-house data but invariably they will not allow businesses to send campaigns to purchased or ‘cold’ data.
Some providers like MailChimp are clear about this; it is included in their terms of service.Other systems are not as categorical, so it is always worth checking before signing up to use their service if you intend to use cold data.If you are having difficulty finding a platform, your data provider should be able to assist you, or even send your campaign on your behalf.
The final piece in the jigsaw puzzle, however, is what you send. We’ve compiled a list of top tips, covered in our content engagement report. Download it now for detailed insights on engaging your audience with excellent content.
By considering all of the above, and focussing on who and when you communicate (and why!) you will maximise the benefits of your email marketing.
Further reading: Data HQ's complete guide to marketing lists
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