An experienced data professional who has been working within the direct marketing industry for over 20 years. Having spent 17 years as owner and MD of Data HQ Ltd his remit covers the whole of the management spectrum including; strategy development, organisational structure, company policy & procedure and product development.
To ensure your email campaigns deliver the results they deserve, you need a clean and tidy email marketing database. But as data decays incredibly fast, it’s important to follow some basic database best practices to maintain this list of contacts.
But firstly, what is an email marketing database? It’s a set of business contacts, provided either by a third party or compiled in house, for email advertising. Email marketing campaigns to existing or prospective clients may include product or service advertising, general brand building or disseminating high value content.
But to maintain the quality of this marketing email database—and to deliver consistent results— you should consider the following five best practices:
Welcome new subscribers
To maintain your email marketing database, it’s good practice is to set up an auto-triggered welcome email. This communication should thank them for subscribing and request they add your email address to their safe senders list, to avoid your emails going to junk.
Your welcome message is your first opportunity for sophisticated personalisation. In your welcome message, establish yourself as an expert in your field. Make sure to provide original content on a topic you know subscribers are interested in and they’ll be more likely to trust you.
Engage with your database
Next, don’t let your email marketing database go cold.
Regular engagement is critical for ensuring your email campaign delivers the level of results you’re looking for. At the same time, don’t spam your database. Make sure communications are relevant, targeted and valuable to the audience.
Keep your email database clean
Think how often you change jobs, phone numbers and addresses. Your database loses integrity alarmingly quickly. In fact, statistics show that up to 25% of your email list will drop off each year.
- Standardise data entry and formatting
- Periodically amend incomplete or incorrect data
- Periodically add new contacts’ information
- Periodically deduplicate contacts
- Remove irrelevant or outdated contacts
It’s important to regularly remove all hard bounces and recurring soft bounces from your lists. Repeatedly sending to invalid emails will soon have a very negative impact on your sender reputation.
IP reputation strongly influences your email campaigns, but also has an impact on the entire brand. When you run email campaigns from an IP with a bad reputation, they land in the SPAM, which may have a lasting negative image on your brand overall.
Manage your unsubscribers
Always give your email contacts a way to unsubscribe, or to manage their preferences. Why not offer your email recipients a chance to opt-down rather than pure opt-out? Maybe they would be happy with fewer emails.
Subscription management allows contacts to customise the content they see, or choose the frequency of the emails they receive. It gives a contact the ability to remove themselves from certain types of emails, or if they desire, opt out altogether.
Boost weak areas
Once you have a handle on your database, you’re confident it’s clean and you’re managing unsubscribes properly, you can start to supplement: boost any weak areas by buying in data. Make sure you only buy from trusted and reliable sources; as you know, the quality of your data can make or break campaign results, as well as your reputation as a business.
Hiring a specialist will give you a more in-depth and thorough review of your data’s quality. They will be able to highlight errors resulting from the data’s age or during the data entry stage. A professional audit will also uncover missing information, such as addresses and phone numbers, and (if available) company size, sector and more.
Another important consideration is to stay compliant with GDPR and other regulations. If you’re not clear what these are, we recommend you seek advice from a data expert.
Now’s as good a time as any to give your database a health check. At Data HQ, we offer a free database check up to help you ensure your marketing lists are complete, current and compliant.
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