5 Tips for List Hygiene and Maintenance - Ensuring Clean, Quality, Accurate Data
In many ways, clean data is the key
to marketing success, whether you are using direct mail or email outreach. But according to
ZoomInfo, 94% of businesses suspect that they have inaccuracies in their
databases. How can you help your business avoid falling prey to the same dirty
data dilemma that affects so many others?
First…The Importance of Data Cleaning
According to an article on Forbes.com, dirty data (e.g. duplicate records and inaccurate
information) is the biggest threat to your company’s direct marketing efforts. These
inaccuracies can cost companies more than 12% of their overall revenue.
Insights into your customers and their actions are critical to how your sales
and marketing teams make decisions.
Start with Quality Data
Know from the start what you want
to get out of your data, how you will regularly maintain list hygiene, and how you
will prevent/rectify list
errors like typos and missed fields. Consider how to keep your data
current, understanding that nobody’s information remains static (people move,
change jobs or email addresses). Above all, make sure that everyone on your
team is on the same page: using the same criteria, abbreviations, and database.
Vet Incoming Information
Don’t let unhealthy data enter your
healthy database! Develop a Standard Operating Procedure for managing
new records as they are created. If you use a form for capturing new
visitor information, require standardized data formatting and fields. When
acquiring a new lead—whether through a form or a sales contact—use a double
opt-in method to verify their email or physical address. These efforts will
help to minimize or eliminate duplicates or bounces by catching undeliverable
or junk addresses.
Make Efforts to Check Data Accuracy
The bounces and undeliverable
addresses outlined above cost you money. To get the most bang for your buck,
take measures—like a double opt-in, mentioned above—to ensure that the
information in your database is accurate and clean. Consider employing software
tools that can help you verify data without requiring extensive manual work.
Find and Eliminate Duplicate Records
Duplicate information is a waste of
time and outreach. You lose the cost of production and postage on every
duplicate postcard or letter you send and waste time and effort with bounces or
inaccurate data on duplicated email addresses or names. With duplicates, you
may be inundating a single user who has multiple records, or you may only have
partial insight into customers/prospects whose information is split across multiple
Continue Building Out Your Records
Marketers are wise to consider
progressive record building. For instance, if the captured data started with
just name and email, use software to add title, phone number, physical address,
etc., on subsequent visits. The software may also help you build out records by
searching the web for first-party data, cleaning it, and updating your customer
These good customer data practices will help you
ensure that you have the critical customer information you need for effective
outreach with minimal bounces or returned mailings; give you a single view into
your customers and their interests/actions; reduce wasted postage or mailing
costs; and help you maintain a solid reputation as a company that is careful
with customer information.