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5 tips for maximizing the potential of your email database

I've just ended a 3 week tour of industry events and user conferences specific to the digital marketing and email industries. Getting out of the office is always great as I have an opportunity to hear what customers and thought leaders are buzzing about. I heard a lot of conversation about different marketing technologies and strategies that organizations are using to reach their customers.

Savvy marketers know that the days of batch-and-blast email campaigns are over, and they’re investing heavily in marketing technologies to better target and nurture their customers. Despite the heavy investment in sophisticated marketing technologies, many organizations are still having trouble reaching their customers in a meaningful way.

Unfortunately, data quality is often an overlooked part of a cross-channel marketing strategy. With email for example, it’s impossible to reach the right customer at the right time if you don’t have a valid email address, or if good emails aren’t being delivered because you’re experiencing deliverability issues. Here are five tips for ensuring you are maximizing the potential of your data and making the most of the marketing technologies you’re investing in.

1) Set & monitor data benchmarks: Email marketers should be monitoring their bounce rates, engagement rates, and inbox placement rates.  High bounce rates could be negatively affecting your sender reputation, meaning your emails may not be making it to the inbox. If you’re unsure what metrics to monitor, or suspect you have deliverability issues, you’ll want to reach out to client services at your cross-channel platform. They can typically connect you with deliverability experts that can make recommendations and help keep your email marketing program on track.

2) Verify data upon entry: Verifying data at the point of entry is critical to ensuring accurate email addresses are entering your database. Most of the time, invalid emails are due to human error such as fat fingering or spelling mistakes. Identifying these invalids while the customer is still engaged allows them to make corrections. Without a valid email address, you cannot send campaigns or important communications to your consumer base.

3) Improve searching functionality & remove duplicates: Many customers are engaging with brands through more than one channel and it’s important to identify duplicate information as it is captured. Don’t risk inundating customers with too much information because you’ve put them into multiple funnels. Software tools are available to help identify duplicates and improve searching functionality.

4) Manage inactive users: Users that are not opening or engaging with your emails could be having a negative impact on your sender reputation. You may want to try a reengagement campaign or reach out to them through another channel that they prefer over email. Many organizations set rules for when they initiate the reengagement campaign and eventually remove these users from their list if they continue to be disengaged. It’s important to consider your own buying process and customer life cycle when setting these benchmarks, but be sure to remove inactive users to protect your sender reputation.

5) Manage legacy data. 2% of user contact information goes bad each month. Email addresses are especially susceptible – accounts are constantly being abandoned, blocked or changed. Email verification is particularly important before mailing to any list you have not mailed to in more than 3-6 months. We suggest validating the email addresses before sending to mitigate risk of high bounce rates on older lists. If you have not mailed to a list in more than 12 months, you’ll need to send an opt-in campaign for users to confirm that they still want to receive emails from you.

Email marketing has been named the most important marketing channel today. As organizations continue investing in powerful marketing platforms, they must think about their email data quality strategy. If their data is inaccurate or harmful to their sender reputation, email campaigns could be doing more harm than good for your brand.

Want to learn more? Get started with an email deliverability audit.