With data-related legislation getting stricter (as shown in the CAN-SPAM, CASL, and new EU regulations), there’s a need for companies to adopt smooth data processes that comply with all relevant laws. But while there’s so much focus on smooth data collection, data cleaning is of equal importance.
Why bother to clean your data?
Lots of people are reluctant to clean their data because they are not comfortable with losing an email address they’ve had for years. But they fail to realize that invalid email addresses cost the company money. They can also have a negative impact on deliverability as invalid email addresses almost always serve as spam traps.
But data cleaning does not equate to getting rid of bad data. Clean data also means having the necessary permission to send out emails to consumers, and ensuring that email addresses not subscribed are suppressed.
A data cleaning process that is properly coordinated will likely lead to increased deliverability rates, allow you to measure email marketing performance more accurately and save you some money.
Simple steps to incorporate into your data cleaning routine
- Re-engage your current list
A good starting point is to ensure that your current list is separated from un-engaged contacts. Go through your campaign report and fetch those contacts that have failed to open your emails for some time (e.g. a year). Then email these contacts, asking them to update their information and also confirm if they are still interested in receiving emails from you.
- Evaluate your bounces
Analyze your campaign reports and study the addresses that bounce. You will invariably find some, sometimes as a result of email addresses no longer existing, invalid domain name, recipients’ boxes being full, and a host of other reasons.
Some invalid data are bound to find their way in occasionally, like typing the wrong address at the time they were signing up. Other times, it might just be a case of soft bounces, which aren’t permanent.
Hard (or permanent) bounces are what you should be concerned about – they should be set apart as part of the cleaning process. You can learn more about various types of bounces here.
- Have suppression lists in place
Okay, now you’ve figured out a list of addresses you want to stop emailing, you shouldn’t delete them but instead add them to a suppression list. If they somehow find their way back into your system after removing them, the entire data cleaning process would have been in vain, and you will waste time and money sending emails to them again.
Another thing about suppression lists is that you can ensure that you are not emailing contacts that aren’t on your email list anymore.
- Brace up for the future with a double opt-in
With a double opt-in process; new signups will have to receive an email to confirm their subscription to receive your emails. It’s possible for consumers sometimes to agree to receive your emails by mistake (especially when pre-checked boxes are used during registration). Confirming the opt-in is proof that the action is a voluntary one. Otherwise, the next time you send them an email, your email could get marked as spam, which will severely affect your deliverability.
By doing more than what the law requires, you have permission to send emails to subscribers. This can save you if anyone tries to contest that, so you don’t land in court like John Lewis. You also have the freedom to offer them a gift such as a free download or discount code to thank them for their subscription. Or you can explain to them what they can expect from your future emails, as well as the frequency of those emails.
StrategicDB can help you clean your data so you can focus on selling and marketing your products/services. Contact us today to learn more.