As high as 70% of a marketing database will go stale in the course of a year because of contacts changing jobs or changing roles within a company. Inaccurate data can have a detrimental impact on any business, affect its credibility, and can also lead to decreases in productivity. Maintaining a high standard for data entering your database is crucial.
Elements of data hygiene include:
- Enhancing, correcting and expanding a record
- Appending and validating the data
- Finding missing elements in the database
- Identifying duplicate entries
Data management begins with understanding what qualifies a record as good or bad. A good record meets the minimum requirements for entry into your CRM. Make this the standard for what can enter your Marketing Automation Platform (which means that all required fields are complete and accurate). Better is when this record has extra data points that allow for proper segmentation. A bad record is one that does not contain all of the minimum required fields to enter your CRM or has incorrect/inaccurate data in those fields.
A few questions to ask yourself:
- What fields are required to create a record in your CRM?
- What explicit/profile data points are used in lead scoring?
- What other data points are good to collect and include in a record?
As you prioritize what data points you request on forms, both from data providers and from those who submit files to be added to the database, it is important to keep in mind the required fields that should always be included and then the addition of the four explicit fields for lead scoring should follow closely behind. Everything beyond that should be considered optional, but highly valuable all the same.
Once you understand what is good and what is bad, assess your database against those standards so you know where your gaps are. As much as I hate the idea of ‘acquiring’ contacts via purchases, it is a necessary evil.
Here is a quick checklist to use if you plan to purchase your data:
1. Complete due diligence on the list and the broker.
- Understand the subscriber experience from sign-up through inbox (if your content is being broadcast to a new audience through a system other than your own Automation tool, this is important).
- Speak to actual clients, run a credit check, and confirm that the mailing address is a real office.
- Confirm the opt-in and unsubscribe process and management of unsubscribes and opt-outs.
2. Understand what you are buying/renting.
- Verify the source of the records.
- Verify the permission level of the records.
- Find out if the sign-ups are incentive-based.
- Confirm that the list is never used for porn or spam offers.
- Make sure that the vendor is CAN-SPAM, CASL or EU Privacy compliant (depending upon the region of the data you are purchasing).
3. Ensure the ability to Segment.
- Prevent oversaturation by segmenting by category selects, demographics or past behavior.
4. Test. Measure. Repeat.
- Always send a small test and adjust.
- Test subject lines, headlines, offer language, and placement of links.
- Ask for benchmark data on response by your chosen segments.
- Know the inbox deliverability, not just bounce rate.
Use these tips as a guide to keep your data clean and you will see a big payoff in better qualified leads and increased lead conversions.
Data Hygiene & Acquisition – Where to Begin