The term “data hygiene” is more than a metaphor; if your list has invalid addresses, duplicate records, and swarms of typos, it’s not as healthy as it could be. Like bacteria colonizing the potato salad on a poorly tended salad bar, these bits of incorrect or invalid data can multiply throughout a database, reducing the overall effectiveness of your email marketing campaigns. A single error that propagates new, invalid account files of its own could limit deliverability.
How healthy is your data, and how can data enhancement help improve it?
Duplicate records are easy to introduce and hard to find unless you have the data enhancement tools to identify them. The more you know about your leads, the better you’re able to discern one from another. More complete data lets you separate Bill Smith in accounting at Company ABC from William Smith in sales at Company XYZ. Just as important, it could help you identify these two records as the same person after a career shift, which is critical for maintaining connections with customers. Spotting genuine duplicates and sorting them from false positives is a primary goal of data hygiene, and data enrichment plays a key role in the process.
Some incorrect information finds its way into your database at the outset. Leads can enter their data incorrectly sometimes, transposing numbers in a street address or hitting an extra letter at the end of a name. Other times, it’s data entry personnel who switch numbers or drop letters. Typos in email records are even more important; unlike street addresses, there’s no such thing as “close enough” when reaching out to an email address. You either reach the intended recipient, or you increase your hard bounce rates – and hard bounces make ISPs unhappy. Verification processes get rid of typos in email addresses before mailings go out.
Define Audience Segments Precisely
Better segmentation leads to more personalization, and customized emails are proven to have higher open and conversion rates. Just paying attention to your leads’ preferences, job titles, and other facts discovered through data enhancement can increase click-through rates by double-digit percentages. By giving you a clearer image of your leads, data enrichment lets you address their concerns and ease their pain points specifically.
Reduce Unsubscribe Requests
People unsubscribe from email lists for a host of reasons. Until you know more about those reasons and address them directly, you’re going to lose more leads than you should. Data enhancement tells you more about how you can be relevant to your leads, and relevance is critical to keeping engagement high. You’re also able to set up your preference center to accommodate your audience’s choices, giving them the power to control the flow of email into their in-boxes.
Email marketers sometimes get stuck in honeypots, email addresses designed solely to capture irrelevant messages. You have many reasons to learn more about your potential customers, and honeypots are yet another one. Real people leave digital signatures everywhere they go – signatures a data enhancement process can easily read and link to leads. Records that don’t contain any other information or are full of contradictory data could indicate a honeypot email address. Staying clear of these improves deliverability rates for all your email campaigns.
Work with a Trusted Data Services Partner
Data enhancement isn’t something you have to do all on your own. Work with a data services partner, and you’ll get the benefit of well-maintained, meticulously enhanced data for large new audience segments. These services typically include data append and data enrichment.
Win Back Inactive Leads
ISPs look at user engagement when assessing an email sender’s reputation. Mailing to inactive email addresses, then, can affect your good reputation with ISPs. At the same time, you don’t want to drop leads from your list too quickly if they aren’t responsive, so how do you handle it when a lead goes silent? Data enhancement can help by giving you more ways to boost your relevancy to these quiet leads. With higher relevance, you’re likelier to elicit a response. Even if that response isn’t an instant sale, it’s an important signal of a good relationship between you and your leads – a relationship ISPs want to foster.
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