People who don’t deal with marketing data tend to think of data elements as solid pieces of truth, little gems that stay relatively unchanged over time. In reality, data’s more like produce – most valuable when it’s fresh, useful for a limited time, and prone to going off when you aren’t carefully tending it. Another misconception is that invalid data only affects individual records when in fact, invalid or outdated records can lower the quality of your entire database and affect overall deliverability. These obsolete pieces of information are the bad apples that can spoil your whole marketing barrel.
Here’s how to maintain the freshest data and keep your database in excellent order with data enhancement, great content, and timely communication.
Check in Periodically
How often do you ask your leads to fill out new forms? For too many businesses, the answer is “never.” They collected information once, they believe, and therefore they don’t have to revisit that lead. A better practice is to ask for updates and verifications occasionally. If you have a website log-in that remembers leads’ sign-in information, have them reenter their data occasionally. Quarterly sign-ins work for some industries, but if your industry has high turnover, a month might be a better choice. Ask subscribers to journals and newsletters to verify their information once in a while, too; not only are you collecting the freshest data, but you’re letting them know they’re important to you.
Keep Content Flowing
Your content is the star of any modern marketing program. With it, you’re able to collect volumes of direct and derived data about your leads. Offer great gated content, and you’re giving your leads a reason to update their information every time they download a new white paper or sign up for a webinar. When your content marketing strategy is on point, data flows into your marketing automation system naturally.
Cleanse Your Data
Data hygiene may not be as glamorous as content marketing, but it fills an essential role too. Records that no longer work for you are working against you, so merge/purge sessions and other data hygiene operations keep your marketing lists clean. With periodic scrubbing and archiving, records can be moved out of active circulation while still supplying your marketing automation system with important demographic and firmographic data points. Merging duplicate records, purging old data from the system, and verifying information are part of a larger data enhancement process that gives you much more detailed and complete records.
Enhance Your Data
Data enhancement fills in the blanks that every business mailing list contains. By looking at a master file that contains regularly updated information from multiple sources, you turn incomplete records into detailed accounts of your leads’ data and behaviors. With this fresh data in hand, you’ve got new channels to use when connecting with your leads and gain new insights into what they need to make buying decisions. Data enhancement has the power to influence not only your current relationships, but also those you create with leads in the future because it gives you a wealth of new client data at once.
Fresh data is healthier for your sales, tastier to your customers, and essential to your data-driven marketing program’s health. Make sure you keep your information in peak condition, and you’re already many steps ahead of competitors who are serving up the same old thing.
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