It's important to keep your data as clean and neat as you can. Your customers will love getting communication from you that has their proper information and you may see a sales boost as well.
No one likes dirty hands. Have you noticed how the hand sanitization market is booming? Have you noticed how many ladies have small bottles of hand sanitizers hanging off their hand bags?
Dirt spreads germs, if visible it looks terrible on your nice white shirt, and it is simply gross on your shoes.
In small business marketing, dirty data is also pretty nasty.
If you launch a marketing campaign to 300 women in your database and you call them all "Mr." or "Sir," that's pretty bad. If you have someone's name spelled incorrectly, that's pretty bad. And of course having the wrong email means you get an email message that bounces back and never reaches its intended recipient. I could go on.
To ensure that your data is as clean as possible, there are a few things you must do on a regular basis.
When you input your data, make sure it's as clean as it can be, right from the start. If you (or your team) are manually typing in contact information (like from business cards), stress the importance of carefully checking the data entry.
Maybe you are typing in business cards from hand-written contact information. As folks are hand-writing their information on a paper form (for example), read it back to them to ensure they've written it legibly and that you understand what they've written.
You've spent time to create and place lots of forms on your website, right? Customers and prospects are visiting your website and filling out their relevant information. Ask users to double-check their information and email them a copy of what they filled out to verify that what they filled out was correct. Invite them to double-check their email - a very important field.
Instead of just having "unsubscribe" on the bottom of your emails, invite users to UPDATE their information. Oftentimes users don't want to unsubscribe but they simple want to update their contact information or change the frequency of what you are sending to them. Give them options beyond just unsubscribing.
With each electronic communication as users click on various links (or make other actions you can track), ensure you are updating your customer database with the relevant customer preferences. For example, maybe you ask, in one of your emails, about pets. Users who click on the "pet link" are showing an indication that they own a pet. You should automatically update your customer database with this bit of intelligence, as relevant to your business.
Train your staff to constantly verify and update customer information. As the information changes or as new information is given, your staff can manually update the customer's information.
Inevitably information will duplicate in your customer database. Have your database administrator (maybe that's you or an office admin!) use the de-duplication feature in your database to merge and/or delete duplicate records.
Overall, keep your data as clean and neat as you can. Your customers will love getting communication from you that has their proper information and you'll be grateful to see a better relationship with your customers and more sales, as a result of proper contact information.
Image via Shutterstock.
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Ramon Ray is Marketing and Technology Evangelist at Infusionsoft and Smallbiztechnology.com. He's a speaker, media pundit, journalist and author. His latest best seller is "The Facebook Guide to Small Business Marketing".
Some of the events Ramon has produced include the Small Business Summit, Small Biz Big Things with Seth Godin and the Small Business Technology Tour. As a speaker, Ramon has presented at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas with Guy Kawasaki, SXSW, Inc 500 and more.
As a journalist and freelance writer, Ramon has written for Inc Magazine, OPEN Forum, Entrepreneur.com and Clikz.com. Although Ramon is not a comedian, his audiences find him humorous. Despite no law enforcement experience, he is a graduate of the FBI Citizens Academy. Although Ramon does not know Jim Henson, he loves to do puppet shows in developing countries. See Ramon's full bio on his website.
IBM Social Analytics: The Science Behind Social Media Marketing
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