Your Data is Your Life in E-mail

Six weeks ago, my company upgraded its commerce back-end systems. It was great until we realized that our e-mail marketing database had been “adjusted” during the transition.

By “adjusted” I mean that as part of the upgrade, the permission status of some people who had opted in to receive our e-mail marketing messages had been changed to opt out. Things could have been much worse. This issue could have changed opt-outs into opt-ins, which would have compromised our data integrity. That didn’t happen. But, the damage done was still felt immediately and deeply.

Within minutes of the data refresh, we realized our list segment sizes had shrunk tremendously. At first, we were perplexed as to what caused the issue. Then, we realized that response was significantly lower than it had been with prior e-mails. Something out of he ordinary was going on.

The good news is that we corrected our data “adjustment” and got it back to normal quickly. But this really got me thinking. In the world of e-mail, regardless of how closely we follow best practices and trends, our efforts are only as good as the quality of our database of opt-ins.

How well is your company following these best practices in data collection:

  • Always put a timestamp and IP stamp on the data you collect. Keeping a record of when and how someone opts in will be very valuable for you in the future, not just for CAN-SPAM requests, but for data restoration as well.

  • Remember, clean data is responsive data. If you are not culling through your database at least semi-annually, you are missing opportunities. Many people leave non-responders on their list for extended periods of time without trying to re-engage them. Don’t do this.
  • Your database is your lifeline to response. If you do not have a strong welcome stream in place, you may be abusing your opt-in quality. It is a known fact that 90 percent of all e-mail responses will stop after the third e-mail if a relationship is not built beforehand. Ensure you are leveraging your welcome e-mails to build strong relationships so you can look forward to driving strong results.

These three efforts may seem basic, but they can make a very significant impact on your financial results. If you are not employing all three tactics, you should. Your CFO will thank you. And let me know how it goes.

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