Blogs 3 Simple Ways SMBs Can Avoid the Email Marketing Risks of Poor Data Quality

Written by Paula Chiocchi on 2015-09-23

 

Earlier this year, it was reported that 57% of U.S. chief information officers (CIOs) said they expect the volume of data they manage to rise by 33% over the next 12 months. And 83% of those same CIOs saw data as a valuable asset, but one that is not being utilized to its full potential.

To manage the data explosion, many companies are adding a new role to their organizations: the chief data officer (CDO). CDO adoption is further driven by the need for a consistent approach to managing data, rising costs due to poor data quality and increased regulatory and governance requirements.

But while CDOs may help larger companies, smaller organizations typically don’t have the budget to hire these elite data experts. In fact, for many small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs), managing data is the responsibility of the CIO, information technology (IT), or even finance, marketing or the business owners themselves. And there’s no doubt these executives find the task to be a huge challenge, especially for their marketing initiatives, where good data can be the difference between an ordinary year and an extraordinary year.

The Consequences of Poor Data Quality

Using quality data for outbound email marketing initiatives is critical. Erroneous or outdated data can cause response rates to dive, and opt-out and spam reporting to increase. And while it’s no secret that bad email addresses will lead to poor campaign results and even worse ROI, some executives accept these outcomes as a normal part of everyday operations.

What they may not realize is the consequences for bad data quality can be much more severe than merely negative email marketing results: their company’s email campaigns can be ceased by spam and data watch dog groups. For offending companies, it can take six months to get the IP address in question out of trouble. In order to initiate emailing again right away, a new IP address will be required – meaning the tricky and time-consuming process of “warming up” that new IP address will need to take place, which can potentially be the kiss of death for many small businesses.

So, what can SMBs do to ensure their data is as good as it can be for email marketing? Here are three tips:

 

  1. Start with a little bit: To effectively target customers, you’ll need to gather more than a name and email address – but you don’t necessarily need it all at once. Just as you wouldn’t reveal everything about yourself on a first date, your prospects don’t want to feel pressured to share too much too soon. Your initial sign-up form can be short and sweet, asking for no more than five pieces of information. Give your customers the option of sharing additional information later, ideally after you’ve already connected with them. To keep learning more, ask different questions with additional interactions. Over time, your data quality will increase, and your ability to more effectively target these customers will also rise as a result.

 

  1. Clean it up: Customers frequently change their email addresses—roughly 30% change them every year according to some estimates. That means there’s a good chance almost one third of the addresses in your database are no longer valid, and you’re wasting time and money each time you send out emails that don’t go anywhere. Worse, you may be missing opportunities to engage with clients who have already shown interest. Recently I posted tips on how to improve email deliverability and clean up your lists. You also might consider working with a reputable email data service that will not only support your efforts to achieve a cleaner email database, but also help you expand your email list and overall marketing reach.

 

  1. Know your audience: Email remains a cost-effective marketing channel that yields outstanding results for businesses. But knowledge will remain the key to success and setting expectations. For example, did you know that corporate email addresses are generally easier to deliver to than ISV (independent service vendor) addresses, such as AOL, Hotmail or Gmail? If your target audience uses mostly ISV email addresses, response rates may inevitably be lower.That’s why selecting the right email data provider who understands the nuances of these addresses, along with an email service provider who can deliver to them, is even more critical.

Indeed, there are many risks associated with using the wrong email data provider, especially those offering lists at bare bones prices. What they don’t tell you is that their accuracy rates are only 70 or 60 percent – or worse – meaning many of your emails will go unread, and your investment will be wasted. Trustworthy email data providers will not hesitate to provide a written guarantee of 90 percent or higher data accuracy. On top of that, they’ll also offer the use of their data for ongoing campaigns, as opposed to a one-off effort.

While data quality remains a top success factor in your email marketing initiatives, using these tips should help ensure your campaigns are set up for maximum success – and keep you and your company out of hot water.

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If you need help connecting with your ideal prospects and driving higher levels of data quality for your email marketing campaigns, consider giving BizFACTZ B2B marketing data a try. BizFACTZ allows you to reach targeted contacts with precision and accuracy. Click here to register on our site and use the offer code “INTRO” at checkout to receive a 20% discount on your first order.

 

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