Poor data hygiene? Clean up your act
Poor data quality is often like a stubborn stain. Many businesses are susceptible to poor list hygiene, frequently using data collection methods that can be prone to inaccuracy. Many of us as consumers will supply a fake address or details just to avoid what we assume will be spam. This can have a significant impact on any business; misguided marketing promotions sent to the wrong address with incorrect information. Not only is it a waste of your time and money, your brand reputation is at stake, leaving potential customers confused, or in some cases, they might not have existed to start with.
The rise of Big data has driven brands to focus on CRM, making data integrity a key concern. Knitting together multiple data sources, from POS, online forms, call centres and other customer information systems; data quality is now vital for any organisations data warehousing and CRM efforts. The good news is that with some pre-treatment, a thorough scrub and a little elbow grease, you could leave your database spotless.
So how do you prevent this from happening? What can you do to clean up your existing data? We’ll be exploring some key strategies to ensure your customer data is correct and that your marketing messages reach the right people at the right numbers or addresses.
Data Quality Issues
Firstly, what are some of the issues experienced with poor data quality?
Accuracy – How accurate is the data you’ve received? Are the details valid?
Integrity – Can you trust that the data is correct? Is the source reliable?
Correctness – Does the postal address exist? Is the email address correctly formatted?
Completeness – Is there missing data?
Consistency – Can the customer record be matched to another in the database? Do all the mobile numbers begin with 07?
These are the questions that any good CRM platform would handle when first introducing their software. Atreemo, for example, applies several automated processes and algorithms on records entering our clients’ database. This includes; address normalisation, identifying duplicate customers, checking their accuracy and merging records to create an 360° view of customers – this is the key to good database management.
Electronic Data Cleansing
Today, there are numerous data cleansing services available. Whether this is the incorporation of pre-populated postal addresses in a Web form, or real-time validation of email addresses and mobile numbers. You can be confident that you are sending to actual subscribers without having to send a communication to do so. The ability to identify invalid contact details in your existing database could translate to fewer bounces and more promotions reaching your intended audience.
If done manually, trawling through vast amounts of data to correct typos, mislabelled information and complete missing fields would be a painstaking task and almost impossible to achieve with thousands of records. This automated service does however come at a cost, with a fee attached to each address being validated – an expensive exercise in the world of big data.
Removing invalid contact details after they’ve already bounced is something we should all be doing; however, it is a reactive measure. Improving the point of data collection could ensure that that your data is more consistent and accurate, but also improve engagement with your marketing communications.
If real-time validation is too costly, why not setup a double opt-in process by sending an email after a customer has registered and asking them to click on a link to confirm that they received it. Collecting the correct address means you can establish an immediate relationship with your subscriber, reinforcing their initial interaction with your brand and improving their overall experience.
Focus on subscribers who want to engage with your brand by setting expectations of what they will receive and how often. Allowing customers to make an informed decision before providing consent will not only help to keep your list clean, but also help you better understand what they want, increasing your chances of connecting with them and generating ROI.
Incentivise to Mobilise
Sometimes it takes something as simple as an offer to encourage a customer to divulge their data. While some rewards can be expensive, the amount of customer data generated could offset this initial investment, although incentives needn’t be costly and you may already have some at your disposal. These can include discounts, prize draw entries or vouchers - something with enough value to entice. The promise to send relevant, tailored content that meet your customer’s preferences could be enough.
When offering incentives to existing customers why not ask them to ‘Refer a friend’ and introduce them to your brand. This could potentially have additional incentives for both the Referrer and their Friend and can be easily added to emails or shared socially.
There is always a danger with incentives (or even purchased lists) that prospects will supply incorrect information so that they can retrieve their reward immediately. Ensure that accurate information is needed for the customer to receive their prize by delivering it through the channel that you’re trying to collect, this might be an email, SMS, DM or even an app download.
Keep in fresh
Data quality issues should be an ongoing concern for any business. Big data is in constant flux, with research showing that almost 25% of prospect data, goes stale each year. Continuous cleansing of data is needed to ensure that every department has access to accurate, de-duplicated, comprehensive data.
Automated programs can be particularly problematic as errors in the database can stop you from effectively targeting your audience. Customer information is forever changing, people move, change to a married name or pass away; these changes need to be reflected in the database. This can be particularly distressing for relatives of the deceased or a divorcé who might not react well to receiving promotional letters, after a person has gone, so it’s vital to your brand reputation to keep on top of any changes.
Preserve your reputation
Email is one of the most effective forms of marketing, however, a successful email program is more than just beautiful creative and a compelling message. It also requires a high-quality list of engaged subscribers. Maintaining your database so that it is free of invalid email addresses and spam traps can help you to improve your delivery to the inbox.
Email service providers like Hotmail and Google consider your reputation as a sender to make spam filtering decisions. They monitor not only the email addresses that you send to, but also how your subscribers engage with your email campaigns. A low-read rate or a high bounce rate could see your email being delivered to the spam folder or worse, getting blocked completely. Mailbox providers see this type of behaviour as an indicator of poor sending practices.
To improve your delivery to the Inbox, send emails to engaged subscribers and determine whether an email address is no longer being used by a customer (spam trap). If you’re attempting to collect accurate email addresses, why not use the social sign-in function on your web page. This will allow you to collect accurate email addresses with confidence as prospects can register with you by signing in to their existing social media accounts.
Atreemo helps marketers to increase their revenue by helping to solve some of their toughest data management problems. If you’re interested in finding out how we can help you, please contact one of our expert team.