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Data: are you doing it right? It would be nice if it was all about quantity and your only goal was signing up as many subscribers as possible. In reality, the way you maintain and use subscriber data makes all the difference. Read on to find out why.

Lots of marketers aren’t getting the most from their data – and it’s often not that good in the first place. A recent study from DemandGen Report found that 62% of organisations rely on marketing and/or prospect data that’s up to 40% incomplete.

New data protection rules mean good data management is even more important. But it’s not just about ticking legal boxes and avoiding huge fines – nobody wins if you’re sending the wrong messages to the wrong people.

Read on for our tips on how to make the best use of your data.

1. No opens? Re-engage ONCE

There’s no point blindly contacting people who never open your emails. It’s a waste of your time – and in the long run it will damage your reputation as a sender.

However, it’s worth trying to re-engage your list before you say goodbye to those ‘no opens’. If people haven’t read your emails for a long time, try a one-off reactivation campaign to get them interested again.

What to do: contact subscribers who haven’t opened your emails for a certain amount of time, say one year. Ask them to confirm whether they still want your emails and, if so, to update their details. Include an offer to tempt them back, with clear calls to action.

Don’t do this in one hit. That could affect your deliverability and reputation, so it’s a good idea to stagger your reactivation campaign.

2. Suppress instead of deleting

Still getting the cold shoulder? Then it’s time to say goodbye. We know it’s painful, but inactive contacts cost you money and, as we’ve mentioned, they drag your deliverability rates down.

Add inactive subscribers to a suppression list. Don’t just delete them. That ensures you don’t re-add those contacts by accident or carry on emailing them.

3. Don’t ask, don’t send

Stick to the expectations you set at sign-up – deliver the level of content you’ve got permission for. Don’t send irrelevant emails, however compelling or important they may feel to you, and don’t pass data between companies, branches or departments.

For example, if people sign up for emails from an interior design magazine, don’t add them to the mailing list for your new tropical fish guide. It doesn’t matter if it’s the same company – they haven’t agreed to be emailed about that.

4. Ask customers what they want

How can you find out what does interest your customers? Using a preference centre can help here. This lets customers choose what emails they receive – and they can also help clean up data by checking and updating their personal information.

Make good use of a preference centre and your customers will effectively be able to self-segment.

5. Segmentation: why it makes sense

It’s rare for one message to apply to all your customers. They’re at different points in the lifecycle and have different behaviors and preferences. Perhaps they always open your emails but never click through, or only convert when you send them a discount code.

Segmentation lets you them target accordingly. As we mentioned at the start, why send the wrong messages to the wrong people?

Key takeaways:

  1. Run a one-off campaign to re-engage inactive subscribers
  2. Stick to the expectations you set at the point of sign-up
  3. Make the most of your data through segmentation