Everything you need to optimize mailing performance and reduce direct mail costs
- You should not mail to people WITHOUT addresses.
- You should not mail to people with OLD addresses.
- You should not mail to people with INCORRECT addresses.
Pillar 1: Know your buyerAs basic as it sounds, we work with companies every day that do not do this. Target your programs directly at the people who are most likely to buy from you. The best way to obtain this information is to look at past purchase data for trends. Try to identify demographic criteria like titles, industries, geographies and/ or company sizes that buy most frequently. Isolate those that tend to make large versus small purchases and, even better, those that are repeat buyers. Once you’ve done this, compare it to the type of contacts you have in your marketing database. Dig into any behavioral trends you can see in your response data. Often, you will be able to group your contacts into influencers or buyers. Study how each group typically responds and at what time in the buying cycle. Lastly, ensure that your marketing database has enough of each of these profiles in it to help you meet your marketing goals. Develop targeted outreach programs with messaging specific to the needs of each audience to ensure maximum success of your programs.
Pillar 2: Give your database a good scrubbingThe experts at SiriusDecisions have determined that the average amount of usable records in a prospect database is 75%, with 90% considered best in class. If you’re looking to improve your database, you have to start somewhere—and the best place to begin is by conducting a thorough cleansing. For a focused effort, remove records that don’t fit your target buyer profile or can’t influence the sale. Normalize your data in terms of capitalization and formats of fields such as phone and title. Remove or append information to incomplete records. Get rid of records that have bounced or unsubscribed.
Pillar 3: Build from quality sourcesWhen you’re actively cleaning out bad data, you may find less target contacts than you’d like in your database. Hitting your goals is a numbers game. Use a marketing funnel or calculator to determine just how many leads you need to hit your goals. If you plan to purchase data, check that your vendor has a dedicated process to ensure and maintain quality. Validated data will cost a little more, but it pays off in the end. The vendor should be able to tell you how recent the data is that you’re purchasing and should offer a guarantee or refund if a percentage of data is incorrect.
Pillar 4: Keep it cleanOkay, so everyone knows that data is never 100% perfect. However, by looking at all the ways your company gets marketing contact data, you may be able to mitigate some quality issues by heading it off at the pass. For example, if you are gathering information from registration forms on your website, you may want to employ drop-down lists rather than open entry fields to prevent errors and promote consistency. Progressive profiling is another proven methodology for gauging a prospect’s interest by getting them to engage in multiple offers while also allowing you to gather bits of information over time.
Pillar 5: Rinse and repeatYou may have started out with a clean database and applied best practices for bringing in new data, but it won’t stay that way for long without ongoing hygiene practices. Data gets stale as a result of employees finding new opportunities or switching positions. Duplicate records may get imported or created. Ensure you have a way to keep track of the state of your data on an ongoing basis. Remove hard bounces from your database as they occur. Sometimes, auto-reply emails will provide the contact information of the new contact and your prospect’s company. Take advantage of the windfall by providing them with a welcome message to introduce them to your company and get them to opt-in as well. Much of this type of activity requires significant manual effort, so you may want to take a more scheduled approach for cleaning your database. Scrubbing your data against third-party sources can remove the personnel cost of doing this internally, provide improved campaign performance, and help to keep your overall email deliverability rate high as it reduces the hard bounces.
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