We often get asked by our clients to produce an email communications strategy in order to engage with their target audiences – this is all well and good, however when it comes to their data we so often find that it is lacking in many ways. Very often the database is completely out of date or has missing data, the email address has simple errors such as too many full stops; and the ultimate faux-pas, the contact names do not marry up to the corresponding email address.
It is true that data for most people is not the sexiest of things and it often gets overshadowed by ‘more important’ jobs, but creating a clean contact database should be the number one priority when engaging with your prospects and customers. If a contact database has not been used or updated for the best part of a year then you do need to check the validity of the email addresses, that all the data is present and indeed current, and fill in the gaps in data using the various data resources in the market.
It is not enough to have a beautiful email design and compelling copy if it isn’t relevant to the person receiving the email. Therefore creating a data strategy should be high on the list of priorities when considering email.
Firstly look at how you can monetise your customer database and set out pragmatic business goals. Gain a deeper insight into your customers’ buying attitudes, look for hidden cross-sell and up-sell opportunities, segment your customers, and target specific groups with personalised and strategic marketing messages.
Remember, not only is a relevant marketing message a highly effective sales tool, it is also increases customer satisfaction and brand loyalty. At the same time, you can reduce costs by avoiding ineffective marketing which in turn will lead to higher conversion rates overall.
To summarise, complete and accurate customer and prospect data is a requirement for successful sales, marketing and business development activities. It can deliver a range of business benefits such as improved response rates, preserve brand image and maximise customer relationships.