All Is Not Lost If You Have A Data Capture Issue
And you may waste your marketing money writing to an address or calling a customer that doesn’t exist.
Remember The 8 Golden Rules Of Data Capture
- Collect the minimum viable data
- Never give free text options
- Don't forget that data gets old
- You need a powerful, clear value exchange
- Observed data is richer than claimed
- Validate in real-time
- Make it easy
- Show me you know me
What These Rules Mean For Your Email Marketing
There are three key implications for email addresses you collect and how you use them:
- Only to email addresses that you have collected directly and which you have got explicit permission to contact.
- At the point of data capture, consider a double opt-in (where your user has to click on an email to confirm their registration).
- Actively manage your lists to ensure that you remove all registrations or customers where you have hard bounces
Sometimes however you may have inherited a customer file that meets at least two of these criteria but still presents issues.
The Risks Of Poor Email Address Quality Are Significant
Your first hint of an issue may come when you upload or connect your list to an email service provider (ESP), like Mailchimp. All reputable ESPs will screen your list for issue - in the case of Mailchimp, using Omnivore.
These will screen your lists against all data that the ESP holds for a particular email address to look for issues (like bounces) and engagement (like opens and clicks). If a significant proportion, often as low as 20%, of your list scores badly then you will start to receive warnings.
If an issue is flagged and you choose to proceed then there is a significant risk that you will be blacklisted and may not be able to send email campaigns. It's difficult to re-build your reputation if you get to this stage.
ESPs have these checks in place to prevent abuse - both to protect their core business and the legitimate marketers who want to use email as a communication channel.
Which Should You Consider Using?
- kickbox.io. Made a good impression with a clean, simple user interface and file import. An initial report was produced quickly and contained a Sendex score. The promise of a money back guarantee provided some reassurance from a service that hasn't been reviewed extensively online and may be quite new.
- datavalidation.com. A major disappointment here. datavalidation.com appears to have a relationship or be endorsed by Mailchimp. First impressions were promising - we could upload of list easily and quickly received a topline report; the cost to process and cleanse our file returning a valudated list was the low (±£600). Then things went downhill: we proceeded but server issues meant that 26 hours later the file was still processing. Live chat online was friendly and fast but unable to offer a solution, lead time to resolve or compensation.
- briteverify.com. Appeared a comprehensive, professional solution but was three times the price (±£1800) of the other services we evaluated. Briteverify requires you to sign up and pay for a report to be run before giving you an indication of how healthy your email list is. We ran a small test for 100 records and didn't find significant differences compared to the other services tested.
- towerdata.com and leadspend.com (now part of Experian) appear credible, enterprise level solutions. In the case of Experian we were put off by the need to complete a form and wait for a sales rep to call.
- quickmailverification.com also appeared credible but requires registration and its pricing policy was highly opaque.
A FINAL WORD
It's always best to ensure that you have clean data captured at source and the right marketing processes to regularly clean and manage your customer lists.