A database is only as good as the data that is put into it, which is why I have put together this list of 6 common mistakes email marketers make when building databases. If you follow the advice and avoid doing these 6 mistakes, your database should be a powerful tool for your business.
1. Adding poor quality data when building databases
Collating your data is one of the most time consuming aspects of your email marketing. Take your time to ensure that what you add is correct, as a mistyped email will bounce and an incorrect name will reflect poorly on your company. Some of the most common mistakes are:
- Missing ‘@‘ symbols
- Using commas instead of a full stop
- Not deleting additional coding around the address
- Additional spaces before, during and after
- Semi-colons at the end of email addresses
- Don’t worry about capitals, they don’t affect an email address
- Incorrect email format – instead, it should look like this: firstname.lastname@example.org
2. Not adding categorisation when building databases
Your database immediately becomes 40% more powerful when you segment it. By adding categories you can easily identify different types of reader, and send them targeted messages that will have a higher conversion rate. If you are doing this for the first time, I suggest starting small and adding more categories as you evolve your email marketing.
- First steps:
- Business Type
- Prospect Geography
- Second Step:
- Past purchases
- Purchase types
- Job role
- Topics of interest
- Level of prospect/engagement
- Visits to web pages
- Event attendance
- Clicks on calls to action
- Signing up to specific lists
- Third Step:
- Customer personas
- Organisation type (e-comms, charity, franchise etc…)
- Personal interests
- Buying frequencies
- Buying cycles (daily, weekly, monthly, quarterly, annually)
- Email type (business, personal – gmail)
- Customer survey responses
- Website page view
3. No personalisation
Personalisation is vital in any email you send, starting with the person’s name. Therefore you should always ensure that you capture this with the email address and understand if they prefer to be referred to casually (Hi Simon) or formally (Dear Mr Washbrook). After that, you can start referring to all the above to give them a truly unique email experience.
4. Store databases across several spreadsheets
Always keep your master database in one place – when your data is spread across different spreadsheets/systems it becomes harder to maintain. We recommend keeping a backup of your data, but managing everything through a CRM system. That way you are always working on current data and you will avoid duplicates and be able to add comments.
5. Not keeping on top of it
Always update your database. If you notice an email has bounced, don’t just archive them, pick up the phone and give your customer/prospect a call. There are hundreds of reasons why this could have happened, but by engaging with them you are opening up new opportunities.
Don’t allow business cards and contacts to pile up; it is much easier to add a couple of names each day than it is to spend hours updating them.
popcorn also links the master email address to your contacts LinkedIn profile (if they have one). This will allow you to sync their dates contact info onto the system, making life that bit simpler.
6. Using old data when building databases
When you start building your databases, Hubspot estimates that 25% of the average email list expires each year. Although it can be tempting to dig out all your old databases, ask yourself if they are going to add value – or even worse, damage your business reputation, as:
- Subscribers may have forgotten they have opted in to your emails
- Large numbers of email addresses may have changed, increasing your bounce rate and damaging your company domain’s sending reputation
- Opt-in permissions may have expired if you have not been in touch for quite a while
If you must revive an old email database, carefully tag the contacts and send them a re-engagement email campaign that asks them to re-opt-in, and then only select the contacts that have engaged (open, click, website visit or calls), as you will know that these contacts are active and potentially interested in your services.
Filtering out your contacts is fast and easy in popcorn.
Simply run any of the reports, then select the contacts you want individually or everyone within, and add them to one of your campaign folders.
popcorn is a smart, easy-to-use and efficient platform that not only helps you compose beautiful emails and newsletters but also helps you manage your sales funnels and leads. If you would like to test popcorn and see if it could help improve your email marketing game, you can sign up for the free trial here.