A new year is a clean slate, a fresh start, and an opportunity to let go of what no longer serves you – including the outdated, inaccurate data mucking up your database and dragging down your marketing performance. Before you kick off your 2023 campaigns, it’s vital you take time now to refresh your data and set yourself up for success in the months ahead.
Of course, like any new Q1 initiative, getting started is often the hardest part. It’s challenging enough to shake off the holiday mindset and summon a little motivation, so make sure you’re strategically approaching your data refresh project and not wasting precious time and energy.
Here’s how to efficiently and effectively refresh your data and why you shouldn’t put it off a moment longer:
Don’t Put Off Refreshing Your Data
Anyone who has ever cleaned out their closet or garage can attest; it’s astounding how much junk you can accumulate in a short time. The same is true for your email lists.
While you’re likely gathering plenty of useful contact information through your social media campaigns, checkout email list sign-ups, and other acquisition strategies, they are most likely pulling in a fair amount of low-quality data. For example, contact information with typos, misspellings, syntax errors, format issues, and outdated details all qualify as low-quality data.
Most marketers know they need to refresh their data, but when you’re busy juggling dozens of other initiatives, it’s easy to deprioritize it. Unfortunately, putting off refreshing your data can undermine your success.
How does stalling your data refresh project hurt your marketing program? Here are a few ways:
When you send to incorrect or old email addresses, it increases your hard bounces, decreases your deliverability, and boosts unsubscribes. This makes it difficult to get a clear picture of your true performance.
For example, senior leaders might see underwhelming engagement numbers and incorrectly assume that click-thru rates have dropped year-over-year because your campaigns are ineffective. In reality, it may be because your list is full of old addresses that customers are no longer checking.
When you’re working with outdated or inaccurate data, you fail to reach buyers who genuinely want and expect to hear from you. In some cases, people might “fat finger” their contact information while speeding through the check-out process, or an in-store associate might type in the wrong domain. If you don’t take time to correct those errors, you’ll miss opportunities to connect with highly engaged buyers and leave potential revenue on the table.
Sure, you know you’re not a spammer, but if you regularly (albeit, inadvertently) send emails to spam trap emails, you’ll appear like one to authorities like Spamhaus. These types of emails can damage your sender reputation, and once you’ve been blocklisted, it can be extremely challenging to regain good standing.
How to Approach A Data Refresh Project in the New Year
Here are four things you should do as part of your new-year data hygiene effort to prepare your list for a record-setting, uber-successful 2023:
- Designate a data-hygiene champion
Every household has a “clean freak” who decides when it’s time to clear out the clutter and rallies the troops to get the job done. Your marketing team needs one of these people, too. So, take the time to determine who will act as your data-hygiene leader, then let them spearhead when and how you’ll work to keep data fresh throughout the year.
- Make it a cross-departmental initiative
When you clean up your databases, connect with other departments to ensure everyone is working with the same updated information. Otherwise, you’ll end up with data silos that negatively impact collaboration and undermine your ability to create a cohesive cross-team strategy for hitting annual goals.
- Set up a data hygiene schedule
If you wait until there’s time to clean and protect your data, it’ll never happen. There are always plenty of other priorities demanding your time and resources, and that’s why it’s essential you schedule data hygiene in advance. For example, you might validate your email addresses at the beginning or end of every quarter, month, or in real-time via an API.
- Partner with a reliable third-party
No one has time to manually comb through their databases, nor should you waste your time doing so. Instead, partner with a provider that can help you quickly and conveniently clean your data using automation.
Look for a provider who offers email validation to correct typos, remove bouncing email addresses, and delete possible spam traps and honeypots. You’ll also want to explore an Email Change of Address (ECOA) service to ensure you can retain customers and reconnect with buyers you have lost.
As we ease into 2023, it’s more important than ever to have a clean and accurate database to power personalization, cross-channel campaigns, and other data-driven efforts. By cutting the clutter from your lists now, you can ensure you’re prepared to beat revenue goals and make the next twelve months the most lucrative yet.