Keep it clean: why cleansing your data is good 5th December 2011 By Louise Stephens in Strategy Why cleanse your data? Data cleansing should be regularly performed on any business or consumer database to keep your records accurate and up-to-date. Better data in, equals better conversion out. The data any company holds on its customers is vital, enabling it to provide excellent customer service, targeted sales messages and to support future marketing efforts. Excellent customer service is all important in today’s current climate. My first job was as a 16-year-old Saturday worker in a gentleman’s tailor and in this shop the customer was king. Nothing was too much trouble for the sales assistants and customers kept returning because every assistant was taught to listen to each customer and treat them as individuals. Cleaning your data to ensure you are talking to the customers that really want to hear from you is a worthwhile exercise. Essentially, it shows you are listening AND it helps you stay in line with email marketing best practice by ensuring that the data you hold is current and accurate. It will also vastly improve your conversion rates. So how do you clean your data? 1. Unsubscribe function: Within each email campaign you must supply an unsubscribe option, visible to all recipients. Once an individual has unsubscribed, they should not be mailed again; check with your email marketing supplier to ensure this does not happen. 2. Use bounce data: Your email marketing system should pull out and report on all bounces. A bounce can include a recipients’ server being full, an out of office notification or an incomplete email addresses. When you are notified of a bounce, check the address, change it, and when you insert the new data you have, to a small degree, cleansed your list. 3. Issuing an opt-in e-shot: Cleaning your data can help you re-engage with your existing customers. Every organisation and customer is different but sending out a campaign to remind them of your products and services and to offer them an incentive to return to your business can be very beneficial. Something like "We haven't heard from you for a while, please accept this £10 voucher on your next purchase" works well. Using an opt-in can give an organisation a clearer picture on who is interested in their products and services and can build a strong profile of each customer. On the other side of the coin, the customer can exclude themselves from unwanted mail or feel valued by being asked to stay on your list. By cleaning your data reguarly, you can create more targeted campaigns to people who WANT to receive your information, obtaining better conversion rates. Cleaner data is better for business long-term. Do you agree with me? How often do you cleanse your list and what results have you had?