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Do Your Data Detective Work Now Before Returning to Business as Usual

April 21, 2020
By Lizzie Hoffman

data science towerdata

As much as we can plan in life and in work, the universe has a habit of throwing a few curveballs our way. And whether those curveballs are a faulty image in an email or a global pandemic, you now have the rare opportunity to take a step back and do some in-depth email marketing planning. What should you do next?

We think this is the perfect time to dive deep into your database and do a little data detective work; Take the steps to clean, validate, and enhance now for improved post-pandemic email ROI. Wondering where to start? Here’s a quick checklist list for you:

√ Clean your data now

Despite the rocky roads we’ve all been maneuvering, the selling never stops! This means even now there are new contacts entering your database that you’ll want to follow up with in a few months. But what if those contact records contain invalid or potentially harmful email addresses? And who’s to say there aren’t already a few unverified emails that have slipped through the cracks even before the tides turned?

Whether the email existed in your database before the pandemic or it’s a recent addition, taking the time to invest in validation for your email database now eliminates risks that would adversely impact your sender reputation score. You’ll know the email addresses are real and will provide value for your business down the line.

√ Determine if any “actives” are hanging out in your inactive file

With the shift in customer priorities, and arguably the explosion of all of our inboxes, sometimes your top-notch email content can be lost in the shuffle. As a result, a number of highly engaged contacts may go dark, sending them straight to your inactive list (depending on your segmentation rules). But, just because they aren’t opening your emails doesn’t mean they’re not engaging with other content in their inbox.

Using Open Data ensures you’re keeping active customers on your mailing list and sending them the content they want, especially as you have more conversations with those customers to understand how their needs have shifted during this time. While Open Data is great for removing active contacts from your inactive suppression list, it also helps mitigate potential fraud.

With virtually all eyes on the pandemic, you might want to be extra vigilant about protecting the integrity of your database. This can be as basic as understanding email syntax red flags or diving deep with Email Activity Metrics tools that track an email’s:

  • Date first seen: The date TowerData first encountered the email address
  • Longevity: A score indicating when TowerData first encountered the email address
  • Velocity: A score describing the level of activity of the email address over the past 6 months
  • Popularity: A score reflecting the popularity of the email across TowerData sources in the past 12 months

Investing in these tools now can help ensure your next re-engagement campaign only reaches active user inboxes and boosts your email marketing ROI!

√ Enhance records now for better segmentation later

Now that you’ve got clean data that’s active, you can work on segmentation. The only way this works, though, is if you have the key data points that make segmentation and personalized email messaging so effective! For example, a general “post-COVID-19 initiatives” is less likely to be read than a message that speaks to the recipient’s needs. By understanding what motivates and matters most to your customers, you can send engaging offers, well-written think pieces, or even a collection of curated content for them to peruse as they return to their lives pre-virus.

In order to make your content worth opening and engaging with in the inbox, those key data points need to be connected to the right contact records, and one way to do this is by investing in data enhancement. Data enhancement adds valuable intel to your records like:

  • Demographics: Age, gender, location
  • Household: Income, marital status, presence of children
  • Life Stage: Millennial, engaged, mom
  • Lifestyle: Gamer, beauty seeker, DIY-er
  • Purchase Intent: Furniture, kids & babies, clothes
  • Buyer Type: Online buyer, big spender, holiday shopper

This way, your message intended for an engaged Millennial in Manhattan doesn’t get sent to a married mother of 4 in Louisville. With great personalization and on-point segmentation comes impressive email marketing ROI.

√ Take Time to (Honestly) Chat with Your Customers

While it’s great to get your database into tip-top shape, be sure you continue taking the temperature of your customers and the industry in which you sell. Are customers ready to receive new offers right now, or should you continue discussing how to resolve the risks presented by COVID-19? And is all that ad spend even making a difference at the moment? (Word to the wise: a little database cleanup and enhancement now will probably improve your ROAS down the line)

Take the time to have honest conversations your customers; their needs are changing and if you can listen to those while simultaneously doing a little database detective work, your post-COVID-19 email (and other marketing initiatives) should result in some pretty impressive email marketing ROI and strengthened customer relationships in the long run.

If you have any questions about validation, email activity metrics, or using our intelligence services, create an account to take advantage of a free test!

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