When Easy Data Acquisition Can Be a Bad Idea
heard all the “buzz” about how profitable email marketing has become in today’s
business environment. You need people to
email. You want to get a list of sales
leads quickly and cheaply too. This mindset
of desperation can actually work against you.
Common Email List Resources
Purchased: You provide the list owner with criteria
(such as business owners of companies under 50 employees in a certain
city). The provider assembles the list
you requested and sends it to you for you to use from your own database.
you get access to the list through a list provider. This time, you can’t actually see the email
addresses of the recipients. Instead,
you work with the list owner to send out your email.
List (digital): Your
contacts have voluntarily given their contact information to you online. Usually they give you this contact
information in exchange for something valuable such as an eBook, report,
automatic notification of new blog posts.
List (in person): A common
way to get contact information in person is at a trade show. Some companies (like restaurants and retail
stores) are successful with in-store promotions to gather opt-in data.
While the list providers claim in the situations listed in
1&2 above that their lists are totally “opt-in” lists, it is far from the
opt-in situations listed in 3&4.
When list owners who sell or rent lists say the contacts opted in, they
are saying that the people opted into another person’s offer. That is quite different than people who have
opted into your offer.
Keeping Data Clean
Any time you purchase or rent a list the new data can
present a danger to your database. If
the company is reputable, you still have the risk of old, obsolete contact
information, spam traps and other risks.
Disreputable companies may have scraped the email addresses from
unsuspecting contacts from websites.
Spam filtering companies set up “honey pots”. These are special planted email
addresses. When someone harvests these
email addresses and use them, the sender is identified as a spammer. They also monitor hard bounce notices that
become a spam trap to report the sender as a spammer.
Use a data quality provider to scan any list you choose to
purchase or rent. Remember, these
contacts do not yet know your company and your open rate may be low even with
validated contact data
When it comes to your own opt-in data, be careful about how
the information comes into your database.
Set standards for data entry
Monitor staff input quality
Validate contact entered by sales leads
While the quick and easy ways of getting data may sound good
in the first place, recognize the risks and manage your expectations. In the long run, the gold standard for data
quality is contact information gotten from people who recognize your company
and have “raised their hand” to receive emails from you.
Maintaining a clean database is critical to your company
email marketing campaigns and other initiatives. Protect the data every step of the way.