An email database is a key business tool today. It gives you a direct line straight into someone’s inbox, and if you store the contact’s email as part of a database record, you can categorise them and carry out targeted mailings. These are likely to be far more effective than general mailings.
However, databases need maintenance if they are to stay up to date and maintain relevance for marketing purposes. So here are some pointers for maintaining an effective email database.
Harvesting email addresses
Never waste a chance to harvest an email address, from a client, potential client, business contact or even competitor. However, be aware that tough new rules are about to come in regarding data protection.
What you can do with email addresses (such as selling them to third parties) may be restricted, depending on your business model. Certainly, you will need explicit permission to store emails, or to use them for any purpose except the one for which they were originally given to you.
You will have to delete the email address immediately if requested to do so, and will also have to be ready to export personal data and give it to the person who owns it.
Keep the list clean
People change their email addresses, so you’ll get emails that are returned or not delivered. If you have another contact for the person, such as a phone number, you can try calling them or leaving a message to invite them to update their details. If you can’t do this, remove the contact from the mail database as soon as possible.
If you send out thousands of emails in one go, your email provider will notice. Drip feed large mailings over the course of a day. The more undelivered and rejected email you have, the more likely the email provider is to start moving you towards spammer status, at which point everything you send may go into the spam filter.
Providing an “Unsubscribe” button and acting on it promptly will prevent users becoming annoyed and marking your mail as spam. You can also test your mailing on yourself, and make sure it doesn’t end up in the spam folder. If it does, try working out why and tweaking the subject to try and evade the spam filter.
Create valuable content and it will get shared
Try to avoid the kind of wording that spammers use – beware exclamation marks and words like “Free!”, which tend to appear in spam mails. More than one exclamation mark also gets the spam filters going.
If the information that you’re mailing out to your contacts is easy to read and relevant to their interests, they may do you the compliment of sharing it with colleagues, friends and family. This is a marketing success, so make it easy for people to do this by including social media sharing buttons at the bottom of the emails.