The Importance of List Hygiene for Sales & Marketing

With Spring just around the corner, we thought it relevant to talk about spring cleaning your sales and marketing database. After all, a clean and hygienic database could be the difference between GDPR compliance and breach. As Sales and Marketing specialists ourselves, we know how important it is to have an up-to-date, healthy database and how frustrating and time-consuming it can be to get there. We’ve got some of your data questions covered in this article.

What is list hygiene?

As Marketing Automation grows into the realms of predictive and personalised marketing, marketers are becoming more smarter and more in tune with what our recipients want to receive. And what they will interact and engage with. This means a clean, hygienic mailing list is a must when it comes to getting your emails delivered to the inbox and, more importantly, engaged with.

With Artificial Intelligence playing a huge part in Marketing this year and predicting your click-through-rates, ESPs like ourselves, are digging further and further into the analytics of your database. From calculating your clicks, opens and unsubscribes to the algorithms behind deciding inbox placement. The methodology behind a healthy list is what happens after you hit send on your email marketing campaigns. Tracking behaviour of both your engagers, your opt-ins and your non-engagers and opt-outs over time.

Why should I care about a hygienic list?

The cleanliness of your list is a true reflection of the content you are writing and promoting. It’s a good indicator of your audience’s engagement with your business and your content. And whether your content is relevant and compelling enough. It’s also a crucial indicator of the quality of your data. One of the components of having an engaged and cleanly list is that your data is made up of active and valid email addresses.

If your list is largely made up of inactive or invalid email addresses you are eliminating your opportunity for engagement. After all, there’s no one to click on your emails! It’s also a red flashing light to ISPs about your mailing practices.

How do I get a clean list?

It’s important to stay on top of cleaning your data. It’s not an overnight process. It takes time, management and testing. We all know the life cycle of data is not very long, so you need to consistently check that the data you purchased 6 years ago is still valid. As well as tracking the results of your marketing campaigns – particularly your undeliverable, bounces and unsubscribes, you need to keep on top of the data that has just run its course. Run re-engagement campaigns to your non-engagers and encourage them to interact with your emails, ask them what they want more information on or get your sales team to pick up the phone. It’s also key to cleanse your data on a regular basis, for the data that has moved on.

Use preference centres to prompt your audience to update their information and offer subscription options.

What has a clean list got to do with GDPR?

In line with Legitimate Interest, one lawful basis for processing data, having a clean and healthy list will be your gateway to GDPR compliance. It should be in your interest to ensure your list is not only comprised of valid and active email addresses but is also made up of individuals who are relevant to your businesses services and offerings. And the only way to do this is to ensure you are constantly maintaining your marketing lists. You need to be confident enough that your data consists of your Persona’s and your Persona’s only. Your list needs to be as clean and as up-to-date as possible, if you’ve been thorough enough with this process then you will have no doubt in proving that what you are promoting and communicating to them reflects their interests, needs and purchasing history within their preferred marketing channels.


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