It's Time For Spring Cleaning - Of Your Database | Small Biz Marketing Specialist
It’s Time For Spring Cleaning – Of Your Database

It’s Time For Spring Cleaning – Of Your Database

Your database is the lifeblood of your business. Keeping it clean and healthy is critical to your success. “Small Business Stacey” shares her strategies to spring clean your database.

Episode Summary:

I want to talk about spring and summer cleaning, since we are in that season, particularly when it comes to your data hygiene. It’s time to clean up those systems. If you’ve got a database, if you have a CRM, if you’re emailing your list, then you are going to want to grab a pen and paper and take notes for what I’m going to be sharing with you for about the next 10 minutes.

As you know, we’re living today in a much more digitally connected world, and I’m always so glad to see that my clients are leveraging the power of online tools and automation. But what happens is that many times they’re focusing too much on bringing new people onto the list. We always want more new, new, new, but they’re not spending enough time ensuring that the list that they already have is clean and performing for them, so that’s why I want to talk about data hygiene.

Here’s an interesting stat. 67% of small business owners say that they rely on their CRM in order to grow their business, yet 94% of them say that they have inaccurate data.

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How do you guys feel about your list, your email, your database, your CRM? Do you feel that you have some inaccurate data?

Yep. We do have some data quality issues here.

Alright. I’m going to give you some ideas to help improve that.

Let’s talk about what kind of bad data there is out there that you should be focusing on for spring, summer cleaning.

First would be duplicate records. The last thing you want to have in your system is two of the same record because then if you’re emailing them, or doing some kind of direct mail, you’re going to be sending twice and that annoys the customer, client or patient, and it costs you more.

You also want to look at records that are improperly formatted. Maybe they are in all caps. That’s really annoying, it’s sort of like you’re screaming. What happens is, sometimes the person typing that in, they put it in all caps, so you should go through and then review those and change them and clean them up.

Or maybe their name is wrong. This is sort of a joke that I always play when I’m opting into people’s lead generation funnels just to see if they pay any attention to their data quality. When they ask for the name I’ll type in Shithead. So my first name is Shithead, which sort of says to me that they’re not reviewing their data at all.

Review the names and look at the email addresses. Maybe they’re formatted incorrectly. Sometimes people will put the number two instead of the @ sign. Look at all your formatting and make sure that that is cleaned up.

You may have records that are incorrect or have incomplete information. If you don’t have information on people, then you can’t really effectively market to them.

What you want to first do is go through your list and do an audit or assessment and see where you are, duplicate records, improperly formatted, incorrect, or incomplete information. That’s where you want to start.

Don’t add people to your subscriber list just because they once wrote you a note. Or once answered a note you wrote to them. Don’t put your address book into your newsletter database. Let your readers sign up.

M. J. Rose 

Why would you want to do this spring data cleansing and make it not only a one-time thing but a regular activity? First, when you do this, you’re going to get a much better view of your who. Those of you who … I know you’ve all have read my books, Small Business Marketing Made EZ, this is the A in the A-C-T-I-O-N Marketing System, getting attention, knowing your who. When you have more information on the leads, and the customers, and the clients in your list you can understand them a lot better, who you are marketing to. You’ll also be able to better communicate and therefore, nurture your list, because your list is clean and you’re delivering the right message, to the right person, at the right time.

And this is a biggie. You’re going to get better deliverability. Because what I’ve found is that the email, the ESPs, the email providers, they are really cracking down and I’m hearing so much more complaints of people finding that their emails are ending up in spam. That’s because too many people are blasting out a bunch of crap. If, by cleaning your list, you’re actually going to find that the email providers like that and therefore you’ll get better deliverability.

Here’s a few ideas of where you want to start.

  1. Review your lead capture forms and make sure that they’re working. I just recently brought on a client and I’m starting with an audit, reviewing their website and their lead capture, and they had no idea that some of the forms that were out there for the public weren’t even working. They may have been created years ago and they were never documented and people forgot about it. Review your lead capture forms. One, make sure they’re working, and two, make sure that your field structure is set up correctly so that when that integrates with your database like I said, you want to make sure that the data is coming in correctly and is formatted correctly.
  2. Remove your unsubscribes. Most email providers won’t let you email to an unsubscribe, but by having them on your list it’s impacting your email deliverability and your reporting. You don’t want to mail to people … you don’t want to include unsubscribes because then it’s just going to lower your count.
  3. Remove bounces. There’s different kinds of bounces. There’s soft bounces and hard bounces, and most email programs will give you a sense of your email bounces. Sometimes it’s something like they’re on vacation so you don’t necessarily need to remove them, but if it’s a true hard bounce, like this email doesn’t exist anymore, remove those people. Why continue to email them? You’re just hurting your own marketing efforts.
  4. Review your list for typos. I alluded to this earlier. Some things are just on the customer side where they may type a 2 instead of the @ sign, but review the data and look for different kinds of typos.
  5. Next, review the fields that you’re capturing the data in. For example, maybe you’re asking for a name on your form, you have the field name, the field is called name. But if I type in my name, Stacey Riska, well, is that going to end up in your database in the first name field? Then if you were to do a merge and you say, hi name, then it’s going to say, hi Stacy Riska. You may want to be cautious of how you’re naming your fields. I would definitely suggest that you separate the first name and last name.
  6. Make sure that your data is in the correct format for merging and/or reporting. There’s different kinds of field types. Most of them are texts where somebody can just type in anything really that they want, but there’s also formatting, such as date fields. What is the format of your date going to be? Is it day, month, year, or another type of format? Or money? If you’re asking, maybe, what’s the revenue of a business? Well, should they type in the dollar sign or will it automatically format when somebody types that in? I encourage my clients to try and standardize as much as possible and have drop downs or radio buttons so that they’re forced to make a choice instead of open free form text. Because with that, it creates too much opportunity for inconsistency in your database.
  7. And finally is to review your workflows and automations. Many times we’re all excited about setting things up so they’re systematized and automated, which is great, but if you don’t go back and review those you may find, many times, that you have broken links or broken merge fields because you changed something in your database, but then you didn’t realize that it also impacts the form that you set it on. Go ahead and review all those workflows and automations.

That is your homework for your spring data cleaning. You will find that you will have much better information. You’ll have a better perspective on your who. You will have much higher deliverability. The people getting your emails will feel so much better and want to open them and click because they’ll feel that the messaging is more targeted.

There you have it, your spring, summer cleaning data hygiene.

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About the Author smallbizmarketing

Stacey Riska, aka "Small Business Stacey" is a serial entrepreneur who is passionate about saving small - and not so small - businesses one marketing plan at a time. She helps business owners become a #SmallBizMarketingWiz by teaching them marketing strategies that get MORE: MORE leads, MORE customers/clients/patients, MORE sales, and MORE profit. Stacey's in-demand "Small Biz Marketing Success Coaching and Mastermind Program" is transforming the businesses - and lives - of those who want wealth, freedom, and market domination. Her highly acclaimed book "Small Business Marketing Made EZ" lays out the 6-simple-step plan to get your marketing into ACTION - literally and figuratively. Stacey is also the creator of Cups To Gallons, the place where independent coffee, smoothie, juice bar, ice cream, dessert and snack shop owners go to learn how get into lucrative catering so they stop selling by the cup and start selling by the gallon. In this program she teaches from experience, as it was the key strategy that transformed her coffee and smoothie business from being $500K in debt to a 7-figure profitable business. When not saving the small business world, she enjoys sipping red wine, eating chocolate (who doesn't!) and spending time with her amazing husband.

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