Tim Stevens
Friday, May 22, 2020

Common Mistakes of Email Data

With the ongoing coronavirus, many businesses are thinking about initiating email marketing campaigns to both refresh existing relationships and try to kick up new ones.

But before embarking upon any large scale email marketing initiative it’s important to remain cognizant of some best practices. Because poorly planned email lead generation campaigns can not only waste your time, money, and marketing resources — they can actually damage your ability to engage in effective email marketing in the future. And at this sensitive time, getting the right tone, and following best practices, is just as important as finding the right target.

To help you do all of those things well, here’s a quick guide.

Common Mistakes with Email Data

Have the Data you Need, Before its Required

Email communication rarely works when lists are assembled haphazardly the night before a big feature announcement or product launch —or if you need to communicate Covid-related updates in a timely fashion. Instead, to begin segmenting, managing, and parsing their industry contacts companies should subscribe to a reliable data source at the earliest possible opportunity. This allows plenty of lead time to strategize and prepare outreach at the most advantageous time for your business — and your recipients.

Non-Segmented Communications

To truly make the most out of your email list you need to truly understand who you are sending to. Particularly at this time, when businesses’ attention is directed to more serious matters like continuity, recipients are not likely to be receptive to misdirected and irrelevant communication. Instead, we advocate waiting until you have something of value to communicate before reaching out. And when you do, an empathetic and personal approach — acknowledging the difficult reality all of us are facing — is always advisable. If you’re not sending emails on a one-by-one basis then the least you need to do is segment your list in as granular a way as possible.

For that reason you should ideally be relying upon a reliable and well-vetted data source with as many variables as possible for you to drill down into. Use this source to segment your list and identify only the best recipients for your communications. And consider enriching the source further with the latest pandemic situation in their country. If travel to your recipient’s country has been closed, for instance, an exploratory email looking to set up an in-person meeting will look foolish (although a Zoom invitation might be well-received). Finally, consider enriching any templates you are using with the fields that are most relevant to the outreach you plan on engaging in.

Keeping your sending volume to a reasonable minimum and segmenting your list as tightly as possible will guarantee that your list of contacts remains useful for as long as your contacts are at their jobs — just make sure that the data source underlying the spreadsheet is reliable built and maintained to ensure that results are maintained over time.

As a side benefit of this more target outreach: your campaigns will also perform better too. Research has proven that improving the segmentation of your email marketing campaign yields better open and click through rates along with better conversion and more revenue generated per lead.

Impaired Deliverability

If you have been trying to cast your email marketing net a little too wide then you might find yourself on the wrong side of spam filters in very quick course. Spam filters are actually an intricate and interwoven network of technologies operated by MTAs and Internet Service Providers (ISPs). Their goal is simply to prevent their customers from receiving spam.

Unfortunately, once a relatively high proportion of your recipients report that your email communication was spam (rightly or not) your ability to reach other inboxes is greatly impaired. Unfortunately this effect can also be long lasting and impair future campaigns.

Many proponents of bulk cold email marketing recommend rotating domains in an attempt to stay one step ahead of these filters. Our advice is not to attempt to outsmart these important technologies. Instead, email judiciously, to relevant and verified contacts only, from day one. Doing so will give your email and sending domain the best possible chance of retaining high deliverability. And, particularly at this challenging time, hitting irrelevant contacts in an email blitz is not likely to reflect well upon our business or the company you represent.

Two other approaches to avoid worth mentioning are:

No Opt Out

In our experience nothing annoys recipients more than being added to a mailing list without any form of opt in — and then being sent repeated communications that are of no relevance or interet. Legislation governing email marketing, including GDPR, requires that unsolicited messages have either an unsubscribe button or carry explanatory text letting users know what they can do to ensure that they won’t hear from you again. Make sure that your subscriber list never feels coerced into receiving your communications — or has to resort to taking actions such as blocking your domain.

Too High Send Volumes

Higher volumes are more likely to draw negative attention to your account and trigger anti-spam filters. So — if you’re sending GDPR-compliant unsolicited email — compiling a smaller list of well-qualified leads is a far more sensible approach for this reason too.

Secondly, many email programs will set a maximum bounce rate that your emails must stay under in order to be allowed to continue using the service. Exceeding this limit might put you in violation of your provider’s Terms of Service (TOS). If this happens, you might find that your account is suspended summarily — and switching providers can be a painstaking endeavour that you can live without during the pandemic.

Two factors are likely to drive up the percentage of your emails that are reporting as spam: those sent to inappropriate contacts and those sent to email addresses that do not exist (called “bounces” or failed deliveries).

And don’t forget about your professional reputation and unsubscribe rate. As one goes down, the other could go up. It’s better (for many reasons) to take a tightly focused and authentic approach.

To Aim High, Start Small

Maintaining an effective email database is a long game — and “spray and pray” style mass email campaigns you’ve probably received and sighed in frustration at almost never yield desirable results for senders.

During the coronavirus era, the imperative to focus on tactful and relevant outreach is higher than ever — so if you haven’t given best practices and desirable outreach much thought then now is the time to. In order to obtain the best results you should make sure that your data source is as high quality as possible. This will ensure that your bounce rate is kept to a minimum and that your communications are perceived as relevant every time. And over the long term, this will translate to better deliverability and higher ROI.

Contact i-4business to find out how we can help you get the best email data necessary for your business.