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With the current deliverability landscape progressively evolving, especially within the last couple years, ISPs and blacklist organizations such as Spamhaus are regularly monitoring the quality of each email marketer’s list. If a marketer’s list contains a significant amount of harmful data—including spam traps and hard bounces, among other things—it can cripple an email program.
Data management and data hygiene are more important than ever and should never be ignored. This is especially crucial in Q4, when email marketers often aim to expand their volumes for the holiday season by deploying to lists that contain inactive users, who have not engaged with the marketer’s program in a year+. Data hygiene is the key element to detecting email addresses that have become invalid, dormant or have even converted into a spam trap, prior to delivering email to an inactive list. Without cleaning your list, you’re asking for email program to be at a very risk of being blacklisted.
Why should marketers perform data hygiene?
1. It helps you understand the health of your database
By performing data hygiene on a regular basis, you can gain an understanding of the quality and health of a particular list. It will even give you a sense of where problematic issues lie within various collection data methods, such as the opt-in process and 3rd party sources. If certain data from 3rdparties are more harmful than others, then you can either cease the relationship with that source, or use the results from your data hygiene as leverage in receiving higher quality data.
2. It can increase deliverability
Maintaining a healthy database will also stabilize and even increase your email program’s deliverability performance. By removing unnecessary records, not only are you reducing the bounce rate and lowering the risk of the email program, but you’re also proactively protecting your sending reputation and allowing for a greater chance of reaching the customer’s inbox.
How often should I perform data hygiene?
Many marketers have debated, particularly in recent months, when to perform data hygiene. It’s best to use a data hygiene service prior to mailing to an inactive audience. Inactive audiences are always questionable and you will never know how the audience will react unless data hygiene is performed. You will be able to gain insight into the quality of the list and whether the list contains harmful data, and even make a decision if it’s worthwhile deploying to the inactive audience.
Marketers should also be performing data hygiene and auditing their audiences on a regular basis. Given how much data is collected from the various opt-in sources, a general guideline is to perform data hygiene at least once a year. This serves as a best practice and will keep your bounce rates low and the quality of your audience at an all-time high, especially in retail, where more often than not customers tend to provide an incorrect email address at the point of purchase.
All in all, before hitting the ‘send’ button, take proactive steps to understand the makeup of your audience to detect and mitigate the risk of potential issues surfacing.