As so much of content promotion is done through coordinated email campaigns, it made sense to take a look at ways we can help our clients process, analyze and understand data generated by email marketing. Krista Cataldo, BroadcastMed’s Data Analyst, offers these five tips for making data work for you, instead of the other way around.
Identify a Database Manager or Gatekeeper
This important team member is tasked with knowing everything there is to know about your data, from what information is available on each contact in your system, to the total and segmented counts within the database. This person should also be designated as the only person to make changes to records in the system.
Get to Know Your Data
Export it into a format you are familiar with, play with it, and know what you are working with. Be familiar with the fields you have available and what kind of data is in each field. Having access to the header file is a great place to start. Verify the data going into each field. If you have a field such as “Industry”, what is truly in that field? An industry field? A company name? An abbreviation that only the Marketing Manager understands? Understanding your data is critically important to maintaining a database.
Clean and Organize Your Data
Knowing your data and organizing it go hand in hand. For instance, if you want to send a specific piece of content to people who work in the healthcare industry, you must make sure that you pre-verify that “healthcare” is the type of information collected by that field. Also, for clarity, make sure your fields do not contain multiple variations of the same piece of data. For example, the abbreviation for country could be input into a field as U.S., U.S.A, US, and USA. Be sure all fields conform to one standard.
Add Segments and Custom Fields to Your Database
Once you have verified your data and know what data is collected in each field you may find that some useful information might be missing. For example, let’s use an internal value such as “Sales Region”. A sales region could be something very unique to your business. It could contain a group of states, or a group of zip codes and towns if your business is local. By identifying segments of your database and assigning them additional values, you can send relevant messaging and specific content to each different group.
Find the best way to manage your database
Depending on the size of your company you may want to invest in a Contact Management System (CMS) or Email Service Provider (ESP) to help you visualize your data. I use a hybrid of excel and our ESP to help verify our database.
Krista concludes by sharing, “The steps detailed here may seem like a heavy lift, but if you are not taking the necessary steps to protect the integrity of your database you will be asking for trouble. Having a clean database with meaningful segments is a digital marketer’s best friend.”