Cleaning your customer data is almost like taking a duster to your customer files or books of business. Dirty data can include outdated phone numbers, contact names, addresses, and more. On average, bad data costs the U.S. economy $3.1 trillion per year according to Forbes.
And that’s not all!
When working with your customer data, you will want to be aware of the 1-10-100 rule. That’s $1 to verify a record as it’s entered. It will cost you $10 to fix it later, and $100 if you do absolutely nothing. The rule was developed by business management experts George Labovitz and Yu Sang Chang in 1992.
That said, you may not know how to clean data or what data cleansing techniques to use to keep your data healthy.
That’s exactly what we’ll be talking about below.
The importance of data cleansing techniques
Picture this: You’re preparing to send a direct mailing to your list of 5,000 consumers regarding an upcoming sale.
You’ve continued to add customers and prospects to your list over the five years you’ve been in business, but you haven’t checked the names, addresses, or telephone numbers for accuracy before.
Maybe you didn’t even know you could!
For the purposes of this example, let’s say that you spend $1.00 total to produce and mail each direct mail piece, but 15% of your list is undeliverable.
That’s $750 you’re spending on direct mail pieces that can’t be delivered.
But that’s just the beginning.
On LinkedIn, a new study was released that stated returned mail can cost businesses up to $25 per returned item.
And according to the USPS, 23.6% of all mail is addressed incorrectly.
3 types of data cleansing
Now that you’re familiar with the importance of data cleansing techniques, let’s dive deeper into how to clean data for your own business.
There’s no one-size-fits-all option when it comes to data cleansing, also referred to as data hygiene or data enhancement. Review the following options to determine which one might work best for your business.
Get the most up-to-date information so that you can reach customers effectively by adding email addresses, important demographic or firmographic information, and updating out of date records. The more you know about your customers, the better your engagement results.
Merge/Purge & De-duplication
Don’t double your efforts or juggle multiple contact lists. Whether you want to remove duplicates from your database or combine separate files, merge/purge services will leave you with the highest data quality so you can market more efficiently.
Data Suppression/Data Hygiene
Filter unwanted prospects and current customers from your marketing lists so that you can maximize your results. Plus, easily flag records on the DMA Do Not Call list, Do Not Mail suppression, Moved Away list, Inmate suppression, Deceased list, and more.
As you can see, there are multiple ways to enhance your data. So, the question you should ask isn’t how to clean data, it’s what are my goals for my data?
If your goal is to fill in missing information, you’ll want to look into enhancement. If you’re more interested in cost-efficiency before your next mailing, you may want to consider a merge/purge or suppression.
But the bottom line is that you can’t properly personalize or target your emails, direct mail, or other marketing efforts without accurate, relevant, and current information.
7 Tips to Cleaner Data
Once you decide it’s time to clean up your customer data, you might be unsure where to begin. Check out our seven tips to clean customer data:
1. Use clean customer data to boost marketing campaign results.
Say you’re getting ready to send out a direct mail or email marketing campaign. You may think that your list of contacts is up to date, but are you willing to risk missing on a percentage of those people? If this is something you’re dealing with now, data enhancement is your solution.
2. Address standardization can save you time and money.
Paper and postage aren’t free. If you’re not sure every postal address is the most up to date, you’re potentially sending postage on a roundtrip back to returned box. Plus, we all know stamps aren’t getting any cheaper. Get it right the first time with data enhancement or postal processing services.
3. It’s a way to increase your revenue.
Once you take your existing customer data and lists, cleanse them, and then you’re ready to power your business process with reliable information that will help you get your return on investment faster.
4. Eliminate the guess work in your data.
Hello, sir? Hello, ma’am? Not sure? Uh, oh. Clean data gives you the right information you need about contacts including gender, age, and more. It eliminates the guess work of deciding whether Sam is short for Samuel or Samantha.
5. Knowledge, err, we mean clean data … is power!
The more information you have about the target audience for your campaigns, you increase the likelihood of generating responses and actionable results.
6. Clean data helps light the way to new business.
Imagine when you’re prospecting with very little information about your next cold call or customer meeting. The chance of you succeeding is arguably less than if you had all of the information about them beforehand. This is why clean data helps light the way to new business opportunities and revenue.
7. Customer retention is easier when you know more about your customers.
You have the upper hand when you know more about your potential customers before contacting them. This creates a strong foundation for the relationship between you and your customers.
When it comes to utilizing data enhancement services, it’s important to work with a big data company, like Data Axle Salesgenie, that is dedicated to providing every customer with up-to-the-minute business and consumer information.
At Data Axle™ Salesgenie, we can provide services like data enhancement that will help you keep your customer list healthy.
And don’t forget that if you don’t already have a list of customers, you can quickly and easily buy a list of business or consumer prospects from a reputable big data company like Data Axle Salesgenie right now!
Any one of these options is a great solution for cleaning up your data. And now that you know the answers to questions like “how to clean data” and “what data cleansing techniques do I use to keep my data healthy?” you can start maximizing your list and ensure yourself the best results.
When you implement proper data cleaning techniques through good data hygiene, you’ll be able to expect a much higher return on all of your efforts of collecting and maintaining that data. With a clear picture of your customers, your marketing will be at its most efficient.