We are not being overly personal when asking the above question. We are not referring to any personal washing routines but we are talking about your marketing database.
Address hygiene refers to the precision and purity of the mailing list that you are using for your marketing campaigns. No organisations database is ever 100% clean simply because people are constantly moving, marrying, changing their minds and (let’s be honest) dying. But ensuring the database is as clean as possible will have an important effect on the success of your marketing.
Firstly, the source of the database will often be a guide as too how much cleansing is required. Databases compiled from pro-active requests from potential customers for items such as requests for brochures, freebies etc are likely to be cleaner than mailing lists purchased from 3rd party sources or compiled by research either online or using printed directories etc.
How poor data will affect your Direct Mail campaign
Of course, the most obvious affect will be to waste money on posting, printing and collating but there are many other ways in which the campaign success will be affected. Suppose your typical Direct Mail campaign to 10,000 addresses results in a 2% sales rate with an average sale of £200. If 10% of the addresses on your database are ‘bad’ that is a loss of £4000 in potential sales.
Using unclean data will affect the overall success rate of the campaign and that will affect both your belief in the campaign concept, the team that developed the campaign and will ultimately effect morale throughout the company as all employees jobs depend on successful marketing.
Royal Mail offer generous discounts for address accuracy (among many other factors) and a bulk mail specialist can help you make the most of these discounts and reduce the costs of your DM campaigns
How can I improve data hygiene?
There are some easy ways to help keep your data as up-to-date as possible such as
- If you buy-in lists, make sure you use a reputable supplier
- Always respond to any items returned or requests to remove people from the list
- Set up regular internal reviews to review the data
Make use of the postal specialists
Specialist mailing houses will be able to offer a wide range of services that will improve the accuracy of your Direct Mail campaign in many ways: they can offer advice on how to develop the most effective campaigns, and they will help with the size and format to reduce costs further. More relevantly they will have the software and experience to help you clean up your database. Services will include:
- checking the entire data with the PAF (also known as the Post Office Address File).
- removal of duplicated entries and also customers who have gone away.
- ensuring full compliance with the requirements of the Data Protection Act, by verification with Mailing Preference file information
A few simple internal steps and developing a relationship with an experienced Mailing House will quickly help you improve the effectiveness of your Direct Mail campaigns.
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