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Who hasn’t been frustrated by contact databases that aren’t up-to-date or are generally unreliable? We’ve all been there—finally diving into our contact databases for that big marketing or sales campaign only to find that it’s a small percentage that’s actually workable. The rest are either no longer in use or no longer relevant to your goals. It happens. People move on, business models change—but is there really any excuse not to be up-to-date?
Well, no! Not at all. The fact is that your work doesn’t end when you build up a database. There are seven key steps that you can and should take to ensure that your database is always accurate, on-point, and updated.
The Seven Steps to Keeping Your Contact Database Updated
Step 1: Centralize Your Database
Think about your contact database. If what pops to mind isn’t a single file or location—you have a problem. This is a far more common problem than most people think. Particularly if you don’t utilize contact management software—or go low-tech with just an Excel sheet. The greatest difficulties of having a scattered database are that no one person knows which one is up-to-date, problems with redundancy of contacts’ information, and verification can be very difficult to accomplish.
Step 2: Be Organized
No matter which system or content management software you use, it pays to be very organized. Firstly, make sure you always have a clear overview which covers how naming is handled and how the other details are organized. Secondly, you want to create clear segments based on parameters that matter to you. Some ideas include segmenting by job role, by product and service relevance, or even by specific marketing and sales campaigns.
Step 3: Develop Clear Processes
From incorporating new data and contacts, to verification, to segmentation, make sure that you have very clear and easy-to-follow processes for each action. This should include determining who is responsible for one or all of these actions all the way to documenting that these actions, in fact, took place. You’ll be surprised how much easier it is to keep your contact databases updated when you inject a little clarity in terms of process flow.
Step 4: Have a Verification Process
It’s worthwhile separating verification of your contacts and leads from other related processes. This verification process can be as simple as a warm hello sent ideally a few days after the capture. You could even do a soft sell script to remind the prospect about why they gave you their details, but the main point is ensuring that you’re talking to the right person. Of course, if you source leads from a reliable and proven provider, verification is likely already part and parcel of what you’re getting.
Step 5: Syndicate Your Most Relevant Content
One way to make sure that your contact database is not only up-to-date but also relevant is through content syndication. This is all about placing your best content in front of those most likely to be interested in what you have to offer—where they need to input contact details to access that content. This ensures that you’re talking to people who are clearly interested and leads toward making sure that the contact details they give are accurate. This affords you greater control over who gets into your database, minimizes the problems of relevance, and even sets the stage for effective nurturing.
Step 6: Track Key Metrics
Another way to clean up your contact databases is to look at the performance metrics as they relate to ongoing campaigns. For email campaigns, bounce rates and opt-outs are great indicators of whether or not a particular contact is still worth keeping. For other campaigns, you can look at engagement and even whether they actively reach out for further information or not. The key idea is to incorporate verification, in a sense, to your actual campaigns.
Step 7: Double Down on Your Opt-Ins
Finally, you could also integrate verification in your lead capture process by doubling up on your opt-ins. The first opt-in is when your prospect provides their contact details on any of your lead capture forms. The second opt-in is when you send a follow-up email asking to confirm their opt-in. This is common practice with e-commerce sites that ask visitors to verify their registration prior to allowing them to shop. You can even do this with follow-up calls that ask for an opt-in with the same end results.
You can’t be complacent with the management of your contact databases if you want to ensure they’re updated and relevant. Applying these steps will allow you to exert due diligence and control over your databases which, in turn, will play into ensuring that your sales, marketing, and nurturing campaigns flow more smoothly and talk to people that matter. Keep your contact database in order and it will save you time, money, and effort.
Looking to revitalize your contact databases with only relevant, accurate leads? Do you want contacts that are genuinely interested and easier to work with, DemandScience can help. Talk to us today and we can get your content in front of the right people as well as organize your lead capture efficiently. We can even provide you a free demo of what we offer.
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