Sandy Pochapin shared her seven successful strategies to build your opt-in email database in a recent article in Target Marketing magazine to ensure email database growth initiatives will result in the highest conversion rates with the most accurate email addresses.
1. What’s in it for them? Give your customers a good reason to sign up. Offer them a coupon, a white paper, a sweepstakes entry – something of value to provide their personal contact information. Ensure every email you send provide relevant information of value. Give subscribers a reason to continue opening your emails.
2. Reassure customers. Explain how you’re going to use their email address and how you’ll protect their privacy. Give them an expectation of how often they will hear from you. Have preference center choices on your sign-up page so people know they can manage frequency or opt-out at any time. Provide a sample visual so subscribers will recognize your e-mail when they receive it. All of this will help you build trust with your prospects and customers.
3. Test your email entry practices. Play with your site’s email sign-up form wherever it appears. Don’t use your real email address – insert bogus, misspelled or incomplete email addresses to see how your system handles it. Experience it as your customers will experience it. Check regularly to see if your form is easy to complete, makes your customers feel reassured, and whether it catches and corrects entry errors in real-time.
4. Help customers self-proof. Look at the text box on your sign-up page. Is it long enough? If your customers can’t see their entire e-mail address when typing, they can tell if they’ve made a mistake. Plan for email addresses that are 50 characters long. Make sure the text in the entry box is legible. The font should be large enough to read easily and the font color should stand out. Look at the error message your site generates. Does it help customers understand what they’ve done wrong so they can quickly solve the problem or does it make them guess?
5. Reward accuracy. Tell your subscribers if they enter their e-mail addresses, they’ll get an e-mail back from you with a $5 off coupon, gift card or an offer of 10 percent off their next order. This encourages users to accurately enter their primary email addresses, not ones they rarely check.
6. Use back-end technology. Real-time email hygiene technology can review email registrations, enforce standard requests for comments codes, block problematic addresses, and catch and correct inadvertent email address errors.
7. Do not ignore offline collection methods. Ask for email addresses at every touch point – call centers, customer service centers, retail locations, kiosks, newsletters and marketing events. Make sure you leave enough room for someone to enter a complete e-mail address in a legible manner. Error rates for call entry, in-store collection and paper methods can exceed 20 percent.
If you implement the strategies above, you will see more than a 25 percent increase in accurate email address registration. By blocking problematic email addresses from getting into your database, delivery rates will increase as will all of your email performance metrics – including revenue.
I once worked at a firm that took their preexisting database and imported it into a new CRM system. The users of the system were constantly complaining about the cleanliness and accuracy of the data and this lead to distrust of the new CRM system. As I prepare to implement a CRM software for a new employer, you better believe I’m spending the time and money upfront to ensure the data we import into the new CRM is as clean, complete and accurate as possible.
What strategies and tactics do you use to improve the quality of your email database?