What is the best way to keep on top of it?
In Part 1 of Essentials of Email Communication, we discussed how frequently you should contact your clients. (If you need to catch up on Part 1, you can read the article here). Part 2 brings you a more technical aspect: managing your database. If the very thought of this frightens you, don’t let it - that’s exactly why we’re here to educate you on the basics.
Before we get down to the details, it’s important to remember that your database IS your clients, and they of course are one of your biggest assets. It’s easy to pass off a list as merely a list, but when we give those names and email addresses a face, they become of utmost value and importance to our business. With that in mind, maintaining an up-to-date database turns into a task of ensuring that your clients and partners can trust you with their information.
Now, how to maintain and care for those valuable names and addresses?
Those old things - Stale Databases
More often than not, businesses have a database of customer contact details, from previous campaigns, stored somewhere and stagnant. Before you begin your new campaign, you’re going to want to clean out that list. One way of cleaning out your list is to check for duplicates- neither you nor your client want those details in there twice.
There are also some more advanced softwares available that can help with sorting the old and expired email addresses, from the still active ones. Your email hosting provider does not like bounces and unsubscribes. They indicate that your database is not relevant and can highlight you as being a spammer- the last thing you want when trying to starting a new campaign!
Online Marketing Agency has the facility to run this test for you, so feel free to contact us if you would like to update the relevancy of your database.
Opt-out options - Unsubscribes
In this age of information, it is important to have an opt-out option. Not only does it comply with The Privacy Act terms of consent (you must have a functioning unsubscribe facility and unsubscribe requests must be resolved within 5 working days) it sends the message to your customers that your intention is always and only to provide value- where it is warranted. You need to consider who in your business can clear all unsubscribes (and bounces) from your database list, to keep it clean, and your potential customers keen. They may not want your emails right now- but that doesn’t mean they don’t want your service. But email them after they’ve unsubscribed...you could be faced with a different story!
Opt-in options - Permission
As anonymity becomes more difficult to obtain online, and the information overload continues to overflow, people are becoming more wary of unwarranted mail in their email inboxes. For these reasons, it’s imperative that you gain consent from your clients to email them commercial messages, as inferred by The Privacy Act. This permission can be gained from Express, Inferred, or Deemed Consent, as defined below. Check out the definitions to see that you are implementing Privacy and Consent best practice:
Express Consent is a direct indication from the person that you have permission to email them. So basically, this is the tick-a-box method. You have asked, they have said yes - on a form, or in conversation.
Inferred Consent is when the person has not directly indicated that you may contact them, but it is clear that there is an expectation that you will. For example a client has provided you their email address, with an expectation of some sort of further contact.
Deemed Consent is when someone publishes their work-related email, on a website or print collateral, for example. However, deemed consent is not applicable if the publication includes a statement that the address holder does not wish to receive unsolicited commercial messages. There must also be a strong link between the message and the recipient’s business.
Maintaining an up-to-date database is important for both the efficiency and trustability of your email communication with clients and strategic partners. By committing to database best practice, as outlined above, your email communication can be welcomed by those looking to invest in your services instead of appearing intrusive (despite best intentions!). If you wish to gain more information on The Privacy Act and spam laws, further information can be found on the Department of Internal Affairs website.
Email communication is about engaging and strengthening your relationship with your readership- this involves trust. Keeping an up-to-date database ensures that you can uphold your end of the bargain and show your readership that you value their response, whatever they choose that to be.
Perhaps we can help you implement a structured database management system, or perhaps you would like some assistance with your email communication so that your clients trust and engage with your content? Give us a bell at 09 413 7999.