What is data cleansing and why do you need it?

Data is one of the most valuable assets a business has. Customer records and potential leads are crucial for marketing reach and to keep your business in the minds of everyone who needs to know about you, your products and your services.

It’s no surprise that data changes rapidly. Names, addresses, phone numbers and emails are changed by millions of people and businesses every year. It’s pretty obvious that data needs to be kept up to date for it to retain its true value to your business.

What is data cleansing?

Data cleansing, sometimes referred to as data scrubbing, is the process of editing, deleting and updating information in a database. Broadly speaking, special data cleansing tools and software are able to identify, and in some cases correct, out-of-date, incomplete, incorrect, or duplicated data.

Data cleansing can include data enhancement, email verification and landline verification. Data enhancement cleans your data by getting the correct data format (telephone and postal address) and also by cross checking your data against various suppression databases.

If your business relies on telemarketing for contacting and keeping in touch with clients on the phone, then you’ll know how important it is to have the correct telephone numbers in your database. Data cleansing will be able to check numbers are in service, or if lines are out of order, as well as identify numbers not recognised, and those not accepting incoming calls. Landline verification can ‘sniff test’ the status of landline numbers without actually calling the number.

Email addresses can also be checked in a number of ways during the data cleansing process. The format of emails can be checked to ensure they are recorded in the correct syntax. Configuration can be tested to flag up any email addresses where the domain hasn’t been set up to receive emails. An SMTP check tests the email address and email server for any issues and also checks if the emails actually exist.

Why you need data cleansing?

There are many good reasons why data cleansing is important for your business. Data is constantly decaying. Keeping records up to date is vital to maintaining positive relationships with customers and prospects. Here are some of the reasons why data cleansing should be an active part of your data quality strategy.

• With out-of-date data you’ll waste money contacting people who aren’t there. Clean data will save you time and reduce your costs.
• Your response rates will be affected by mail not getting to the right people. Cut out dead data and you’ll get the same return sending out less mail.
• Duplicates and incorrect details make your business look inefficient and careless. Keep on top of your data to protect your brand and maintain good customer relationships.
• Wasteful mailings aren’t good for the environment. Let your customers know that you care by keeping your data clean.
• With clean data you can refine and enhance the information you have to connect more effectively with your customers and improve organisation efficiency.
• With a clean database you will be able to easily identify unresponsive or inactive customers.
• Freshly cleaned data is the perfect platform to identify repeat customers and create new marketing campaigns.
• Clean data is important for accuracy and GDPR compliance.

The misconceptions of data lists

There are a number of misconceptions and myths regarding data lists that we want to clear up. Data lists can be hugely valuable tools for businesses of all sizes whether you are provide B2B or B2C services and products. Here are the myths about them, and the truth behind them.

Myth: Buying data lists is illegal

There is certainly nothing illegal about buying data lists for emails, phone numbers or addresses across the UK. Acquiring these kinds of data can provide you with the opportunity to carry out a range of forms of marketing towards targeted potential clients. However, it is important that you buy your data from legitimate sources and understand how the data can be used. Sending unsolicited emails for direct marketing purposes to businesses is completely legal, but doing so to private individuals who have not consented to receive the email may be unlawful.

Myth: Purchased lists have bad quality data

If you buy your data lists from a reputable supplier, then you will receive high quality data. At Selectabase, our data is updated on a regular basis and we collect our data from a variety of sources to ensure that you only ever receive the freshest and most accurate information on businesses and consumers.

Myth: Database marketing is too complicated for my business

Sometimes when people hear terms like ‘database marketing’, the worry that it sounds like something that is too complicated for them and the way that their business works. But don’t be put off by the terminology – database marketing is actually something very simple that almost any business can use to their advantage.

Most companies are already doing the first step of database marketing – they are collecting their customers’ data. But if you’re also looking to target new customers and businesses, this is where buying data lists can be extremely valuable. Getting additional data allows you to promote your products or services to the right people.

Once you have your data in place you can easily send out emails and direct mailers that are personalised to each potential client.

Myth: Customers will think of the correspondence as spam

There is a world of difference between highly targeted emails chosen for appropriate recipients and spam emails. When your emails and mailers are sent out to the right people, they are relevant to them and can lead to sales and revenue. Data lists can produce high performing campaigns when they are carried out properly. The best way to ensure this is to send your communications only to appropriate people – good quality data lists can ensure this.

Myth: Buying data is too expensive

Many businesses worry that data lists will be too expensive and make their campaigns unaffordable, but this doesn’t have to be the case at all. At Selectabase we offer very affordable rates and have no minimum order – so you can stay entirely within your budget.

Myth: I don’t do email marketing so I don’t need data lists

Some small businesses believe that they don’t need these forms of email marketing and database marketing, and as such they don’t need data lists. But as your business grows this can be a hugely lucrative marketing channel and one that you should look into as soon as possible.

Data lists can help you to reach new customers, grow our business and personalise your marketing materials. So don’t overlook something that could be hugely valuable to you.

Want to learn more about data lists?

If you’re interested in getting data lists of either businesses or consumers please get in contact with Selectabase today. We can provide you with the answers to any questions you might have and offer more information about the value of data lists to your marketing campaigns.

Direct Mail Response Rates Are at Their Highest Point in Over a Decade

From the 2016 DMA Response Rate Report: “Direct mail, considered outdated by many, still impresses with its strong response rate.”

Direct mail response rates took a tremendous leap in 2016 with a 5.3% response rate to house lists and 2.9% to prospect lists. These are the highest levels the DMA has tracked since 2003. For comparison, in 2015 the rates were 3.7% and 1.0% respectively. In 2010 it was 3.4% and 1.4%.

If you’re not already utilising the power of direct mail start today. Call a member of the Selectabase team about our direct mail lists and mailing house services on 01304 383838.

Follow the link below for more details on this report.


Make Me an Offer: Using Special Offers in Direct Mail

Sometimes the sourcing of a mailing list, deciding what to send and arranging fulfillment can all distract you from what offer you are actually going to include in the mailing.

It’s always fine to stay in touch with contacts and customers using a standard letter without an offer, but if your campaign is designed to generate new business then you really need to include an attractive incentive.

There are many types of offer you can use; free trials, money off, buy one get one free, upsells, cross sells and so on. Let’s look at some scenarios when an offer could prove really powerful in a mailing:

  • A restaurant mails lists of local consumers celebrating a birthday with a letter introducing their establishment, and including a voucher for a free drink or bottle of house wine with a meal. To finesse the offer further it could apply to lunches when the restaurant is normally quieter, or be limited to a larger group to get more people through the door.
  • A DIY store wants to let people who’ve moved into the area know about them, as consumers with a length of residency of 12 months or less are more likely to need home improvement and DIY products. It mails out a voucher for 10% off when they spend over £50.
  • A book-keeper targets new start ups in their local area with a letter explaining their services and offering a 50% discount on the first month’s service to trial their service. They know that once a client sees how much easier it is to use their bookkeeping service, they are likely to stay with them for a while.

In summary, if you are going to the trouble and expense of mailing new prospects, go the extra mile and make them an offer they can’t refuse.

Best of all Selectabase can help you with mapping your catchment postcode areas, the mailing list, letter writing and the full print and post process for less than the cost of a 2nd class stamp.

Call our experienced team on 01304 383838.

Smaller regular mailings can be better than a large campaign…

If you’re about to embark on a direct mail campaign it can be tempting to think big and mail a large sized list in one big hit to try and generate instant and impressive results. But there is much to be said for approaching direct mail in a smaller scale and more targeted fashion.

Rather than mailing your entire list in one go, sometimes it can be best to take it in stages, by mailing smaller segments from your list over a period of time.

  • Mailing individual segments gives you a better chance to target your message to each of those segments, rather than trying to communicate everything to everyone in one go. This could help increase the overall response rate from your campaign.
  • Mailing in stages gives you more chances to test your mailing and experiment with different formats, inserts, designs and offers. For example you could even try handwritten envelopes which some say can increase open rates.
  • Smaller mailings are easier to manage so you could handle them in house or in small batches using a mailing service like Create and Post from Selectabase, which mails your letters for you.
  • Responses can be easier to handle if they are received in regular batches. If you sell a product pressure on fulfillment can be reduced or if you sell a service your staff will be able to spend more time on each enquiry and hopefully convert more of them.

Selectabase can help you mail smaller segments in a number of ways. The Prospect Download online list service let’s you download small quantities of data as often as you like, for each individual mailing. Each time your data will be checked against previous downloads to avoid duplication and cleaned for accuracy. If you buy Prospect Download list credits in advance then you can also save the download fee for each order, bringing down the cost of your data even further.

Selectabase also offer a range of subscription packages for mailing lists which send you a targeted mailing list each month for you to follow up. Markets you can target with these packages include a list of new business start ups, brides-to-be or birthday data, all sourced from your local postcode area.

If you would like some one to one advice just call our experienced team on 01304 383838.