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Data hygiene

I talk about data hygiene with clients a lot. In my experience, poor data hygiene is the number one reason that legitimate, permission based marketing ends up in the junk folder. Too many marketers don’t remove abandoned addresses from their mailing lists. As the abandoned addresses build up, eventually the list accumulates enough zombie addresses that it looks similar to a spammer’s list.

I’ve talked in depth about zombie accounts previously (part 1, part 2, part 3, apocalypse) and they talk a lot more about why we have zombies accounts and why they’re just starting to be a bigger issue for marketers. Not only are we just starting to hit critical mass with zombie accounts, but ISPs are really starting to weigh engagement in their delivery decisions. Zombie accounts are not engaged with mail. Heck, they’re not even engaged with their own email addresses.

Many marketers, though, hate the idea of data hygiene. They hate thinking about losing a potential customer. They can show me numbers that say someone didn’t open an email for 18 months and then spent hundreds of dollars on a purchase. Or they can tell me that 10% of their revenue came from people who hadn’t opened an email in more than 12 months.

I don’t want to take those subscribers away from you, the ones who are engaged with your brand or your mail in some un-trackable way. But I do want to stop the zombies from eating your delivery.

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