Why data cleansing is underrated

Want to spend less on sending to inactive customers, and start seeing improved results like higher open or click through rates? Data cleansing can help you achieve both, and much more. Unfortunately, many marketers only realise the importance of data cleanliness when problems appear: high bounce rates, a sudden block from an email client, declining engagement rates. Here’s why you should be paying attention to data cleanliness and how:

A dusty database will affect your deliverability

To ensure the effectiveness of your most important 1:1 channel (email), you need to be regularly tracking your deliverability (ie. how well you’re managing to get into subscribers’ inboxes). It’s so important we’ve written two whole white papers on it! If your database isn’t accurate, you’re going to get some pretty poor results, and eventually run into a crisis. It’s much easier to maintain good deliverability in the first place, because re-establishing your sender reputation takes a long time. Below are a few things to ask your Email Service Provider (ESP) to help you with to ensure a clean database. If your ESP doesn’t offer these services, get in touch with us – we can help you regardless of what platform you’re on.

  • Clean up misspellings & typos. Set up email validation at the point of sign up to minimise future time and resources needed.
  • Remove hard bounces. This is usually automatically built in but it’s worth checking.
  • Monitor your Sender Score. This will give you a good indication of things like complaint rate (how many subscribers mark your emails as spam) and spam traps you’ve fallen into (email accounts set up to trap spammers).
  • Re-engage or remove inactive subscribers. Subscribers that have not interacted with your emails at all are not worth keeping on your list, if you’ve tried to re-engage them to no avail. See how to re-engage below.

Cleansing is an opportunity to re-engage

A re-engagement campaign or series (or a “we’ve missed you” campaign) can help you determine which subscribers are simply waiting for an interesting message or offer, versus those who you should cull from your database to maintain deliverability. Re-engagement can also be an opportunity to:

  • Prompt a sale, by offering a discount or gift with future purchase
  • Getting more data about what would make your subscribers tick – offer a small incentive for filling out a survey for example
  • Prompt or reward your subscribers to update their preferences, to ensure they’re getting relevant content
  • Give your subscribers another way to connect – pointing them to your social accounts for example, or giving them the option to subscribe by SMS

It’s important to keep in mind that re-engagement campaigns are not for every product or service, and it can be worth scaling back on emails to less engaged subscribers rather than removing them altogether.

Looking for some inspiration? Here are some examples of re-engagement campaigns from our clients:

A-List Entertainment offered a free short clip to reward inactive subscribers that stayed and updated their info.

Bookworld offer a tantalizing deal to help test if subscribers are worth keeping in their database. It’s also used as a sales opportunity.

Drink Aware UK uses the opportunity to prompt users for feedback in order to improve their service

Once you’ve cleansed inactive customers, you’re probably going to want to acquire some better ones! Check out our post on growing your subscribers (and revenue!) with promotions and competitions.

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