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Measuring the Health of Your Inbound Contact Database

By Bob Ruffolo

Measuring the Health of Your Inbound Contact Database

measuring-the-health-of-your-contact-databaseIt’s important to have a trusted, repeatable methodology for evaluating the health of your contact database. 

A good basic definition of an unhealthy email list is one where recipients don’t expect your email and it's either unwanted or not needed.

That’s a good place to start when defining a bad email list, but some CRMs like HubSpot and email providers like MailChimp go further, asking questions to make sure every contact uploaded is legitimate:

  • Does everybody on this list have a prior relationship with your business?

  • Do you have an unsubscribe list?

  • Did you purchase, rent, or lease the list from a third party?

  • Will the people on the list be expecting (not surprised by) your email?

  • Have you emailed these contacts within the last 12 months?

Most of these are self-explanatory but the first one bears repeating: Get rid of the list if you don't have a prior relationship with the contacts. If the recipient doesn’t have a prior relationship with you and isn’t expecting your email they’ll mark it as SPAM. This is not only discourteous, but can hurt the sender score of the servers you send from and make it harder for you to get your messages delivered.

These questions are asked when lists are uploaded; they’re not asked when a lead comes into the database by way of conversion through a form, since it’s assumed these folks want to stay connected by the action they took. It’s far better to build your list this way—organically, using remarkable content to drive traffic to your site and inspire contacts to opt-in to receive future emails and other business-related communication. (9)

How to Improve/Update Your List

Over time, your email lists will slowly die or diminish in usefulness as contacts switch jobs, change email providers, or unsubscribe from your list —research says this will affect up to 25% of the contacts on your list each and every year. Re-engagement campaigns are one way to attack this problem.

Re-engagement campaigns are a systematic way to reawaken inactive subscribers and identify the email addresses in your database that should be removed. Re-engagement focuses on stale contacts— those who’ve been on your list for a long time, who aren’t opening, reading, or clicking on your emails, and lets you know whom to retain and whom to let go. Basically, through this process you’ll segment your lists based on contact usage metrics and design an email with a well-crafted offer designed to bring them back into the fold. Then you’ll study open and click-through rates over the next couple of days to make an informed decision based on the results. (10)

The content above was an excerpt from our guide, Inbound Lead Management 101. In the full version, you'll learn more about choosing the right contact properties for your organization, measuring lead sales-readiness, segmenting, and accelerating sales with technology overall. Get your free copy here, right now or with the banner below. 

Free Assessment:

How does your inbound marketing measure up?
Take this free, 5-minute assessment and learn what you can start doing today to boost traffic, leads, and sales.


Marketing Strategy
Published on August 19, 2015

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