Luke Paverd·Database·20 July 2017

4 Steps to Keep a Clean Database

Do you have a well organized, clean database?  A great database should:

  • Give you access to the right information whenever you need it.
  • Take up minimal time to maintain.
  • Add value by organizing that information in useful ways.

Today, I’ll be outlining a 4 step process on how to keep a clean database to save you time and speed up your processes.

Step 1: Generate lots of promising leads

The first step to creating any database is to gather leads.  There are two important tips to keep in mind when gathering leads:

  1. The size of your database doesn’t matter. It’s more important that your leads are characteristic of your target audience and show interest in what you’re selling.
  2. You want your leads opting in to your list. This means that they know they’re part of your list and want to be so.  Buying lists from a competitor or a marketing company is unfortunately a common strategy to increase database size, but it’s a waste of money as people who didn’t opt in will often treat your attempts to contact them as spam.

When you keep these two tips in mind you’ll consistently be sending out campaigns with high open and click through rates, and receiving plenty of engagement in return.

You can generate promising leads by offering your audience an incentive to stay in contact with you e.g be updated with your latest product developments, in line for special deals, or to keep an eye on industry news.

For more on how to make your website a lead generating machine, check out my article here.

Step 2: Decide on your categories

Once you’ve collected your leads, it’s time to sort them into different categories.  Here are some industry standard categories you can start using:

  • By their relationship to you– sort by prospect/clients/investors/competitors etc
  • By their level of interest– you want your most loyal and active subscribers in a group so you can engage them frequently without annoying your more passive readers. Conversely, subscribers who haven’t opened an email in a while should be target with re-engagement campaigns to try and win them back.
  • By how they signed up- depending on how they gave you their contact information, they might have different impressions on what you intent to contact them with. Avoid confusion by making sure to differentiate people who signed up for specials, and your potential business partners, for example.

Don’t be afraid to assign multiple tags to each contact! More groups will allow you to create targeted campaigns with specific content that’ll pique their interest.  If you send people unrelated content, you risk them unsubscribing from you.

You’ll also give yourself more information about that entry in the database, which is useful when deciding how to engage them.

Step 3: Pick the right database management tools for you

Now that you’ve chosen some groups, it’s time to begin categorizing.

The trick to saving time in this process starts and ends with the database management software that you use to build your database.  Some tools are free but will require your manual input for everything; others will save you time and add value to your database by allowing you to automate rote tasks and make using your information easier.

Just a few examples of how a great management software can add value:

  • Automatically import a lead into your database, whether it was from a portal, your website, or from a lead page.
  • Allow you to update your database anywhere, even if you don’t have your computer, e.g with an app.
  • Organize your contacts into downloadable lists for email campaigns.
  • Send autoresponder emails to recently added leads to welcome them.
  • Auto generate custom branded tools like vendor reports and property booklets within minutes.

We think our Eagle software does a pretty good job with database management- it has all of the time saving features I’ve listed above, and is also incredibly easy to use.

Step 4: Keep cleaning!

Don’t just update your database once a year- that’s an excellent way to build up problems and make the task more difficult than it should be.

Here are some tips to keep your database in top shape:

  • Fix incorrect information right away– if you’re using an entry and find that the information is wrong, correct it right away so you don’t make the same mistake next time.
  • Add as much information as possible– extra phone numbers, personal websites, when you contacted them last etc can give you the competitive edge you need.
  • Use lots of groups– add multiple groups for each entry, which will allow you to be specific in your searches and focused in your email campaigns.
  • Merge duplicate contacts when you come across them– again, don’t wait until you come across them again.

Finally, keep in mind that maintaining a clean database is a TEAM activity.  Everyone uses it from product to sales down to marketing, so everyone has a responsibility to fix problems when they see it.


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