Sourcing Contact Data: How to Separate the Good from the Bad

All businesses, regardless of sector, benefit from contact management, even if it’s just to log employees’ birthdays. Businesses that seem to benefit the most from well-managed contact databases use a lot of email marketing or have a wide network of contacts. For example, B2G marketers in the early engagement stage of a tender process might make many new contacts and need them stored and categorised properly on their email database.

The thing is, the accuracy of databases changes – frequently. A thorough and ongoing contact management strategy is the best way to stay on top of these changes and ensure the parties concerned always have access to up-to-date data.

We’re going to look at how contact data is sourced, cleaned, and licensed to have the biggest benefits for your business.

Sourcing Contact Data

You can source data in three ways:

1) Automatically log email addresses that come from registrations on your website, through online marketing campaigns, and digital newsletters.

2) Manually collecting contact details at conferences, expos, and trade shows, etc. These are business cards as well as notes hastily scrawled in your diary or notepad.

3) Purchasing email address packages from niche companies, for example, that specialise in the B2G healthcare sector.

Each option has pros and cons. Your decision depends on various factors. 

  • You might have just run an email marketing campaign and you need to automatically log and categorise data according to precise criteria.
  • You might feel that collecting details in person is a nice touch, especially at small events.
  • You might be new to the B2G healthcare sector and need a lot of contacts quickly to start networking and building brand awareness. A ready-made package could be just what you need.

The Quality of Contact Data

It’s not good enough to have data. The data must serve a purpose and to do so, it needs to be of a sufficient quality. That means, accurate, up-to-date, and reliable. A lot of this is down to the source, but it’s also your responsibility to check, monitor, and manage contact information..

Data quality can be broken into good data and bad data.

Good data is: 

  • Accurate – all details are correct
  • Complete – all necessary information is recorded 
  • Reliable – it comes from reputable data sourcing providers and is supported by other sources
  • Relevant – it’s pertinent to your needs
  • Current – it’s up to date and not months or even years out of date.

Bad data is:

  • Incomplete – important details are missing, like a job title or a phone number is a digit short
  • Time-consuming – there isn’t much order to the data and it takes a long time to find what you’re looking for.
  • Irrelevant – it has nothing to do with your B2G sector or any tenders you have your eye on.

It also hampers analysis, plays havoc with analytics, and delays worthwhile insights which result in missed opportunities.

Managing Contact Data

The most effective way to manage contact data is with a contact management system. Contact Management Systems (CMS) have automation features that quickly and accurately store data and enable you to access data according to various filters, for example, date added or location. You can have even more functionality if you use CMS software. Software tailored to your needs has advanced features that include reporting and personalised customer interactions. Having all this information available at the click of a button frees employees from tedious, time-wasting data searches so that they can focus on their core tasks.

Additional advantages include:

  • Data collection, storage, and organisation, for example, deleting duplicate details.
  • Notes alongside contact details that document previous communication, follow-ups, and tender status, etc.
  • Reminders for follow-up interactions and notifications for important events or dates, like the start of a new contract.
  • Streamlined searches that deliver data almost immediately according to your chosen parameters. 

Cleaning Your Database

You know how quickly your inbox gets cluttered. It’s easy for important emails to get lost in a sea of spam. This is annoying from your point of view, but imagine the same thing happening to your business’s database of contacts. You simply can’t afford to lose promising or influential contacts.

You can avoid this by regularly cleaning or tidying up your database. But, how?

Remove inactive contacts.

This is important because the higher the number of inactive users, the less Internet Service Providers (ISPs)  trust your intentions and you automatically end up in the Spam folder. Search for inactive users on your database. Your CMS system will help with this. Send a re-engagement email to the contact and if they don’t respond within a few days or a week, you can remove them from the contact database. If the account has been inactive for a very long time, you can send an “Are you still interested” email. Remove the contacts that unsubscribe, as well as the contacts that don’t respond. Contact management software can automate much of this process.

Remove invalid contacts

Invalid contacts are usually inaccurate or incomplete. For instance, an email address might be missing a letter in a person’s name or phone numbers could be transposed. So, instead of 555-3697, the number is captured as 666-3667. There are also instances when email accounts have been suspended or no longer exist, for example, your contact retires to the Caribbean. These take up unnecessary space on your database and, as mentioned above, can impact your business’s status as reliable and trustworthy.

Data Licensing

All companies that process and store personal and professional data must be licensed by the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO). Data includes employee and client details, as well as details for prospective business relationships. 

Data used for marketing purposes specifies how it can be used. The exact terms vary according to your requirements, to which the contact must agree. The licence is valid for a year. It’s very important to set up reminders a couple of weeks before it expires so you can prepare to either renew or conclude the contract. 

Data Protection Act (DPA) licences are required for all businesses that process data using automation. You must renew your DPA licence annually, using your unique registration details.  If you don’t renew your licence you could be charged with a criminal offence. If you don’t renew your licence for two or more years, you risk a fine that, in theory, has no upper limit. 

Fortunately, the ICO helps businesses by notifying them when their licences are about to expire, giving them plenty of time to follow the re-registration instructions and avoid a fine of £350,000 or more.

Cadence Marketing, which specialises in the  B2G sector, has a dedicated email delivery platform called iServe that doesn’t just provide email marketing solutions for the public sector. It’s also 100% compliant with legal data regulations, including General Data Protection Regulations (GDPR) and other industry-related legal requirements.

Count on Experience to Deliver Great Results

Cadence Marketing has been in the public sector email marketing business for 40 years, over which time the range of services has advanced to the highly effective, comprehensive package available today. Our 95% deliverability rate is due to many factors, including ethical contact data sourcing and management backed by first-rate content.

Remember a high delivery rate – emails land in the inbox and not spam – has a big impact on email marketing. Sourcing data correctly and accurately can be the difference between active engagement and marketing success, and a life relegated to the Spam folder with a dwindling digital reputation.

This is where Cadence Marketing shines with email marketing techniques that put you in front of key decision-makers – more than 100K and counting. We boast 220K contacts that are vetted to ensure they provide data that meets all the quality requirements.

Contact us to arrange a free consultation so we can reveal potential solutions specific to your business.

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