One of the services I provide to clients is the maintenance of their databases. Entering business cards and new contacts, updating contact details, and removing bounced addresses.
Databases can get very messy at the best of times. There are always people changing jobs, shifting house, changing their lives and changing email addresses – it would be rare to do a broadcast email and not have some addresses bounce back.
Some broadcast email programs just bounce everything back to you – hard bounces or addresses that are dead, soft bounces where the server rejected the email for some reason and when mailboxes are full (I still don’t get why people don’t retrieve their email often and empty their mailboxes) and so on. What a mess that can be! Some broadcast programs absorb these and separate them into different categories so you can delete those who are dead, and reactivate those that might still be alive. This is much easier to handle and the mess isn’t in your inbox!
But what happens to your computer database if you maintain that as well as an online database? I’m of the mind that your computer database should really be proven contacts, people you’ve met personally, had some dealings with or have done business with. Online databases tend to have a large percentage of prospects and passers-by – people interested in what you have to say and who might, one day, actually conduct business with you. However, some of my clients feel differently and want an exact copy of their online database on their computer database. This can be very time consuming and means regularly cleaning up the database as it can show inflated figures. Addresses that are dead, people who have moved on, or contact details that are out of date. It is important to develop a regular action for this otherwise it can get out of hand very quickly.
If you are maintaining a computer database similar to your online one there is one very important thing you must ensure is updated very regularly, and if possible, daily. And that is the deletion of anyone who has unsubscribed from your online list. With spam legislations in place in many countries it is most important you honour the request of those who want to be removed from your list as promptly as possible. Otherwise you might run the risk of adding them online again if you periodically run updates from your computer to the online system.