Mailing List Hygiene – Three Handy Hints #mailinglisthygiene

in - July 2013

Mailing list hygiene is, in the data world, just as important as personal hygiene. You (hopefully) take a shower at least a few times a week. You keep your home clean and periodically wash your car. These are the simple things you do to keep your life neat and tidy. Why wouldn’t you take the same kind of care with your mailing list hygiene?

Data Cleansing

Even if you start off with the best mailing list in the world, it will slowly get dirtier and dirtier over time. People move to new addresses, move out of your target demographic or die. If you aren’t keeping your list properly maintained, you’re throwing money away as you waste resources printing and mailing pieces that are going to nowhere. Here are three simple ways to save your mailing list from such a fate:

  1. De-dupe before every mailing. Duplicate addresses and names can easily sneak into your database if you’re not careful. This could be as simple as a name mentioned twice or something more complicated, like two identical pieces going to people living in the same household. Make sure that you don’t just de-duplicate your list by name, but also by address.
  2. Update with customer’s information before every mailing. When sending to existing customers, many will take the time to update their information with you directly, especially if there’s some sort of billing involved. In other cases, you might need to look at official Change of Address notices from the Postal Service to understand who’s moved or passed away.
  3. Update based on responses. If a prospect turned into a customer, there’s no need to keep sending them the same introductory material time and time again. Get them off of that list, which probably has a greater mailing frequency than your customer list, and make sure they’re getting information that’s relevant to them. The same goes for anyone who has opted out of your mailings—no use wasting your time with them.

Data hygiene and data leasing companies

If you’re leasing a list, you won’t have to deal as much with these issues, as the leasing company should be performing routine hygiene on your list. If you’ve purchased a list or are curating in-house, however, you might be on your own. If it seems overwhelming, there are data hygiene companies who can help just keep your lists up-to-date, which can reap significant savings. Or full-service direct mail advertising company, like Send Marketing Solutions, can help you get the most out of your direct mail pounds with a clean, successful list.

Not sure if it’s worth it? – take advantage of our free data health check. Within a few hours, you will have a detailed report on the quality of your mailing list on your desk – free of charge. Click here for more details.  You might also like to read our blog about direct mail and digital.


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