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How Small Businesses Can Stave Off a Deteriorating Email Contact Database

Sales Enablement


If you’re a small business owner, keeping your list of email contacts up to date and tagged with attributes can be daunting work… but never doubt how important it is! According to HubSpot, the average list degrades by 22.5% per year. This means that Joe Smith is no longer with ABC Company, so his email is no longer any good. And it’s easy to see why: in April 2016 alone, 5 million employees separated from their employers, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). That’s 3.5% of the population.

We definitely don’t live in the era of our grandparents, where adults would stay with the same company for an entire career. According to the U.S. Government, young adults 18-28 have already had an average of 7.2 jobs. Compare that with those adults that were born in the late years of the baby boom (1957-1964), who have had a total of 11.7 jobs from ages 18-48, according to the BLS.

Easy Ways to Keep Your Database Current

Okay, I’m sure you get it. Keeping up with where your contacts are working is exhausting. So why should you do it? You have a relationship with these people. You’ve done business with them before. The chances are high that in their new role, they would still be interested in doing business with you. They are what I like to call “low hanging fruit.” Keeping that in mind, here are some tips to ensure your database is current:

  1. Monitor the emails that come back as “hard bounced.” This is the first clue that your contact does not work at the same company.
  2. Encourage your sales team to build your LinkedIn network, if they haven’t already. Then stay active. By checking in daily, you will see who has a new job. Congratulate them, check out their new email address by clicking on “Contact Info”, and then update that email address in your database. Hey, this is a lead, so it’s in everyone’s best interest!
  3. If there is a trend in a particular company’s emails getting bounced, check with a contact at the company to see if the email domain name or the naming convention has changed (jsmith@abccompany.com to smith@abcco.com, for example).
  4. Keep adding new contacts. You can’t get lazy. By having all your contacts in your marketing database, you can nurture leads and delight customers, plus understand how they interact with your email, website, and content.
  5. Okay this tip is “Inbound Marking 101” but it would be a crime not to mention it: create content that your contacts will want to read and share. This not only will keep your current contacts engaged, but they will be more likely to share it, which will help to grow your database.

Segmenting Your Contact Database

Now that you have all your contacts have up-to-date info, what’s next? List segmentation! You definitely do not want to send the same content to every contact. It is important to create lists based on many different factors. Here are some examples:

  1. Buyer Persona: If you’re not sure what that is, check out this great blog.
  2. Lifecycle Stages: Lead, MQL, SQL, Opportunity, Customer, and Evangelist; learn more here.
  3. Industry
  4. Pain Points
  5. Purchased Products or Services

You get this gist here; the options are limitless. The more relevant contact properties you have, the more options you will have when segmenting your list. The point here is that the more specific the list, the more specific your email or workflows can be providing relevant content to your contacts:

Contacts ----> Segmentation ----> Gold

To stave off a deteriorating email contact database, it takes work. But if you keep your database current and segmented properly, you’ll be well on your way toward maintaining valuable access to your contacts.




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