Bad data quality is like a virus to your business. Small issues may go unnoticed, but over time the virus will spread and become more destructive. Consider the customer data that you collect and the cost associated with each lead. Gaining new customers is never an easy task and retaining them is even more difficult. Now, imagine what happens when the leads you collect are fictitious or the customer contacts you made last year are now outdated? You are going to start seeing problems with your data.
1. Hard bounces
A hard bounce is a failure of email delivery. Every digital marketer will run into hard bounces, so don’t be alarmed just yet. However, if your hard bounce rate is over 2%, then you should be on your toes. A bounce can be innocent at first, but bounces in high numbers will damage your sender reputation. This will throw you into a downward spiral causing problems with your sales as well as issues with your email sending platform.
Reasons for hard bounces
Most hard bounces happen because of purchased data. If you are acquiring leads from data brokers or through affiliates, your hard bounce rate is going to be much higher. This is why it is recommended to obtain data organically, or make sure you have email verification in place to check your data as you collect your data. Hard bounces also happen when data gets old; users will over time abandon their account or change jobs.
2. Soft bounces
A soft bounce is another type of failure of delivery. However, a soft bounce indicates it’s a possible temporary delivery issue.
Reasons for soft bounces:
The typical reasons for a soft bounce would be the mailbox is full, or the email server is currently down or offline. Another reason for a soft bounce could be when you send an email with an attachment that is too big.
*Note – It’s a best practice to remove email addresses that soft bounce because they could convert into a hard bounce. ESP’s such as MailChimp allows for up to 7 soft bounces before turning it into a hard bounce.
3. Spam complaints
A spam complaint is when a user receives your email but marks it as spam. Your spam complaint rate should be less than 0.1%. This means for every 1,000 emails you send off you should have less than one complaint. It’s hard to control who will and will not complain, but there are some steps you can take to take to minimize users from complaining.
Reason for spam complaints
One of the most common reasons users mark messages as spam is because they don’t see the unsubscribe option. This is why it’s essential to make your unsubscribe link visible. In addition to that, oftentimes users do not know how to go through an unsubscribe process and they just “mark as spam” to remove the mail from the inbox.
However, if your spam rate is higher than average, you might want to take a look at the way you are collecting data and the content you are sending. Perhaps you are buying data, and your users didn’t truly opt-in. This is why it’s important to utilize a double opt-in method to make sure the subscribers are interested in hearing from you.
The most effective way to improve your data quality is to start with an email verification solution. You can hygiene your entire database quickly and get answers on which email accounts are not in service and which ones are high risk. This means you are going to enormously cut down on hard bounces as well as reduce your risk of getting spam complaints. It’s a best practice to clean up your entire list quarterly but also add real-time data verification to your data capture areas.
It’s also recommended that you remove unengaged users from your email campaign. If users are not interested in your content, then they are more likely to complain. Look through your history of email sends and identify the accounts that have not opened any of the last 15 emails you’ve sent. Once, you have identified these users, simply unsubscribe them.
Evaluate the way you collect your data. If you are working with a data broker stop, and invest your time into getting organic leads. The more people who opt-in who have some interest in your niche will be the users who engage more with the emails you are sending. As mentioned before it’s a good idea to get users to double-opt-in confirming they do want to receive communications from you. Don’t allow bad data to devastate your campaign. Once you start seeing the signs of bad data quality you need to start taking action.