RAAK_Blog-Header_ How to do an in-depth information & quality check on your email marketing database

The value of an email address is close to zero

As you know, we at RAAK like making a bold statement now and then. We've claimed that email timing is done wrong, or said we're not huge fans of benchmarks . And just recently we dropped another bomb during a meeting by stating that, quote: ‘the value of an email address is close to zero'. Bada-boom!

Let us give you some context. During a prospect meeting we were talking about ROI and email marketing. And one of our friends across the table had built up a very neat email lifetime value calculation, based on our blogpost about this topic . We agreed with what he was saying, but we couldn't agree with the fact that they intended to overinvest in harvesting as many email addresses as possible. What's the use of just going for the email address, without extra data? If you were to base email revenue predictions on harvested addresses and valued through an email lifetime value calculation, then you are taking huge risks based on false assumptions.  Because, let's face it, an email address itself has a value close to zero. It's the metrics and data linked to this email address that determine whether it's valuable or not.

So if you want to grow your database, we're all for investing in data mining techniques. As long as you don't forget the other data and metrics. Because this extra set of data, well… that's where the money is. Below you'll find 5 rock solids tips to grow your database, both in quantity and quality.

1)      Ask enough data, but not too much

You can go for just the email address, but chances are people are rapidly filling in their “B” email address, to avoid being mailed to on their “A” address. But research has shown that asking for extra data increases expectations, so people are more likely to fill in their “A” address, and even extra data. But don't overdo it: if you don't need the data, leave those fields out.

2)     Do pre-registration analytics tracking

Say you had to choose between 2 databases. One contains only email addresses, the other the same addresses, but also all the info on the site behavior before they signed up. Everyone would pick the second database. Team up with your Google Analytics en tech experts to find out how you can convert website behavior into data and a scoring model. That way they won't be total strangers when they sign up, but you already have fairly good idea of what is relevant to them.

3)     Great predictions are based on flawless data

Make sure that the info you have is 100% accurate. Correctly converting website behavior to data is your responsibility, but inserting correct data in form fields depends on the accuracy of your new contact. Make sure to motivate your reader to fill out correct details. Don ‘t know how? Read our post about boosting data quality.

4)      Don't forget the why question

“What made you decide to sign up?” F.i. the automotive sector has massively adopted this question: ‘Why have you signed up?' ‘What car are you driving right now?' ‘Are you thinking about buying a new car, and if yes: when?' Based on this data they can automatically trigger a sales/lead campaign next to their newsletter, when their contact is likely to start researching for a new car.

5)      Go for that killer smile

You never get a second chance to make a first impression. If you follow the tips above, make sure to really get the relationships going with a killer first email. If this one hits bulls-eye, you're off for a good start. Want to get the best out of your welcome messages? Just read this tip.


Growing a database is not that hard. But if you want to get the most out of list growth, make sure you maximize your data, metrics and analytics.

Posted on
Aug 22, 2013