PART TWO: DATA
In fact, there are not many exciting images to publish for this post….even looking for images was boring!! Yet nothing can spell success faster than spending time in your data base garden hoeing, weeding and feeding that precious patch of ground! Data drives your email and USPS mail campaigns and must be looked at critically. Without much fan fare, here are things I have seen that important guidelines for MOST databases:
1) The data base does not exist! It’s true…many companies I have worked with either do not have an electronic data base of customers and prospects or it is such a mess they can’t use it! SUGGESTION: Hire someone for a month to go through your business cards, email, LinkedIn partners, notecards, Facebook, Yahoo and pile of NAPKINS to get all that data into a single xls file!! Or, do it yourself.
2) Keep the data current. That means, if someone changes their name or email address, make that update in your data!
3) Build the data base so it is flexible. There are no set “field names” for your data base but, if it is appropriate, split out your database into at least these fields:
..and if there are two people at the address (Dave and Lilly) and you need to contact both, either set up TWO records or introduce two (0r more) fields to handle this. FName1, Fname2, Fname3, etc.
4) Be ready to add alternate fields. Imagine, down the road, the car dealership you own would like to send out a direct mailing. Wouldn’t it be great to send the truck owners post cards images of trucks and the sport car owners pictures of sports cars? What about a color field? I like red cars…I will respond faster to a photo of a red car than a green car. If you know that sort of thing about me, perhaps you should market to it!! These fields can be added as time goes on.
5) Set up your spreadsheet properly.
Above are two spins on the types of data we get for a mailing. The TOP one is correct. The BOTTOM one is useless. Study it closely before you are on top of your deadline and there is no time to convert the BOTTOM one to the TOP one!
Final notes: CPC can accept mailing list files in a number of file formats, including MS Excel, CSV, and text files. Please note that files must be organized such that each record is on a single row, with each column as a separate field. See example above. If your lists require manipulation in order to be usable, additional charges may incur so clean them up and merge them before you send them to us! CPC will “preflight” all mailing lists, de duplicate them per your instructions and will submit them to the NCOA (National Change of Address) before we use them. Of course you will be contacted for authorization to proceed with clean up if we see any issues.