Keep your database clean. Any marketing person will tell you how critical this is to any kind of data mining or email marketing or lead scoring process that your hands are almost tied behind your back unless you do. Your database should realistically only be composed of 4 types of accounts, for which you can label them in nearly any way you wish.
The four types are:
– Current customers
– Old customers/people who used to buy from you but don’t any longer (future warm leads!)
– New leads (regardless of how long they’ve been in the system, you can manage/organize this group separately)
– Internal/test accounts (of which you really should only have a handful, depending on the internal operating policies of your organization)
I understand that the labels you could assign to these groups are almost infinite, depending on what you are trying to do, so don’t get bogged too much on what I’m getting at here – database maintenance is a critical process and must be done daily, diligently, and deliberately. The “triple D’s” of database maintenance if you will. If your database is intended to be functional, which of course it should be!, you must pay attention to every detail and teach everyone with access to your database the rules of what they should and can be doing when working.
First, teach your employees the purpose of what it is that they ought to be doing. Teach them the reasoning, the goals, the severity, the higher-order purpose for what your database represents and how important they are to the entire organization, just by their involvement with and access to your database, aside from their value in other ways. Start with the why.
Second, the how. Train them and teach them what to do exactly and create a culture of comfort when asking questions. When it comes to database maintenance and operations, you can never be too careful, so this culture of openness is of absolute importance, especially because it is likely there will be situations that arise that aren’t of absolute clarity. Encourage your staff to be aware of the subtle differences between accounts that can make a big difference with how things turn out for your database.
How well you maintain your database will have implications on your ticket sales, email marketing, annual fund and donation outcomes and all other digital communications you have with your fans. Most of the time, you live and die by your database, so take care of it.
What are your experiences with database maintenance? Leave a note in the comments below.