While stay at home orders and social distancing guidelines are in effect, it could be a good time to get your data house in order. Use any extra bandwidth to give your email lists a deep clean, master new methods of reporting and double check your security protocols. Embrace this opportunity to optimize your back end and when things return to normal, you’ll be ready to hit the ground running.
- Identify Bounces - Are your emails being returned or marked as spam? Start by checking for typos in the email address. If there isn’t an obvious fix, try to reach out to the customer in an alternate way to confirm information. Finally, if none of these methods work, it’s probably time to delete the contact.
- Take a Deep Dive Into Customer Info - Reach out to organizations where you have a generic email address (e.g. firstname.lastname@example.org) and ask for a specific name. Look for duplicate entries and add additional information to contacts (e.g. second email address, job title) where applicable.
- Send a Call to Action - If your contact list has been around for a while, it might be worth checking to see if your mailings are still relevant. Consider sending a “check-in email” with a call to action. Ask subscribers to “click here to consider receiving emails” or give them the option of what types of emails to receive.
Create Targeted Email Lists
In order to increase email open and click-through rates, you’ll want to communicate with targeted segments of your customer base. If you don’t already have them, create contact lists based on demographics or activity (e.g. previous program registrants or men ages 18-24).
- Organize Existing Segments - If you already have targeted lists, investigate whether they can be streamlined. When was the last time you sent out a message to a specific segment? If the segment isn’t active, roll it into the master list or consider deleting it.
With accurate reporting, you’ll be able to make data-driven decisions rather than relying on guesswork. If there’s an aspect of your organization that could benefit from additional reporting, now’s the time to master the skill. The first step is to ask yourself what you’d like to know, and then determine how to access the data. Consider taking an online course or investigate your software program’s tutorials.
Some reports to consider:
- Program or event registration history
- Program or class attendance
- Email open (or click through) rate
- Social media engagement
- Facility rental trends
- Donation history
Once you see certain trends emerge, use the knowledge to adjust your future programming.
Do a Safety Check
As you clean up contacts and determine reporting needs, don’t forget your data’s safety. Now’s a great time to update your passwords (make them strong!). You might also consider encrypting confidential data (you’re already doing this, right?) and transitioning to a safer payment processing system.
Take a look at your back-up protocol. Are you doing back-ups manually? If so, consider storing your data in a cloud system. The cloud will continuously protect your data if you don’t have the time or staff to do it manually.
Finally, now is a great time to identify and discuss your security best practices with staff. Educate your team on creating strong passwords and avoiding phishing scams. Keeping data secure is essential to retaining your community’s trust—now’s the time to get a workable system in place.