Simple Tips to Improve Your Lead Database Quality

By Bodie Czeladka in Dilate Digital on May 25, 2016
  • Introduction and 3 Great Opt-In Form Tips

Using an effective inbound marketing strategy is a great way to build a database of leads for your business. It is very exciting to see that list grow and imagine that you’ve made it. However, it's sad to report that some of the leads that you’ve generated are likely to be low in quality. Although some customers and prospects have filled out your forms, there are others that have no intention of spending any money with you. These “leads” could be competitors evaluating your content, marketers from other countries seeking content to translate and people that just like free stuff. All these people are doing is taking up space and giving you false data about the real size of your lead database. It’s time to trim the fat, here are three simple opt in form tips to use in your business.

  1. Your Forms are The Bouncer at the Door

We’ve all stood in a queue at a nightclub and seen the bouncer turn away undesirables. Your opt in form can act as the bouncer for your database and let in only the legitimate leads. This can be done in a couple of ways; firstly you can reject them at the door, or secondly you can throw them out at a later time. This can be achieved by using email forms that require qualifying information and additional form fields.

  1. Using Form Fields to Validate

An email form field will show the email address provided, and you can gain valuable clues here. A competitor will obviously use a private address in order to hide their true identity. Vendors may even use blacklisted addresses that are linked with spam, and they can be blocked from your forms. To find them, compare email domains to free lists of spam email providers against your own providers and you will find unqualified people masquerading as leads.

  1. Make Use of Additional Form Fields

People will jump through many hoops to submit a form for your site if they feel it will benefit them. Additional form fields are a great way to filter through these prospective leads. Mechanisms such as using CAPTCHA fields can be very effective, but there is a better way to go. By using information such as relevant industries, geographical location, the size of company and other useful details it is possible to better understand the person filling in the form. The data collected should quickly tell you whether the prospect is genuine and how qualified they are as a lead for your database.

The True Cost of Bad Leads and 3 Tips for Cleaning Your Lead Database

  • Costs and Efficiency

The true cost of bad leads can vary wildly depending upon which type of sales CRM, email marketing tools and database you’re using. It could be that you’re paying to store and then market to these leads. A database solution may have limits that you pay for, and your cost to send rates will also add up. Many businesses may be throwing away thousands of dollars annually on unqualified leads, and this can play havoc with your metrics. It may be that you feel your conversion rates are low, but in fact, the unqualified leads in your database are throwing your figures out. A well run database will be filled with qualified leads that have expressed genuine interest in your product or service, and your marketing efforts will be better for it.

  • 3 Quick Database Cleaning Tips

1. Watch Out for the Sneaky Ones:

As we discussed in the first part of this series, the opt in form can act as the bouncer to your nightclub, but inevitably some undesirables will sneak in. Luckily, they will only make it in temporarily as it is a fairly quick process to review your new prospects. This can be achieved manually or, even better, it can be automated.

2. The Power of Smart Lists

A smart list can be used to discover and keep track of unqualified leads in your database. This can be very useful when cleaning and maintaining a larger database. Simply pull in a list of leads that will probably be unqualified for review. As an example: if you only do business in one country, pull in leads that have foreign IP addresses and remove them. By collecting relevant information, you can make it easy to get rid of any unqualified leads that have slipped into your database.

3. Digging Deeper

As helpful as smart lists are, they will only go so far, and it may be necessary to take a closer look. For example, there may be form submissions with obviously false names and phone numbers which the smart list doesn't detect, which you will need to remove manually. Over time you may develop your own rules for dealing with these problems, and spotting them will get easier. If you set up email notifications when a new prospect comes in, and they look questionable at a glance, they can be removed immediately with little effort.

Monitoring Lead Engagement

1. Carrying Out an Email Marketing Review

What we want are prospects that engage with our content in a positive manner that benefits them- and consequently, us. However, prospects may unsubscribe from your list by clicking through on the original email you sent. Keep an eye on which links they are clicking regularly, as this will provide valuable clues, and use this information to identify which leads are bouncing your emails or unsubscribing from communications with you. Create a list of these leads and take some time to review it and decide which leads need to be culled. However, don’t throw out the baby with the bathwater; it may well be the case that some of these leads would benefit from a different approach. It may be a new opportunity to devise a new strategy or a different kind of content to establish more engagement with this cut of your database. Many businesses have drummed up unexpected business using this technique, so it is worth including it in your email marketing routine.

2. Investigating Unusual Activity

Despite all your efforts to screen your database, there is little that can be done to identify a qualified lead that goes rogue and starts a download spree, or other strange activities. Of course, these actions could be carried out by a very enthusiastic subscriber, but there are some warning signs to look out for. One thing you may notice is multiple conversions on your current offers, which could also be the hallmark of a competitor gathering information. A smart list can be set up to track subscribers that convert multiple times, and a notification email can be sent to keep you in the loop. This kind of activity can be stopped only by removing the subscriber from your system when they have finished, and blocking their future access.

It’s important to know that a regularly cleaned and efficient lead database will benefit all sizes of businesses. Both smaller marketers, just starting out with a blog and an offer, and mature campaigns will see a significant benefit in their ROI. Costs can be reduced for both storage and software, the conversion rates from turning a qualified lead into a customer will improve, and it will provide accurate metrics to base your decisions on. If you would like to know more about online marketing or ecommerce web design, or are looking at getting some extra help with it all, give Dilate a call.

Avatar for Bodie Czeladka
Bodie Czeladka

Hi I am Bodie Czeladka, surfer and devoted dad from Perth Western Australia and founder of Dilate Digital. I crafted Dilate Digital from a home theatre room in 2012 and worked solo as a freelancer until hiring my first staff member in early 2014. Dilate Digital now has the privilege of employing over 50 superstars world wide and this is just the start. I believe the best of me is still hiding up my sleeve.

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