Cleaning Up Your Database for Better Marketing Automation

Marketing automation helps free you of mundane tasks, allowing you to focus on building a strong, thriving business while software handles the rest. However, even the best marketing automation tools out there are not capable of human-like thought just yet, so it’s your responsibility to give them the best start possible.

One thing that you’ll need to do is invest some time and effort into cleaning up your database. Otherwise, you may still find that you’re throwing money away, even with robust automation solutions. Not sure how to clean out that database or even why it’s necessary? Let’s take a closer look.

Why Clean Your Database?

No matter how diligent you were during list building, there’s a significant chance you’ve got some erroneous information in there. Inaccurate data leads to lost revenue. Accurate, high-quality data, on the other hand, supports positive outcomes for your business. Cleaning your database improves email deliverability, improves your ability to nurture leads, and also plays a role in the lead qualification process, making things simpler for your sales team.

How to Clean Your Database

When it comes to cleaning your database, you’ll need to look at the three main components – contacts, fields, and smart lists and workflows. Each of these will require your attention, as well as some specific steps.

Start with Contacts 

You must manage your contacts wisely. Email addresses are the key here, but you should ensure that each contact is as fleshed out (accurately) as possible. Winnow down your list by eliminating anyone who has unsubscribed – if they don’t want to be contacted, ensure that you can’t accidentally keep doing so. Nothing will tarnish your company’s reputation faster. However, make sure that you’re not deleting engaged contacts who don’t want to receive emails any longer. If they’re engaged, but unsubscribing, move them to a different section of your list.

Next, you need to sort through your contacts and logically organise them. The simplest thing to do is to coordinate them into groups. You should have group 1, comprised of those who’ve regularly interacted with your brand. Group 2 should be those who have interacted at least once, and group 3 should be those who have not interacted, but who haven’t unsubscribed.

Fields for Organisation

Fields are there to help you organise your information. However, you could be doing yourself a disservice at the same time. Go through all of your fields and verify that the following are true:

  • Each field only includes a single piece of information: last name, street address, etc.
  • Each field is only used for one purpose
  • There are no unauthorised values leftover from data importing
  • Useless fields have been removed (or at least hidden from view)

The goal here is to ensure that you have access to the information you need at a glance and that you can use various pieces of information within different channels in your sales funnel. You’ll also shrink the size of your database in this way, ensuring faster upload/download speeds.

Lists and Flows

Now we come to the smart list/workflow section of the post. Here, automation begins to do its thing. However, there are a few things you can do to ensure that you get the most value for your time and money.

  • Use standard terminology to avoid confusion with multiple people managing the list.
  • Make searching easy to avoid creating duplicate lists.
  • Identify older lists and workflows that need to be audited.
  • Ensure all URLs and other assets for older lists/workflows are still active.


List maintenance is boring but essential. The cleaner and leaner your list, the more traction you’ll see and the more benefits you’ll enjoy from marketing automation solutions. If you are not completely sure how to move forward, we’re happy to help. Contact Emarkable today to learn more or schedule a consultation.

Sean Dempsey Marketing
Sean Dempsey

With over a decade of experience, Sean is an amazing, data-driven inbound marketer who will manage the majority of the marketing funnel for your company. Sean attracts site traffic, converting that traffic into new leads for your business and nurturing those leads to close into customers. Contact Sean about Inbound Marketing.