Keep, Archive, or Delete? Top Tips for Managing Your Contacts

3 ways to make sure you’re getting the most value from your audience

Illustration of a bunch of faces

When you’re growing a business, all contacts are good contacts. Whether someone buys from you regularly but doesn’t read your marketing emails, or clicks on every social ad but has yet to make a purchase, you can learn from every person who engages with your brand.

Your audience data is one of the most important tools you have as a marketer. It tells the story of the people behind the numbers—who they are, what they like, what they want to hear from you—which is why Mailchimp’s platform is built around making this data more actionable for marketers.

With a dashboard to help you understand audience data and tools to help you target your marketing based on what you learn, auditing your contact data on a regular basis doesn’t have to be a chore. Following the 3 simple tips below can help you keep contact data clean and actionable, and get the most value from an audience you’ve worked hard to build.

Your audience data is one of the most important tools you have as a marketer.

Tip #1: Revisit audience data regularly to keep valuable contacts.

Finding new contacts can be expensive and time-consuming—in fact, Forrester estimates it costs 5 times more to bring in a new customer than to keep an existing one. Luckily, organizing and understanding your data can help you keep more of the contacts you’ve invested time and money to bring in—and find new ways to talk to people and bring them back to your brand.

Just because a contact rarely engages with your emails doesn’t mean they’re not valuable to your business. With lots of tools and channels in Mailchimp, it’s easy to find new ways to reach people through whichever channel they prefer.

A few ideas to help you keep more contacts:

  • Learn more about contacts who rarely engage with your emails. Your audience dashboard includes a pre-built segment of people who rarely engage with your emails. Digging into this data may show you that many of these contacts came in through a specific source, or share a certain purchase behavior. Knowing more about their interests can help you drive more engagement with your next campaign.
  • Send a postcard to customers who have bought from your store. If you have a connected store, you may have contacts stored in Mailchimp who have bought from your store but never had an opportunity to sign up for your marketing emails. Creating a segment of these people (by filtering non-subscribed contacts) and sending them a postcard could help them find other ways to engage with your brand.
  • Use social ads to encourage more signups. Maybe you have contacts who unsubscribed awhile ago, before you started including special offers in your monthly emails. An ad in their social feed (linking to a landing page with the benefits of subscribing) could help bring them back.

Whether or not a contact is currently subscribed, you’ve already done the hardest part of marketing to them: capturing their attention and convincing them to engage with your brand. So before you remove them from your audience, get a better understanding of what they might be looking for—and see if a simple reminder of why they love your brand might be enough to recapture their attention.

Just because a contact rarely engages with your emails doesn’t mean they’re not valuable to your business.

Tip #2: Archive—don’t delete—contacts to keep a record of their engagement with your brand.

Of course, there are lots of reasons why someone may stop interacting with your brand, and in cases where a contact is unlikely to re-engage with you, it’s best to archive their data to remove it from your audience. Removing this data on a regular cadence can give you a clearer view of contacts who are actively engaging with your brand.

When it comes to removing these contacts from your audience, you’ll generally want to archive them instead of deleting entirely. Here are 3 key reasons why:

  1. If an archived contact re-subscribes to your marketing, you’ll pick up right where you left off. Archiving preserves a complete record of how someone engaged with your brand, so if a contact who’s been archived opts back into your marketing, you’ll have all the information you need to continue building a relationship with them.

  2. Archived data can help you stay compliant. Archiving keeps a record of when someone opted out of your marketing—so if you accidentally re-import this contact as subscribed, your archived record can act as a suppression list.

  3. You can always unarchive contacts if you want to re-engage them later. Maybe re-engagement isn’t a priority for your business this month, but it’s a tactic you'll want to try out soon. Archiving contacts means you can always pull them back into your audience if you want to try marketing to them again.

In short, with no limits and no costs associated with archiving, this is usually the best way to remove contacts you no longer want in your audience—unless there’s a critical need to remove contact data permanently, but more on that in a moment.

Learn how to archive (and unarchive) contacts.

Tip #3: Only delete contacts if you want to permanently remove them from your account.

Deleting a contact is a permanent and irreversible action in your account, so it’s important to make sure it’s what you really want to do. This option serves a critical purpose for Mailchimp customers who need to remove a contact record for legal or regulatory reasons—for example, if you need to remove a contact to comply with the GDPR.

If a contact asks for their information to be removed from your records, deleting them will permanently remove all of their personal information and anonymize their data in your reports. You won’t be able to re-add them to your audience—only the contact can opt back into your marketing.

Keep in mind that deleting contacts is an irreversible action in your account, so learn more about how deleting works and make sure it’s really the right option for your business.

By regularly reviewing your audience data, you’ll start to get a better understanding of how different types of contacts engage with you. You’ll also find smarter ways to market to them on their own terms—and we’re here to help. Learn more about how your audience dashboard can help you better understand, act on, and manage your audience data, all in one place.