Editor’s note: This post comes from our Constant Contact UK office. You can view all the posts from our UK team here. Or connect with us on Facebook and Twitter.

The sudden disappearance of your mailing list data is something you’ve probably never given much thought to. But given how much is at stake, it is something you might want to address. Pronto.

Here’s a rundown of how to backup, what to backup and why you should be doing it on the regular.

Who cares?

Nobody likes to think of the unexpected. But if your subscriber list was maliciously or accidentally deleted, you would lose an important connection with hundreds (thousands?) of prospects in one fell swoop. Prospects you’ve worked hard to acquire. An invaluable pool of fresh leads and past customers.

Digital marketing is about building relationships. Doesn’t it make sense to protect those relationships from an unexpected, unnecessary and unthinkably frustrating termination? The answer is yes, of course.

Yet a 2013 US report found that 29 percent of businesses surveyed had never performed a backup of their key data, while 35 percent said it had been a year or more since their last backup. Only 10 percent ran a backup on a daily basis. It’s enough to bring on the cold sweats.

Building a backup habit

A single backup is all well and good. But the point is to backup regularly. Your mailing list details will change frequently. For example 17 percent of Americans create a new email address every six months; 30 percent of subscribers change email addresses annually. And the larger your list, the more flux you can expect.

When your list data changes on a daily basis (unsubscribes, new signups) you need to backup on a daily basis. The more time you leave between backups, the more inaccurate your data is likely to be. In the event that your mailing list data disappears from your campaign software, the danger is that you will be restoring from a file that doesn’t account for your latest signups and unsubscribes.

That means you miss an opportunity to nurture the relationship with your latest subscribers. Meanwhile, continuing to email people who have unsubscribed from your list damages your brand reputation and could even get you banned from your campaign software. It’s serious stuff.

How do you backup?

Backing up your list data in Constant Contact is a doddle. Within a few clicks you can export an Excel spreadsheet with all the data you need. Then it’s just a case of storing the file on an external hard drive or using a cloud storage platform like Dropbox. In the unlikely event that one of your team accidentally deletes something crucial, you can re-import your data within five minutes. Another option is to use an application called ThisData, which automatically integrates with Constant Contact to securely backup your subscriber data on a daily basis. You don’t need to lift a finger.

Let’s wrap this up…

Research suggests only 10 percent of businesses are regularly backing up their mailing list data. It means that if something unexpected happens, you could instantly lose the connection you have nurtured with your prospects and past customers.

With Constant Contact, backing up your data is quick, easy and hassle-free. So you have more time to spend planning your next email campaign.

Not a Constant Contact customer? Get the tools you need to store and manage your email database. Start your free 60-day trial today.