Best Practices for a Clean Email List

If you’ve been in business for a while, you’ve probably amassed quite a list. Email is still a great way to reach prospects and customers, so having a large list is beneficial.

However, low engagement in marketing emails may cause concern among internet service providers (ISPs). If your email list continues to malfunction, ISPs will block your emails from reaching your customers, even those who are eager to hear from you.

So keep your email list tidy. Sending emails only to subscribers who are engaged and excited to be on your list will improve open rates and ROI.

If your list has grown scary, now is the time to clean it up. Lets take you a walk through on how to carry this out:

Examine Your Bounce Rates

The first step in cleaning your email list is to assess its current state. Examine your bounce rates. Email marketing services will pull hard and soft bounce reports.

A soft bounce is an email address they couldn’t reach. It could be due to a temporary server issue. If the soft bounce continues week after week, it will become a hard bounce and should be addressed.

Hard bounces are for unreachable email addresses. It’s possible the email address was closed (this happens a lot when someone signs up with their work email and then leaves the company). It could also be a typo that you can fix yourself.

If you can fix the hard bounce, do so; otherwise, leave the name on your list! If you can’t control the hard bounce, remove the email address from your list.

Recurring Emails

Once you have a list of valid email addresses from excited attendees, it’s up to you to stay in touch!

Regular email schedules keep fans engaged and open rates high. Those who truly want to be on your list will eagerly await your content, offers, and updates. If you only send emails once in a blue moon, even customers may ignore them or wonder why they are on your list.

Regular emails can also help weed out those who don’t want to be there. When a customer or prospect receives an email from a company they dislike, they are more likely to unsubscribe. While having someone leave your list may seem negative, it saves you from having to identify and remove unengaged subscribers.

Opt-In Texting

After you’ve cleaned up your existing email list, you’ll want to maintain it. Begin with opt-in messaging.

When people sign up via your website, give them a double opt-in prompt. Sign up for our mailing list” button, enter their information, and then get a second prompt—”Yes! Sign me up for this list”—to confirm enrollment. Asking people if they’re sure they want to register will keep undecideds off your list.

You can do the same with names on your list that have lain dormant. You shouldn’t delete them on your own, but you can contact those who haven’t read them in a while. Re-opt them in. This allows them to opt-in to your list. If they stay, this re-opt-in may revive their interest in your list and get them to open your messages again. It’s fine if they choose to leave! They’ve scrubbing your list for you.

Verify typos and role addresses

As stated previously, many typos in an email list can affect bounce rate. Some typos are obvious, like “gamil.com” instead of “gmail.com” in email addresses. Others require more digging to repair. You may not know how to spell a person’s last name or a company’s name, but there are ways to identify these issues. Verify their name in your CRM database. If their last name is spelled one way in the name section but another in their email address, and the email bounces, assume the email spelling is incorrect and change it to the other portion of the form.

You can also use a service like ZeroBounce to remove spam emails. Their technology scans your list for invalid emails and spam traps.

Remove role addresses from your mailing list. These are “[email protected]” or “[email protected]” emails. These are easy to scan for and remove, and removing them can improve your standing with ISPs.

Welcoming Email

Signing up for a new email list is sometimes forgotten. “What is this doing here?” they ask a week later. “I didn’t sign up!” They suddenly mark your email as spam. ISPs can penalize you if you get enough spam reports.

That’s why a welcome email is a good idea. Thank your new subscriber for signing up, let them know what to expect from you moving forward, and let them opt out if they so desire.

Consider creating a welcome journey series aimed at speeding up the sales process. Whatever you do with the welcome email, it will help you and them manage expectations and keep your email list clean from the start.

Make Lists

Segmenting your list is another great way to keep subscribers happy. People will open and read your emails more if they are segmented.

You can segment in many ways. One is by customer journey stage. You can give loyal customers special deals, early access to new products, and other perks. Another is past purchases. Assume you own a toy shop. A previous baby toy purchaser is unlikely to be interested in the latest board games or Lego sets, but rather the latest car seat toys.

In the world of email lists, quality trumps quantity. Building and maintaining a clean list of happy subscribers will help you reduce bounce rates, increase open rates, stay on ISPs’ good side, and maximize your marketing efforts. Cleaning up your email list is a win-win-win situation.

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