Spring cleaning is something most of us do each year to clear out the cobwebs, tidy up our homes, and get rid of unused items we no longer need. But when’s the last time you gave your email list the same level of tidying?
Email list maintenance is the difference between an engaged audience and, well, an audience who’s forgotten about you.
An engaged email list can bring you an average return on investment of 122% for every dollar you spend. 122%!
That means a bit of tidying up equals big results to your bottom line. By building in regular, deliberate email list management into your marketing processes, you can see bigger and better results with email. Here are five ways to get started.
Why is email list management so important?
Like most marketing efforts, your email list is not static. It’s constantly changing based on performance and natural degradation over time. Email addresses change, subscribers opt out, and new subscribers join constantly, which means your email list is in a near-constant state of flux.
And this can wreak havoc on your success rates because when you send email, there’s a whole backend process it goes through before it’s delivered to the recipient’s inbox. When you send all of which affect how many emails actually land in an inbox, instead of being rejected or bounced.
There are two big metrics to be mindful of:
This is the success rate of your email, or the total number of emails delivered by your email service provider divided by the total number of recipients you tried to send it to. The healthier and more engaged your list is, the closer to 100% this number will reach.
On the flip side, if the percentage of emails being delivered is much lower than 100%, it’s a good indication of a few things:
- Low open rate
- Low engagement
- More emails landing in spam folders
- Higher bounce rates
Email bounce rate
This is the percentage of emails that were returned to you, or bounced back. This happens when email addresses change, mailboxes are full, or the server has blocked delivery.
Regular cleaning of your list can prevent these issues and ensure that your engaged subscribers are receiving and enjoying your emails.
5 email list management tips for your business
1. Let go of subscribers who no longer need you
The fact is, your subscribers won’t need your help and email wisdom forever…and that’s a good thing! It’s ok to remove people from your list who are no longer engaged. This can be difficult for business owners who like tracking the (mostly) vanity metric of total subscribers. But having more inactive subscribers will do your business more harm than fewer, more active subscribers.
Pull together a list of people who haven’t opened an email in the last 6 months.
Let them know that they’ll be removed, and give them a chance to opt-in again if they’re interested.
You can do this with a direct email that tells them you’re in the process of cleaning your list and requests that they opt back in or click a link to confirm their intent to stay subscribed. Send one more reminder email if you’d like and then remove the contacts. Ultimately, if they aren’t seeing or engaging with your content, there’s no reason to keep showing up in their inbox.
Plan to clean out unengaged contacts one or two times each year to maintain a healthy list.Don’t be overly concerned with so-called vanity metrics like total subscribers. It’s ok to remove people from your email list who are no longer engaged. Having more but inactive subscribers will do your business more harm than a smaller list with… Click To Tweet
2. Create a new and fun offer
If sign-ups are slowing, it may be time for a new gated offer or lead magnet to attract a wider audience. Think about the questions you get asked constantly and consider how you can teach your audience a new and valuable skill that will help them succeed.
A common fear is that a lead magnet will give away too much and answer all the questions your ideal clients have about your specialty. In reality thought, there are a ton of ways to create valuable free content that educates and informs without giving everything away. Your goal is to provide a DIY solution to demonstrate the value in a done together or done for you solution that only you can provide.
Types of lead magnets to consider:
- A pre-recorded webinar
- A checklist, guide, or tutorial
- A short series of videos or emails that accomplish one small goal
- A prompt or series of questions that help solve a problem
- Whitepapers or case studies for your industry
3. Segment your list based on customer journey
To serve up the most meaningful and personalized content for everyone on your list, try segmenting based on where your subscribers are in their customer journey. This helps each subscriber on your email list feel valued, as though you’re truly sending only to them.
It also allows you to target them in unique and interesting ways, and customize content that may be more relevant to your subscribers.
Depending on your audience and the type of service or product you offer, you can segment you list in many different ways:
- Stage of awareness in your product or service
- Their profession or industry focus
- Their content or topical interests
Ask subscribers to self-select the kind of content they most want to receive from you. Your subscribers will thank you…and they’ll be more likely to click through and read your content.
4. Clean up your tags and email journey map
Another way to personalize your email experience is to tag and track the content subscribers receive.
There are a few big ways to tag your list effectively:
- Tag subscribers based on their interactions with your content and emails, like the types of content they’ve downloaded, opened, or clicked on, or drip campaigns they’ve received ((promo or launch sequence, a post-freebie sequence, etc.)
- Tag subscribers with field data, or specific information you can use later to send them personalized content, like their location, birthday, first and last name, place of business, or gender
- Tag subscribers based on loyalty levels, like customers who purchase regularly or subscribe, people who actively open/click email, or (on the other end of the spectrum), subscribers no longer engaging as much who may be ready to be unsubscribed
Use a mix of one or all of these tag techniques to get the results you want and best level of personalization possible for your subscribers.
5. Review the numbers…and change what’s not working
If you’ve been emailing for a while, chances are it’s time for a change. Pull your top email metrics for the past year—Start with your open, click through, and unsubscribe rates to get a sense of audience engagement…and lack of.
Create goals at the campaign or promotion level, and also for your entire email efforts (monthly, quarterly, and annual goals) that help you stay on track.
Build a business that gets noticed online
Download the free SOULiD Framework guide to Personal Branding and start building your brand today.
About The Author
Rachel Gogos is a serial entrepreneur with a passion for people, the web, and creating strong personal brands. She started her career at the United Nations headquarters in New York City, where she helped create the look and feel for the organization’s first website. Today, in her current role running brandiD, Rachel channels over 15 years of marketing and communications experience into each and every website for brandiD’s clients. Find out more!