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Spring Cleaning Your Email List – Why Bother?

Spring Cleaning Your Email List

Email marketing lists that are weighed down with an excessive amount of inactive names can become unwieldy.  If left unchecked, bad email addresses will proliferate on your list as well, resulting in a high rate of bouncebacks that can adversely impact your efforts when it comes to bulk email campaigns.  As a result, it is essential to clean up bad emails to maximize the success of your email marketing efforts.  Below are some tips for conducting your spring cleaning efforts effectively.

Identify Inactive Subscribers

These individuals generally have not responded to your marketing efforts for some time (typically 6-12 months).  Instead of simply eliminating them from your list, send out messages to them targeting their specific interests, if you have those on file.  If not, an email offering a bonus or discount of some sort can be tried in an effort to reactivate them.  If that doesn’t work, you may want to move them to the inactive file rather than eliminating them from your list entirely, so that you can include them in future special mailings from time to time.

Eliminate Bad Email Addresses

Inevitably, some of your list members will have changed emails resulting in bad email addresses that can increase your bounceback rate.  Removing these emails from your list should be an important part of your spring cleaning efforts.  Email list scrubbing services can be helpful in this regard. The more valid email addresses on your list the higher your open and conversion rates are likely to be, so scrubbing your list is something that should be done on a regular basis, at least every six months and more often if possible.

Review Your List Expansion Policies

Growing your email marketing list is just as important as cleaning it, so take the time to analyze your policies for adding new names to the list and improving them where possible.  Do you have a list enrollment form on your website and social media pages?  Do you remind existing customers to forward your emails to friends and family members so they can sign up?  To keep pace with attrition you should be constantly adding to your list over time.

Re-energize Older Subscribers

To entice subscribers who haven’t been active of late into purchasing from you again send them emails designed to bring them back into the fold.  Offer them special discounts or “loyalty” packages to motivate them to continue to purchase products from you.

How to Clean a Contact List like a Pro

How to Clean a Contact List like a Pro

Email marketers take note: A list burdened with a large number of bad addresses and inactive members can significantly reduce the yield from your bulk email campaigns, not to mention raising your bounceback rate and running the risk of increasing spam complaints. Use an email address checker to prune and nurture your list like a gardener would do with a grove of rose bushes, and you’ll be rewarded with the sweet smell and success (high conversion rates) rather than a bunch of thorns (spam complaints, bouncebacks, etc.). 

Below are some tips to help you clean your contact list like a pro.

Remove Bad Addresses

People change their email addresses frequently, and this alone will cause a number of the addresses on your list to become invalid on a regular basis.  In addition, as you add new emails to your list some of them are likely to be false or malformed.  Whether you do it on a monthly or quarterly basis, make sure you remove these bad addresses from your list regularly.  Use the bounceback reports from your email verification software to help in this process.

Remove or Re-classify Inactives

Over time, some members of your list will become inactive, failing to respond to any of your emails.  Set a cutoff point past which these members will be moved to an inactive file or deleted from your list.  One strategy is to send out re-engagement emails every so often targeted specifically for your inactive list members to attempt to entice them into becoming active again.  If they don’t respond to a certain number of these emails, then purge them from your list entirely.

Monitor Email Feedback Loops

Subscribing to email feedback loop trackers allows you to see who on your contact list is reporting your emails as spam.  Too many of these complaints can hinder your ability to conduct campaigns by putting you on a “black-list” of spam senders, so make sure to remove these email addresses from your list once they are identified.

Track Address Changes

By using Email Change of Address (ECOA) services you will be notified when your list members change addresses as well as being informed of a new address if one is available.

Check for email aliases

Email aliases send an email you send to a group of emails associated with that address.  As these addresses have generally not opted-in to receive your emails, use an email verification tool to identify and remove email aliases to avoid potential spam complaints.

3 Simple Ways to Improve Your Email List

Simple Ways to Improve Your Email List

Email marketing has proven time and time again that is one of the best ways to reach prospective customers and influence their buying habits.  But this popularity means that you face some fierce competition when it comes to getting your message out via email. 

Email verification is important here, to ensure that your emails reach the intended recipient. Designing emails that are punchy and relevant is another crucial part of the process as well, in addition to developing your email list –no matter how strong your message may be, you need to get it in front of as many qualified prospects as possible to maximize the impact of your campaigns.  Some further ideas to help you build out your list can be found below.

1)      Acquire personalized data.  Building segmented lists that reflect desired demographic information such as age, location, and gender is a great way to increase the effectiveness of your campaigns.  Information about customer preferences when it comes to the products or services your company provides is also key to designing campaigns for high open and click-through rates.  This data can be difficult to acquire, given that consumers are typically not eager to provide such personalized data if they can avoid doing so.  One way to garner the data is to contact data enhancement providers that can use your email list to provide you with relevant demographic data as well as behavioral data in regards to customer buying habits.

2)      Utilize email append services.  While mailings have continued to decline in popularity with marketers as consumers increasingly look online and to email for purchasing information, if you have lists based on mailing addresses these can be mined for emails.  An email append provider will use your list of mailing addresses to locate valid email addresses associated with the individual at the relevant address and send out email opt-in requests allowing prospective customers to sign-up to receive your emails.

3)      Scrub your list.  Given all the automation involved, it is highly likely that your email list will contain errors of one form or the other that prevent your emails from reaching their intended recipient.  This has the effect of increasing bounce rates and spam folder redirects.  As a result, it makes sense to utilize email list scrubbing services to periodically check your list for bad addresses, and either correct them or remove them from your list.

Tips for a Cleaner Email List

Tips for a Cleaner Email List

If you have a tough time answering when asked to “define email hygiene” you’re not alone. Email hygiene is one of those important aspects of any email campaign that is often overlooked by marketers. If you survey the best email marketing campaigns, you’ll notice that each one is defined by spotless email lists and painstaking attention to detail. Cleaner lists mean you’ll send less emails to invalid email addresses, and sending to inactive or invalid emails makes you look like a spammer in the eyes of most spam filters.

Making sure your lists are clean should be a top priority, and here are 4 tips to making sure yours are the best:

1.      Correct typos – This may not be the revolutionary email hygiene solution you were looking for, but it’s important. When someone inputs an email address, it’s easy to make small typos – nospellcheck@gmial.com is a good example. Decent email hygiene software will generally help you do this, but some amount of manual searching and editing is usually required.

2.      Manage bounces – When you receive a response showing that an email was “undeliverable,” it could mean one of two things. If it’s a “soft” bounce, the email was temporarily undeliverable due to network or account problems. A “hard” bounce means the account is inactive or permanently closed. Good software can usually tell the difference between the two and remove “hard” bounces appropriately.

3.      Monitor spam reports – Software can also track whether your recipients are marking your email as spam. If people are doing this (and you’re not trying to spam them, of course), I suggest sending a personal email to these people encouraging them to mark your address as “safe.” Oftentimes, people mark mass emails as spam because they can’t find the unsubscribe button. A personal email may make them reconsider, especially if you write a really nice one.

4.      Monitor activity – Even if subscribers are receiving your emails, many will delete them immediately or simply never open them. Remove your most inactive subscribers, because very low activity is wasteful for you and may hurt your reputation with spam filters.

How to Get the Best Value Out of an Email Contact List

Get the Best Value Out of an Email Contact List

The email list that you build today can be worth a lot of money to you in the future, but you need to maintain that list in order to ensure that it is in the best shape possible.  How can you get the best value out of an email contact list?  A starting point is to keep your list clean, and practice email hygiene.  Many people do not consider the importance of this point, but it is crucial to the health of your list.

·         When you sign up for an email service provider, opt in for the analytics package.  This may cost you a little bit of money, but it will save you a lot in the future – your online reputation and your pocketbook will thank you.

·         Review your analytics when you send out an email campaign.  You can glean a lot of information from the report after your email message has gone out – and that information may keep coming in for up to a week after you send out an email.

·         Always ensure that you use online email address verification when people sign up for your email list.  An opt in box should lead to a person receiving an email in their inbox to which they must confirm receipt.  This prevents people from receiving your freebie offer without providing a “real” email address.

·         Review your email list and eliminate any email addresses that have not opened your messages for the last month or two.  These people obviously no longer wish to receive your emails, although they can’t be bothered to unsubscribe.  Help them out and remove their email address from your list permanently.  If they want to receive your emails in the future, they can always resubscribe.

·         Check for unsubscribes in your email list count.  Ensure that these are permanently deleted from your subscriber list so that they do not count against you.  If there are less than 100, it is probably something you can accomplish yourself.  If there are plenty of them, you may need to get your email service provider to help you by deleting these unsubscribes.

If you have an extremely large list, an email scrubbing service can be the answer to keeping your list clean.  Every business owner should be building and growing their email list constantly, at every opportunity that they can find.  If you are not keeping your list clean, you are not getting the best value out of your email contact list.

Looking to Build an Email List? Sweeten the Deal!

Looking to Build an Email List

Every online marketer knows that building an email list is one of the most essential aspects of running their online marketing business, in addition to keeping their email list clean with good list hygiene practices. They also know that perhaps the best ways to get people to sign up for their mailing list is to have some form of newsletter sign up form prominently displayed on their website. Even after doing this; however, there are a few marketers who are unable to get people to sign up. Fortunately listed below are some proven incentives that you can use to boost your email sign ups.

1.   Give Customers Exclusive Discounts

Customers love discounts and free items. Therefore it should go without saying that one of the best ways to boost email sign ups is to offer exclusive discounts. Offering exclusive discounts will work well for both traditional brick and mortar stores and e-commerce websites. Regardless of how good your product is, a discount is something that will benefit, not hurt your bottom line. Just make sure that you do not offer the same discount all the times, as it is best to mix it up and keep things fresh.

2.   Give Away Free Information

Another great way to boost your email sign ups is to give away free information. This can take the form of case studies, free webcasts invitations, the ever popular PDF files and more. Just make sure that the information that you are giving away is relevant to your, product, service and website.

There is also an added benefit of giving away free information – you can show off your personal expertise. For example if you have a blog on weight loss tips you can take the information from that blog and turn it into a report and then give it away for free. Before you send out your free information make sure that your customers go through online email address verification process.

3.   Trials and/or Free Samples

Getting people to sign up for your mailing list can sometimes be as easy as offering them a free trial or free samples. Of course this means that your product and/or service will be the one that will be doing the convincing for you. The good thing about free trials and samples is that even if your product fails to convince your potential customers you can still contact them and send them other campaigns as you would have already acquired their information and permission to send them information.

Each company is unique and therefore each method will have varying degrees of success. It is therefore important that each company tries various methods until they find the one that produces the most results. The main takeaway is that offering your customer any of the following incentives will definitely improve your sign ups and thus grow your mailing list. Additionally make sure that your list is kept clean with an email cleansing software

Thinking About Buying an Email List? Read This First!

Thinking About Buying an Email List Read This First

We get it – being an email marketer is a tough gig. Compiling an extensive email list is hard enough work, but so is sending bulk emails without setting off those dreaded spam filters. Even if you’re not spamming – and I’m going to hope that if you’re reading this, you’re not – small mistakes here and there can be disastrous to your perception as a legitimate email marketer. And although it can be tempting, buying an email list is a mistake that can have grave consequences. Here are a few reasons why – and the list hygiene practices that can help you be a better marketer.

1.      You don’t have permission – Email marketing is all about permission. Having your recipients opt in is crucial, since marketing messages from an unknown email sender will almost always look like spam. A recipient who is tired of receiving emails that he opted into will usually unsubscribe. A recipient who receives an unknown email will usually mark that email as spam. Anonymous email hygiene is a skill you must possess if you hope to look like a trust email source to all of your recipients.

2.      You don’t have a relationship – Even if you’re not marked as spam, the fact that you are sending anonymous emails means you have no reason to believe that the recipients will want to read your emails or will respond to your marketing. You’re therefore better off not taking a risk and appearing as spam and instead focusing on a strong, organic list.

3.      You’re likely buying bad accounts – Online email address verification is big business for a reason. You don’t want to send emails to inactive accounts, since doing this makes you appear to spam filters as a spam address. The act of sending to a purchased email list alone makes you look like a spammer, so focus on building your own lists and gaining a strong recipient base. You’ll have much better results in the long run.

The Best Email List Money Can Buy

The Best Email List Money Can Buy

If you’re a successful marketer, chances are you know by now that buying email lists is a bad idea. Not only can they be expensive, but they’re usually not effective in reaching potential customers and often put you at risk of being labeled as spam. I’ve even heard stories of purchased email lists leading to the suspension of entire email campaigns due to nearly universal spam filtering, so do your email hygiene a favor and stay away from the purchased lists. But if you can’t rely on buying lists, then how do you build a robust email list yourself?

Here are a few tips…

1.      Always get permission – Never scrape the web for email addresses or sneakily get them from your customers. Getting permission leads to higher read rates, and higher read rates means less emails deleted or marked as spam and more visits/purchases on your website. Oh, and provide a clear way to unsubscribe for your recipients lest you end up being marked as spam by default.

2.      Give users a reason – Just asking for an email address when a visitor comes to your website is often a good idea, but giving good reasons for an opt-in are even better. Giveaways and promotions are great ways to get emails. People are usually willing to receive a few emails once in a while for the chance to win something of value.

3.      Quality newsletters are key – Newsletters that serve a function – say, ones that exclusively distribute you best deals and coupons – are great ways to get emails and spread the word about your emails. Each additional sign-up is going to be a high-value one, so no email scrubbing needed.

4.      Get good software – You’ll want to have good online email address verification capabilities as well as a way to automate your list maintenance and email sending. What better way to do this than a high-quality program that does it for you?

Create the Perfect Opt-In Incentive for Lead Gen

Blog - Email Incentive

Successful email marketers are aware that giving readers the option of opting into their content is key – you transfer the power into the hands of your audience and thereby encourage a better relationship with them (in the long run). Asking for permission, however, is not quite enough – if you want people to opt in to your content, then you need to let them know what’s in it for them. Why would anyone bother to read something that they see no value in?

This is why you need to create good opt-in incentives for your recipients; and we don’t mean creating a generic freebie that says nothing about how well you know and understand your audiences.

The point is to create real value and to give someone something of value; you need to really know them. This is why segmentation is key. If you are able to carefully segment your audience in both demographic and especially psychographic terms, you will be able to understand how to be able to create specific opt-in incentives that will work. The more you know about your audience, the simpler the incentive creation process will become for you.

When deciding on what type of incentive to use, you also need to take a look at how it will connect back to your brand. While random freebies don’t work, creating solid content in the form of eBooks, webinars, video how-to guide’s etc. will create more value for you and the consumer at the same time. Your content automatically relates to your product and is at the same time something of value to the recipients.

You also need to be able to reassure your recipients that the information they provide you with is confidential and won’t be shared anywhere – this is where a good privacy policy comes into place.

Other factors to consider are the attention grabbing element in your headline, powerful visuals that attract your readers to want to know more – it’s not just about grabbing someone’s attention, but also keeping their attention focused on your content enough to have them waiting to receive more content from you in future. This clearly means your strategy needs to constantly deliver value and not incidentally stop with the first email you send out to them.

People could very easily opt in to your initial content and opt out at a later point because you stopped delivering the value you started off with. Start with a bang and continue to keep the momentum going ensuring you create successful engagements every time.

Tips for Building your List

Blog - List Build

There is no point having brilliant content for email marketing if you don’t have the ideal email list to send the content out to. If your list doesn’t have enough email addresses of the relevant audiences you might as well not have that brilliant content writer on board. There are many ways in which you could go about list building – the point is to understand all your other points of contact with customers and potential buyers in order to gather this information.

The most basic way by which to gather information would be to ensure that all your customer facing staff, i.e. all staff members’ who come into contact with consumers, are trained to be able to extract this information. You could also start a rewards scheme attached to email subscriptions that would automatically grow your list. Having a glass bowl for business card drops at your outlet is just as easy a way to gather email addresses.

Sign up forms either printed for manual sign ups at your store or having one in your social media or web platforms could also be a good way to get people to subscribe to your email content. If they are visiting you either personally or virtually it means they have some interest in what you have to offer and would like to stay in touch for more information before they make their purchase.

If your organization hosts events, this is also a great way to connect with people and gather their email addresses. Having a register at the entrance will ensure that people sign in before they enter your event.

The thing to remember with list building however is that you need to be able to clean your list periodically as well. Chances are that after a while some of these email addresses could become invalid due to the recipient changing jobs and thereby their email addresses. You could have input the information wrong into your original list as well resulting in the email bouncing back. This could in turn compromise your online reputation in the long run.

While it is virtually impossible to do this manually, especially if your list is quite long, it needs to be done every few months to ensure that your list is up to date and relevant. Use email list cleaners such as ListWise that will go through your entire list and give you a detailed chart of issues in a fraction of the time it would take to do it yourself and your growing list will also remain an active one in the months ahead.