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List Management

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.

How to Manage an Email Marketing List

How to Manage an Email Marketing List

Email marketing is about more than just acquiring email addresses, including an opt-out and unsubscribe process and sending email campaigns to your subscribers. In order for an email marketing list to become and remain successful, and produce results, it must be properly maintained. If you are new to email marketing you are probably wondering how one can effectively clean up an email list. Rest assured that maintaining a clean email list isn’t difficult. In fact, email hygiene is probably far easier than you imagine.  

Get Rid of Bad Email Addresses and Manage Bounces

Sure all marketers do their best to ensure that their email list doesn’t contain any bad email addresses; however, that doesn’t prevent their list from getting them. Bad email addresses creep into email lists because eventually some email addresses will go “bad” over time. This happens for a number of reasons:

·         Subscribers may change jobs thereby no longer using their initial company email address

·         An email account becomes abandoned

·         Subscribers closing their email accounts

·         There email inbox becomes full and is no longer accepting new messages

Of course the marketer has no control of the afore-mentioned.

Sending messages to these email accounts will only result in the email being registered as a bounced email which in turn negatively affects your sender reputation. Avoid this by periodically going through your email list and deleting “bad” email addresses. A good way to do this is to set a “bounce threshold” where once an email bounces a certain number of times, it gets deleted. Bad email addresses can be identified for removal by using email address validation software.

Get Rid of Inactive or Non-Engaged Subscribers

If your email list contains people who are inactive or non-engaged then remove them. Some marketers like to keep these people on their list because the cost of sending them marketing campaign after marketing campaign is zero; however, the benefit of having them on your mailing list is also zero. They do not add to your bottom line. There is literally no benefit in saying that you have a list of 10,000 people if less than 50% of them are engaged.

If you do not wish to remove them as yet you can put them in a category called “low activity” users and send them a special email in order to see what would get them to become engaged. However, merely treating them the same as your other users will not add value to your operations.

Remember that as a marketer one of your most valuable tools is your email list and no marketer needs an email list that is non-engaging and one that could ruin their reputation. Make every effort to practice email list cleaning.

Improving ROI with Email Hygiene

Improving ROI with Email Hygiene

What determines email marketing success?

There are many factors that determine the success of your email marketing campaign. You must get the right people to sign up. You need to provide engaging content. Your copy must catch the attention and appeal to your audience. You must segment your list so that you efforts are targeted. You must do all of these things consistently because conversion doesn’t happen overnight.

There’s an even more important factor from which everything hinges: a clean email list. It doesn’t matter how many of your customers subscribe, how good your content and copy are, or how efficiently targeted your list is—if your list is replete with bad and invalid addresses, your email marketing efforts will be negatively affected because your subscribers will not receive your email communication. After all, if your subscribers don’t receive your messages, how will you expect them to convert?

How does email hygiene improve conversion rates?

Your email list forms the foundation of your email marketing. And no, it’s not about merely building a long subscriber list. Sure, you want to reach as many of your customers as possible. But you want a good quality list or well-targeted subscribers.

Your email list hygiene affects your online reputation. Your online reputation, in turn, affects email deliverability.

ISPs look closely into your online reputation. ISPs are wary of spammers and will protect their subscribers from unwanted mail. If they deem your reputation suspicious or dubious, they are likely to block communication coming from you.

To ascertain your reputation, ISPs look into your bounce rate—that is, how many times your emails bounce back or are returned to you. If you have a relatively high bounce rate, they will consider you a spammer and limit, if not ban altogether, communication from you.

How do I ensure email hygiene?

Frequent email data scrubbing is key to email list hygiene. You need to look out for the following types of email addresses:

1.     Fake addresses. These addresses don’t exist and will increase your bounce rates.

2.     Spam traps. These addresses are essentially bait, used by ISPs to identify spammers.

3.     Addresses with typographical and syntax errors. Some typographical errors can be corrected by some email cleaning software, but addresses with syntax errors need to be removed.

4.     Role or department accounts. These are accounts that usually begin with sales@, webmaster@, info@ or something similar. They are not personal email addresses; they were created to receive specific types of mail.

Most if these addresses can be flagged and corrected or removed by email scrubbing software, so make sure that you include this important tool in your campaign.

Email Hygiene Defined

Email Hygiene

How do you define email hygiene?

As the name suggests, email hygiene entails keeping a clean email list. It means that all the addresses comprising the list is valid, active and does not bounce out any email communication coming from you.

With email hygiene, quality trumps quantity.

Why is email hygiene important?

Email hygiene determines your online reputation, which, in turn, determines your deliverability rates. A good list means that you minimize email bounces, which ISPs frown upon because they equate bouncing mails to spam. If you send out emails that bounce too many times, ISPs are likely to put you on their black list and completely block out all of your emails to their subscribers.

The last thing you want as an email marketer is to have a tainted online reputation. This gets in the way of communicating with your customers; it gets in the way of email marketing success.

How do I maintain a clean list?

Keeping a hygienic list is easier than you think. There are email list scrubbing services and email validation services that do the dirty work for you—you need not go through hundreds, if not thousands, of email addresses manually.

But what exactly do these services look out for? Here’s a brief rundown of the types of email addresses that these services flag:

1.     Typographical errors. Having email addresses that end in “.con” or “.co,” instead of “.com” happen more often than you think. Some errors also involve syntax errors.

2.     Role accounts and role addresses, such as info@, queries@, sales@, and “suppor@ addresses. These accounts are not owned by a single person, but are instead owned by an organization. Marketing communications received by these addresses are likely to be flagged as spam by their owners.

3.     Addresses that contain hot button words, such as spam or junk

4.     Duplicate email addresses

5.     Spamtraps or honeypots, which are snares used by ISPs to trick spammers. Anyone caught by ISPs using these traps will be flagged as a spammer.

6.     Abandoned email addresses. Some email addresses, particularly those from free webmail services, are meant to be disposed of after serving their purpose—usually to bypass sign ups or registration that requires providing an email address.

7.     Invalid domains. Some domains have since closed down or have moved elsewhere, rendering some email addresses invalid after some time. This happens quite often, so it’s important to review your list often.

How to Choose an Email List Cleaning Software

Email Cleaning

The basic principle of email marketing success is to have an up-to-date, clean and valid database of email addresses. And while it’s possible to just buy a ready-to-use email list, there is, however, no guarantee that the email addresses in that list would be 100% authentic, valid and not expired.

So, the best way to build your email list is to do it manually. It may sound like a large job, but a little effort and dedication will be good enough to achieve your desired results.  Nevertheless, there are many tools and software available to clean an existing email list. Not every email list cleaning software is right for the job however.To make sure you that you choose the right software, here are a few tips:

Number of Email Addresses

Every email cleaning software is useful for a particular number of email addresses. So, before buying any software, make sure that it has the power to clean your email list. If you have a huge list, always consult the software company before buying the product. There are many sophisticated software that can clean as many as millions of email addresses in a list.

Organized Output

Once you are sure about the productivity of software, make sure it will produce an organized output in your desired file format. So, the product you choose should not only be able to read your email list from your email list file format, but it should also produce output in the same format. Also, if it has the ability to add extra information columns like the status of an address next to each email, it can be really handy for you.

Software Accuracy

Okay, this is the tricky part. We use email address verification tools to take invalid, expired or fake email addresses off the list. So, if a tool cannot offer 100% or a near 100% accuracy, it is of no use. The main objective behind making this investment is to get a clean, up-to-date and fresh email database. Therefore, if a tool cannot offer it, there is really no point of wasting money. This is the reason why you must ask for a guarantee in written regarding the accuracy of the tool.

Technical Support

Never take technical support for granted. Make sure that the software company you are dealing with has a professional technical support staff. Technical staff may not sound like a big deal, but it can be really useful in case of any errors or problems regarding the application.

So, these are a few of the most important points that you must consider before buying any list cleaning software on the internet. 

Break Up Your List Growth Into Bite Sized Pieces

Blog - List Breakdown

List growth is a primary email-marketing goal; it always has a direct impact on your business results. You want to set realistic goals that you can measure, that means that it should be in reach and attainable, given the budget and resources available for email marketing. That overall goal needs to be there, to keep the overview. Instead of having one big number as a growth goal and just thinking up a bunch of tactics, the next step will be to break up that big number into smaller, more manageable pieces. Monitoring, improving and adjusting for changes require a more granular approach.

You can grow your list through gaining new opt-ins, but at the same time expect around one third of your list to become inactive each year – sadly, not every list member will actively follow your brand and company’s performance. Increasing new subscribers is very different than reducing unsubscribes or keeping current email lists subscribers engaged. Each of these two aspects should each have their own targets:

1. Cross opt-in

If you have several brands, lists or sub-lists, you can cross promote and get someone to opt-in for more than one list. These are different than completely new subscribers though. Which would you rather have: 1 person on 3 lists or 3 people on 1 list? The answer might be different depending on your brand and lists.

2. Organic growth

Growing your list via your own channels is a great way to get started and quickly gather more subscribers. People that show up at your doorstep (website, store) are on average more likely to be engaged already. Maybe you have already several sign up options on your site, including sign ups with each campaign you are doing, but still need to optimize them.

3. Active growth: Step outside your normal reach and get ‘em

This category is actually quite big – actively promoting new sign ups through external action. There are companies that can help you in running (email) lead capture campaigns. Literally you are paying to get those new subscribers. So there is budget involved, per campaign or per newly registered opt-in. You could also set up your own inbound marketing funnels. The point being that these promotions is often outside of your normal reach. The first step in these is to map your email list growth touch points.

When a company invests in growing their lists with the help of external companies, they often look at the cost per new subscriber, cost per acquisition (subscribers turning into customers) or payback period; the time it takes to earn back the investment.

4. Preventing the number of “unsubscribes”

You probably have seen some nice unsubscribe prevention tactics and examples before. The chances are that preventing unsubscribes isn’t the number one most interesting tactic to start with. If you, for instance, start sending more emails, the number of unsubscribes will increase, but is that a big problem?

Often people that are no longer interested in your product/service will leave your list. This should be the least of your worries – it is a self-cleaning effect and keeps your email list healthy. If you have a target for preventing unsubscribes, these shouldn’t be your concern. Instead, ask their unsubscribe reason and if they would still be interested in the product. You might find that unsubscribes are even a smaller issue than you had expected.

A stronger, and active list is the heart of your email program. It makes sense to put a strong focus on growing your email list. But don’t fall into the trap to treat all growth activities equal. Split them into smaller goals and work on each separately – giving priority to the activities that give the best dividends.