Do you have a healthy email list?
Let’s talk about health and happiness for a second. In a world filled with fancy baked goods and organic ice cream that you might be happy to enjoy, it can be really difficult to stay healthy!
Some email marketers find keeping their lists healthy can be just as challenging, but I’m here to tell you that this kind of fitness doesn’t have to be hard. These six tips will keep your list of subscribers productive and healthy:
1. Do Not Buy Lists
Like putting kerosene on a campfire, using purchased email lists will allow you to increase the size of your subscriber base quickly — but it can spell big trouble later on! These types of paid lists are against many countries’ anti-spam laws that are in place to protect consumers, which means that you may face legal trouble for buying and using them.
Additionally, sending emails to people who haven’t opted into correspondence from your company can result in poor response to your emails, which is certainly isn’t productive. Not to mention (but I will!) – spam complaints and high unsubscribes can affect your trusted sender reputation over time – jeopardizing the deliverability and success of future communications.
2. Maintain Regular Contact
Keeping in contact with your subscribers is another good way to ensure the health of your email list. Sporadic emailing can take subscribers by surprise which increases the likelihood of your emails being blocked as spam by folks who have long since forgotten that they signed up. Remember, surprise may be a key element to winning a water balloon fight, but it’s not encouraged when it comes to email marketing.
To start off your relationship with new subscribers right, set up a welcome autoresponder to acknowledge them right away and then send out correspondence at least once a month to keep your company fresh in the minds of your email recipients. Some companies choose to send out emails at really predictable intervals (the same day of each week, the first of each month, the end of each quarter, etc.) to establish even more regularity.
3. Segment Your Contacts
SendinBlue’s reporting capabilities allow you to see information about the people who are opening your emails and clicking on links in them as well as the subscribers who are ignoring your emails. You can use this information in many ways to improve your engagement with subscribers. A good place to start is to set up different messaging for two groups: reward your active subscribers and re-engage inactive subscribers.
Active subscribers frequently open emails and engage with the content inside – like kids or office coworkers tackling a bag of candy. Segmenting these people allows you to reward them with exclusive content, discounts, giveaways, and other promotions in subsequent emails.
Inactive subscribers rarely open emails and spend little or no time engaging with the content inside (like me with a can of sardines). Over time, some companies may choose to remove these people from their email lists because they don’t want to waste time marketing to people who are clearly not interested in what they’ve been providing. However, these people also provide a great opportunity for a re-engagement campaign strategy. In this type of campaign, new or non-traditional content can be sent out to find an approach that may work better with this particular segment. Surveys can also be sent to these people to ask for feedback on why they aren’t engaged or what kind of emails they would prefer to receive. Sometimes you’ll find out that “it’s not you, it’s them” – which is to say that the type of content is not the issue, it’s just the frequency of your communications that needs to be tweaked.
4. Remove Hard Bounces
A hard bounce occurs when an email address is not valid. This may be the result of an email address being accidentally entered incorrectly or the email address no longer existing. Any email addresses that result in a hard bounce should be removed to avoid hard bounces on future emails as well. The SendinBlue software does this automatically so you don’t have to worry about remembering to do it after each email is sent, which is basically the biggest time-saver since the invention of the airplane!
5. Remove Alias Addresses
Alias email addresses are those generic emails like [email protected] or [email protected] that go into main corporate inboxes instead of personal inboxes. These generic addresses create awkward, impersonal looking emails that say things like “Hello Contact, have you checked out our latest releases yet?”. Sending content to these email addresses is pointless because it’s usually blocked by spam filters or manually deleted by someone monitoring the account. Instead, focus your efforts on personal email addresses so that you can customize your message and appeal to a real person with real interests.
6. Use Double Opt-In
Opting in is like that organic (chocolate) ice cream I mentioned earlier. Chocolate: good. Double chocolate: better!
With a double opt-in approach, a subscriber enters their email address on your site to sign up for emails and then an email is sent to them with a link that they have to click on to be added to your subscriber list. If the link in the email isn’t clicked on to verify their interest in receiving your emails, then they are not added to your list.
The advantages of using double opt-in are reduced hard bounces as well as improved engagement and deliverability.
By requiring that users are actually able to receive an email at the address they provided, it eliminates the issue of storing a mistyped or fraudulent email address, which reduces hard bounces. (It also eliminates the risk of someone entering another person’s email address that is similar to their own and having an unsuspecting person receiving emails that he or she didn’t sign up for and may not want.)
Some users who sign up for emails do so on a whim and end up immediately doubting or regretting their decision. By requiring a second verification step before they are added, you’re giving flaky people a chance to bail out before committing to subscribe. This may strike you as a bad thing, because it means that your email list won’t grow as quickly, but it’s actually good because your email list will consist of much more engaged subscribers.
Lastly, when subscribers know that they should be expecting an email from your company shortly after providing you with their email address, they will be on the lookout for it. This means that if that initial email goes into their spam or junk folder, they will retrieve it and move it to their inbox, which paves the way like a shiny yellow brick road for successful delivery of your future emails.
Hint: If you need help setting up double opt-in email confirmation, visit our subscription form tutorial for more details.
Now that you know how to keep your email list in tip-top shape, you can send more great stuff to your subscribers with confidence. Just keep in mind that your email stats are always changing so, after each campaign, be sure to analyze the results and adjust your efforts accordingly.
Keys to Happy Sending
1. Only email people who truly want to hear from you. That means skipping the paid lists and keeping your list tidy.
2. Harness the power of an email marketing platform to help you automate your list maintenance.
3. Use contact segmenting and campaign reporting tools to learn about your subscribers and send the most engaging content.
Start with a free SendinBlue account!