How to Keep Your Email List Clean

When it comes to marketing channels, your email is one of the most valuable tools in your toolbox. According to research by Litmus, email marketing generates $42 for every dollar spent, which is a return on investment (ROI) of 4,200%. If that’s not reason enough to take your email list seriously, let’s run through the numbers: 

Email lets businesses connect one-to-one with potential customers and provide a personalized experience that speaks to their pain points, wants, and needs. It’s incredibly valuable—when leveraged correctly. Here’s how to keep your email list clean in order to reap the rewards of email marketing.

To Buy, or Not to Buy?

It’s absolutely critical in the modern world to keep a clean email list of consumers who want to hear from you. Gone are the days of purchasing or renting email lists of thousands of people who’ve never heard of you or your business. Today, that’s a great way to get flagged as spam by an email client and watch as your ROI plummets. And in some states, you actually run the risk of legal trouble for emailing users who haven’t opted in to hear from you. 

The first step to building a solid email list is to do it yourself. Yes, your list will be much smaller, but the users you do engage with are much more likely to open your emails, read your messages, and click through to your website or offer. There are a few ways you can build your email list: 

  • Through pop-up forms on your site 
  • Via checkboxes at the bottom of forms for your offers 
  • By asking followers on social media to subscribe

Another great way to incentivize users to join your list is by offering a discount or some other small reward for subscribing. Over time, you will build a solid list of users who are excited to hear from you. 

Email List Maintenance

In addition to making it easy for users to opt-in, you also must make it easy for them to opt-out if they change their mind about receiving communications from your business. Marketing emails should always include an opt-out (or unsubscribe) option in the footer. Make it easy to find and ensure that all users who unsubscribe immediately get taken off your email list.

Also, it’s best practice to ensure that all data—in this case, email addresses—are entered into your database correctly. Some databases have the ability to automatically clean up mistakes, such as danielle@gmailcom or danielle@alo.com, but others may require a little bit of manual labor. This is a great task for an assistant or intern, who can intermittently check your database for obvious mistakes.  

Another best practice is to identify and separate bounced email addresses from the rest of the list. You don’t want to keep sending emails to users to continue to bounce—this impacts your data and is a waste of money if you pay per volume of emails sent. 

Segment Your List 

List segmentation is key to email marketing success. You’ll want to ensure that there are clear differentiators between current customers, past customers, and potential customers. That way, you can send highly customized content to each group based on their stage of their buyer’s journey. 

There may be other important lists to segment out, based on your business: 

  • Course attendees 
  • Newsletter subscribers 
  • Business promoters and advocates 
  • Competitors 

Keep track of your email list in whatever segments make the most sense for your business. 

Remove Inactive Subscribers

In the same vein as keeping track of your various email segments, you’ll also want to weed out unengaged users from the rest of the crowd. If someone hasn’t opened or clicked on one of your marketing emails in over six months, that may be a good sign they should be removed from your email list. 

There are many tools available that can help you keep your email list clean, so you can focus on providing the content users want to see in their inbox. One of my favorites is ConvertKit, but there are many other options on the market based on your needs and budget. If you still need a helping hand getting your email list in order, don’t hesitate to reach out

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