A well-maintained email list is a vital part of any email marketing campaign.
No matter the time, money and planning you invest in your email marketing campaigns, they won’t be fruitful if they are not reaching your audience. For this reason, it is essential to have a strong and valid list of contacts. Having a well-maintained and “clean” email database enables you to effectively deliver your message while ensuring that your tracking reports are accurate and based on solid and reliable contact information.
Previously, we have explored options for improving your email marketing campaigns. Now that you are prepped and ready to create the perfect email, we will review basic steps you can take to perfect your email list.
- Don’t Skip the “Opt-In” – One of the fastest ways to the spam folder is to make contact without permission. Although your contacts may be interested in what your monthly newsletter or updates have to offer, you will need to get their permission first. There are a number of ways to gain permission. From introductory emails, “join” links on your website and options to subscribe in email signatures and social media profiles, permission is merely a one-click step. When making contact by phone or mailers, offering the option to add them to your email list verbally or through QR codes is also an option.
- Keep it Fresh – In addition to fresh content, you must keep your contacts fresh too. Old and stagnant lists lead to old and unengaged contacts. In order for your email list to be current, you must have a source for new contacts and leads to replenish your list and continue to reach new customers. For HBW subscribers, the HBW database is constantly updated with new contacts, making this step easy. You can also invite website visitors and social media followers to join your email list with a simple link to expand readership. Additionally, every email should include the option to “share” or “forward” the message to a friend. For your existing contacts, you will want to make a habit of reviewing them for accuracy. Typos upon entry such as “gmal.com” instead of “gmail.com” are common and easy to correct. Often, an invalid email address is a result of a change in staff or a new domain name, so review your bounced and inactive contacts periodically to see where updates can be made.
- Contact Now – When adding a new subscriber, don’t wait until your next large email marketing campaign to make contact. Strike while the iron is hot. If short on time, an auto-generated welcome email may suffice, but the more personalized your message the better. In addition to welcoming your email subscriber, offer them options to personalize their experience. From discounts, new products/services or product specific information, your reader may be interested in just one or all of your email notifications. The more customized their experience, the more likely they will be to open the next email from your business.
- Remove Don’t Delete – Depending on your email marketing platform, this step may have a few variations. The main point is that when you delete a contact from your list, you also delete its history. For example, if you delete someone who chooses to “unsubscribe”, you delete their choice in not receiving email notifications. If they are deleted from your list, they could be added at a later date and receive unwanted email, again. For this reason, keep separate lists for active, inactive, unsubscribed, and bounced email addresses. By removing them from your primary and active lists while still keeping their data on record, you will properly maintain a history for each contact; such data will prove to be valuable in a re-engagement campaign and other marketing efforts going forward.
- Secure It – Getting the correct address from the start is crucial for having a clean email list. Garbage in is garbage out, so consider adding an extra layer of security to your sign-up form. You can ask subscribers to complete a double opt-in process that has them confirm their subscription and allows them to double-check their contact information. You can also take it a step further by enabling reCAPTCHA on your signup form to stop spambots from submitting invalid information to your lists. Various email marketing platforms have this added level of security built-in, so you will want to review and choose the security options that are right for you.
By taking the time to tidy up your list of contacts, you increase the likelihood of reaching your audience, optimizing open and click rates and converting your readers to customers.
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