Best Email List Management Practices for 2021

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Among all the tools of digital promotion, email marketing offers the best ROI. However, you can only enjoy good returns on email marketing if you execute it the right way. Mailing lists lie at the core of any email marketing regimen. You can’t get any success in persuading people through the email campaign if your list management is poor.

This post will talk in detail about the importance of email list management and what makes a good list. We will also discuss the current best management practices that you can implement to get a resounding digital marketing success.

What Makes an Email List Healthy?

Before we move to discuss the best email list management practices, We need to discuss the characteristics that make a mailing list efficient and effective. Email marketing experts have identified several characteristics of a healthy email list.

  • It gets new subscribers frequently. Also, many of those subscribers have actively become part of that list.
  • A healthy list boasts a good deliverability rate. A mailing list that records 95% or above deliverability rate is considered acceptable.
  • A mailing list should also have an excellent open rate. Any email list that boasts a 15% to 25% open rate is a healthy one and has the potential to run your campaign at a good ROI.
  • Lastly, the email list should record a low bounce rate. Ideally, it should be in a single-digit and below 5%.

To get an email list in a healthy state where it fulfills the requirements mentioned above, you need to be proactive with its management. The following discussion will be centered on all the practices and measures that can help you to keep your email list healthy and viable to run promotional campaigns and handle the sales funnel.

1. Take Care of Email List Hygiene

The opposite of a healthy email list is an unhealthy list. An unhealthy and ailing mailing list registers poor deliverability and abysmal opening rates. In most cases, an email list becomes unhealthy because it is crammed with invalid and inactive contacts. To heal an unhealthy mailing list, you need to work on its hygiene, which means scanning it for all the invalid/inactive addresses and remove them.

Many businesses and their marketers understand the importance of email list hygiene. However, they consider it an annual or bi-annual activity. One has to realize that the email list data decays very rapidly, making it necessary to clean the list regularly.

A B2B data company’s research study suggests that 4.5% of addresses in your email list can decay within four weeks. If we extend this decaying trend to 26 weeks (six months) or 52weeks (a year), we may end up with a list with more invalid/inactive addresses than the active ones.

To avoid end up with such a decayed list, you should scan your email list every month. This quick cleaning and revamping of the email list will ensure that it can continue to register good deliverability and open rates. Enterprises carrying out email marketing without using any software can hire list cleaning services to maintain their email lists hygiene.

On the other hand, organizations using robust email automation platform like Mailchimp can use its “reconfirm your audience” or “unsubscribe inactive subscribers” features to get the list rid of “unhealthy” contacts.

2. Carry Out In-Depth Segmentation of Your Email Lists

Market segmentation is considered necessary no matter what type of promotion campaign you carry out. Email marketing is no exception. You also need to segment your email list to reach out to the right people with the right message effectively.

However, segmentation needs have increased in the last couple of years. Amid the thriving competition in every market, the general demographic and psychographic segmentation are no longer sufficient.

Cutthroat competition and changing marketing requirements have given way to in-depth segmentation of email lists. Today, deep and multilayer segmentation is considered an integral element of email list management. Let’s try to understand how you can carry out the in-depth segmentation of your email lists.

Core Segmentation

First of all, you need to segment your email list for some of the most apparent attributes. For instance, divide your list based on location, age group, lead score, and past activity on your website. If you are dealing with a B2B mailing list, you may also need to factor in the enterprise’s size. By using a market automation platform, you can set a mailing activity for these segments.

However, if you are boasting a large enterprise with a mailing list with thousands of entries, you won’t be able to personalize your email campaign despite this segmentation. For instance, if your business primarily serves the East Coast, you may have hundreds or even thousands of subscribers from NYC. In this case, the location-based segmenting will not help you in sending out personalized emails. The same issues can arise with other broad segments when your email list is sporting hundreds and thousands of addresses.

Contact Tagging— Add a Further Layer to Your Segmentation

For all the segmentation cases similar to the one discussed above, contact tagging is an effective way to slice the email list for more personalized outreach. For instance, if you want to further branch out your NYC subscribers into small segments, you can tag them for specific qualities, attributes, or occasions. However, you should have an email marketing and automation tool at your disposal to carry out the contact tagging.

These software applications can let you import your CRM tags to your email list. You can also make custom tags in line with the unique set of your audience and the nature of your business. For instance, if you run an e-commerce store, you can customize a contact tag for all those subscribers who have already spend, say, $200 on your store. Similarly, you can tag your premium clients with a particular tag to provide them special treatment.

Why In-Depth Segmentation or Contact Tagging?

With deep segmenting or contact tagging, you can take care of your email list in a more personalized manner. You can address your target audience’s pain point and present the right incentives to push them further in the sales funnel. For contact tagging, keep one thing in mind: the more useful data you have on your subscribers, the more effective in-depth segmentation you can do of your list.

3. Scan Your List Based on Engagement

Gone are the days when any subscriber replying to an email was considered an active address for years. Nowadays, the definition of engagement has changed. Any address with been inactive even for a short period or a couple of campaigns is not deemed good for the list.

Take Care of Disengaged and Irregular Contacts

Addresses with poor engagement put a dent in your open and click-through rate. These two characteristics don’t just downgrade your list’s value, but they also affect your reputation as a marketer. You need to keep a close eye on the subscribers’ engagement to avoid this outcome.

You can set up a workflow in an email marketing automation platform to scan and identify addresses that haven’t opened your email in, say, two months. Similarly, you can identify the subscribers who haven’t engaged with your last two campaigns.

Make a separate list of all those contacts and remove them from your active email list. By doing this, you will ensure that a minimum number of your emails end up in the spam folder. You should also devise a re-engagement campaign for all those contacts that you have filtered out.

Make a List of Super Subscribers

While it is crucial to get rid of contacts that haven’t engaged for a long time or are irregular with their engagement, it is equally essential to give importance to the most active subscriber on the list. Again a useful email marketing tool will come in handy. You can configure its workflow to identify the addresses that respond to all your messages and campaigns. Make a super subscriber list of all those contacts because you can use that email listing to drive maximum engagement.

Also, you can use such a list as your focus group. Hence, before launching a product or service on a large scale, you can share the idea with them and ask their opinion. Similarly, it is better to test any rebranding experiment with the super subscriber list. The response from the super subscriber list for any new offer or significant business shift will let you gauge the response of the rest of the market.

4. Make It Easy for People to Unsubscribe

At first glance, it seems like this heading contains a typo. However, that’s not the case. Contemporary email list management advocates for easy unsubscribing. It has been a long-established practice that marketers bury the unsubscribe option in the email’s fine print to ensure people can’t unsubscribe.

However, the years of experience have made email marketers realized that there is no point in making deliberate attempts to stop people unsubscribing from the list. A person who wants to get out of the list is not interested in your messages and campaigns anyway. Instead, the longer they stay on your list, the more it can turn counterproductive.

For instance, a frustrated contact failing to unsubscribe from a list will mark the sender’s address as spam. Such upset contacts, whom you have kept subscribers against their will, can also bad-mouth your business among their friends and family. The mounting number of frustrated contacts wanting to unsubscribe can also land you in trouble in the light of the CAN-SPAM Act of 2003.

Therefore, always put a prominent unsubscribe button on your emails. This way, you can keep your list spruced up automatically and protect it from any potential reputation or liability damage.

Some Additional Good Practices

Before we wrap up the article, it is essential to discuss some additional practices that will complement your email list management.

Keep Your Email as Personalized as Possible

While segmentation and contact tagging will help you identify small niches for better personalization, you need to write your email in a tone that sounds like a one-on-one correspondence rather than a bulk email. Converse in “we and you” instead of “the company and customers” and make sure you directly address the potential pain points of the target market. Keep the email body short so recipients don’t get bored. Also, there is no harm in using the decent informal language and vernacular to keep your mail a fun read if you are a B2E enterprise.

Let Subscribers Decide the Frequency

Instead of getting into the guessing game and continuously tweaking with your email marketing tool’s workflow, let recipients decide how many emails they would like to receive in a particular time window. This feature will also help you curate your email list for the best engagement and sales funnel operations.

Harness an Organic Email Lists with the Consent of Subscribers

All the above-discussed email management practices won’t work if you try to use them on lists bought by third parties. First, buying mailing lists can also land you in trouble with the CAN-SPAM Act. Secondly, recipients in those lists haven’t actively subscribed to your email. Therefore, the overwhelming majority of them will simply ignore, bounce off, or mark your address spam upon receiving your unsolicited emails.

We hope that the above discussion helps you with email list management in line with the requirements of modern time. If you have noticed, a robust email marketing and automation tool play a crucial role in implementing many of these measures. Therefore, if you haven’t upgraded your email marketing regimen with a relevant software application, it is about time to do it.

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