This is Part Two of a three-part series dedicated to helping email marketers make the best of their campaigns through proper list management and hygiene.

Part 2: How to keep your list/s clean

I wish I could give you a magic silver bullet that would resolve list issues automatically, but the reality is… there isn’t one!  Believe it or not, there are many simple best practices and list maintenance techniques that can help whip your list into shape.  Here are some basics…

Lose the dead weight

The first technique involves some investigation work which will significantly reduce your list.  Here is a very fundamental example of how this works:

  1. Identify people who haven’t open or clicked (engaged) your messages
  2. Send non-engaged subscribers (nonopens or clicks) a campaign to let them know your emails will go away unless they re-confirm their subscription.
  3. Remove the remaining subscribers who did not re-confirm.
  4. Make sure you do this every 6 months to ensure your list stays updated.

While this step may seem scary, keep in mind that people who do not engage your messages can prevent you from reaching interested subscribers and cost you money.   Don’t be misled …its quality over quantity.  A smaller list with a 30% open rate is a lot more engaged than 5% on a larger one.

Still not sure this is the key to success?  Find out how one of mobilestorm’s clients increased sales by cutting their list.

Strengthen the sign up process and manage expectations

As previously mentioned, a poor sign up process can lead to delivery issues.  Therefore make sure you set expectations and solidify the relationship with your subscriber as early as possible by doing the following:

  1. Use a confirmed/double opt-in process.
  2. Let people know exactly what they will be getting and how often.
  3. If the sign-up is Online, provide preferences of frequency and examples of content.
  4. Send a welcome message and thank them for their subscription within 24hrs of sign up. (Timing is even more crucial for offline sign ups.)

Following these steps can significantly decrease complaints, avoid spam traps and reduce the volume of invalid email addresses.

Avoid purchased and shared lists

I can’t stress this one enough.  Think easy come, easy go!  Gathering addresses of people who did not sign up to receive YOUR emails can result in high complaints, unsubscribes, spam traps and invalid addresses (not to mention it’s illegal in many countries outside of the US).  Why?  Because they didn’t ask for it!

Here are some other points to consider:

  1. In most situations, anywhere from 80-90% of email addresses on a rented or purchased list are old and invalid.
  2. You can never be 100% sure of how or where every email address on a shared list was collected.  As a result, your brand and reputation is at the mercy of the data source.

When you think about it, it’s not very cost effective in the long run.  Find out more information on how purchased lists can harm your delivery here.

As mentioned, there is no secret sauce or magic trick to keep your list clean.  Simply implementing these basics will work each and every time.

If you’re still asking yourself….what are the real benefits?  Is this really worth the effort and time?

Tune in next time as we examine the benefits of keeping your list clean.

Until next time,

Keep it clean and take control of your delivery!