Maintaining a clean email list is an integral part of your email marketing strategy. In B2B, data decay rate can go up to 70% annually, and the factors like email bounce, unsubscribe increases your churn rate. And if you don’t have a clear strategy to add more subscribers to your list than your churn rate, your company will see a loss in revenue.
Email provider (Gmail, Yahoo) have become more aware of what their users want and don’t want in to see in their inbox. As a result, we have sophisticated filters to identify spam and save a user from viewing email from senders having a low reputation.
Even your email service provider (ESP) keeps a tack of everything whatever goes through their servers to check what kind of engagement certain sender is getting on their campaign.
There are many benefits to maintaining a clean email list. Regular cleaning of email list increases the engagement rates of your marketing campaigns. It helps in keeping the bounce rates to a minimum. On the other hand, if you fail to maintain a clean email list, your email campaign will have a higher bounce rate, more unsubscribe, spam complaint, and your sender reputation will decrease. These factors can seriously affect your ability to reach the inbox of your subscriber, meaning your email deliverability rate will decline and will not let you achieve your email campaign goals.
How does a clean email list help you?
Regularly cleaning your email list can increase the engagement rates of your email marketing campaigns, which enables companies to create deeper relationships with your subscribers. Building a highly targeted list of contacts enables you to focus more on the subscribers who have an in your product or service and build content that meets their need and expectation. This will result in increased conversion rates and you will have a highly engaged community of your subscriber, which will contribute to increased revenue and happy customers.
A clean email list can also help you reduce bounces form bad email addresses. Lower bounce rates on your email marketing campaigns increases your sender reputation as it signals to the internet service provider (ISP) that you are committed to respecting your recipient’s inbox and are not sending them spam emails. This will result in increased email deliverability rate for your entire subscriber list.
What are the risks of not cleaning your email list?
Some companies don’t clean their email list as they think that there is no additional cost to send an email to one more person, which is not correct.
When you use a dirty email list, it does cost you. Dirty email list decreases your sender reputation from email bounces and spam complaint. And over a period of time, this damage sums up and can negatively affect your capability to reach the inbox of your full subscriber list, that list also includes your best and most engaged customers.
How to identify if you have a clean email list:
There are many marketers who focus their resources and efforts on getting as many contacts as possible to sign up for their mailing list. Logically, this makes some sense as you are trying to reach as many contacts as possible.
But, in reality, it is not a good idea as you are thinking only in terms of your email list growth. After putting so much effort and resources, you wouldn’t want to have a subscriber list that is filled with people having no interest in your product, service, or solution. It means that you are wasting your efforts and even damaging your sender reputation by sending email marketing campaigns to these contacts who are clearly not interested in your product, service, or solution.
To ensure you are sending emails only to interested people who genuinely want to receive your emails. Keep a close eye on the following metrics;
Complaint rates: Unsubscribes and spam complaint are a clear indication that you may not have a clean email list. Higher unsubscribes and spam complaint indicates that your subscribers are not happy with your emails and most probably are not interested in what you are offering.
Engagement rates: If you are getting consistent poor open and poor click-through rates on your email marketing campaigns, this means that you have bad contacts on your email list.
Email Deliverability: Poor email deliverability could be a result of the bad email list as it means that you have significant hard bounce email addresses or you had low engagements rates with your subscribers in the previous campaigns that decreased your sender reputation.
If you are encountering any issue with the above-mentioned metrics, you should implement an email list cleaning service strategy to weed out subscribers who should not be on your email list.
So, apart from adding new subscribers to the list, put effort into cleaning your email list. There are some very simple yet effective strategies to clean an email list and maintain its health. These are;
Deep clean your email list:
If you have been doing email marketing for a while, or you inherited an email program in your company, chances are that you have a few outdated contacts on your email list. In order to reach your subscribers who are engaging with your email and maintain high deliverability, you need to implement deep cleaning your email list to make it up-to-date.
Age your list: If you are getting high bounces or spam complaint, then you should consider aging your email list by sign-up date. You can easily do this by exporting a .csv file format and then short the list by sign-up date chronologically then you can determine that the oldest subscribers on your email list are very likely to be disengaged.
Use a Permission Reminder: It appears as a small reminder message at the top or bottom of each email that describes why the recipient is receiving your emails and how they can they unsubscribe from your mailing list if they are no longer interested in receiving your emails. This small reminder can decrease your spam complaint and also ensure that only the subscribers who are interested in receiving your emails stay on your email list.
Remove role-based emails: Role-based email addresses are like “[email protected]” or “[email protected]”. Create a campaign to reach out to these subscribers to find out if you can replace these email addresses with email addresses having a specific name that can act as a point of contact.
Segment subscriber based on past engagements:
Not every one of your subscribers is going to engage with the same email campaign strategy. To ensure your email list stays clean, it is very critical to personalize your campaigns to each subscriber’s segment preferences. Your email service provider (ESP) lets you view information about the subscribers that are opening your email and clicking on your links. And you can also see the subscribers who are not showing any engagements. This data can be easily used in several ways to build strong relationships with your subscribers and a clear understanding of how you can optimize.
The best way to start is by segmenting your entire subscriber list by engagements. One segment for rewarding your actively engaged subscribers, and another segment to dig deeper into inactive subscribers that are showing no engagement.
Active subscribers: They are those subscribers who regularly open your email then engage with the information inside your email. Segmenting these subscribers will enable you to;
- Leverage their influence to bring interested people to your website or add them to your subscriber list by creating a referral email campaign.
- Reward them with exclusive offers, discount, exclusive content, giveaways, etc.
- Ask for their valuable feedback for your content and other aspects of your email to find out if they have any suggestion for improvement.
Inactive subscribers: These are those subscribers who rarely open your emails and almost never engages with the information inside like clicking a link or a call to action (CTA). Low engagements could be a result of several factors, and this segment is yet not a lost cause. So until they become a lost cause, you can still send them emails to;
- Ask for their feedback on why they are not engaging with your emails to develop a better understanding of how you can improve to engage them with your emails.
- You can test your new email marketing strategies on this segment of subscribers. This gives you a unique opportunity to test new and out of the box strategies to win them back.
Revive your stale email list:
If your email list has aged and decayed over time, then the best solution is to create an engaging opt-in email campaign that can act as a CTA and get them opt-in again. Keep in mind that your email should make it very clear that the subscriber who doesn’t respond will be removed from your mailing list.
Even though it may seem quite counterintuitive to remove subscribers to grow your email list, but it actually the greater goal of cleaning your email list to add only interested subscribers who like your content and are very likely engage and respond to your CTAs. This will improve email deliverability rate, ensuring your emails are received by more subscribers.
Create a re-engagement strategy:
Low engagements don’t always mean that your subscriber is not interested in your product or service; maybe they don’t like the content you have been sending them. But, before you create an email campaign for your subscribers that don’t usually open your emails or click your CTA, figure out what kind of content could be more appealing to them.
You can lure your unengaged subscriber to engage with your email using the right offer, like;
- Exclusive content
- A discount or a free gift
- A special reward
Maybe your subscribers like your content, but are facing email fatigue. Email fatigue is more common during the holidays when the inboxes get filled at a much faster rate than usual.
Create a strategy to re-engage with those subscribers on other channels or via email campaigns after a while. You can also include your social media links in your email to connect with subscribers who prefer to interact through social media channel or a different channel other than email. Further, you can offer your subscribers an easy way to pause email communications for a specified period of time and start to receive your emails again after the specified interval of time.
Remove hard bounces and consistent soft bounces:
Sending emails to your subscribers that just cannot receive email on their email address is one of the worst things that no marketers want to do. When an email fails to get delivered to the recipient’s email address, it is called a “bounce”.
Bounce can result from several reasons, and are categorized as two different types, which are “hard bounce” and “soft bounce”.
A hard bounce happens when an email is not delivered to the recipient’s email address as the email address is not valid. This could be a result of a simple typo, or it could mean that the recipient’s email address no longer exists. And you should remove any email addresses that result in a hard bounce to avoid hard bounces on your future email marketing campaigns.
Soft bounces occur when an email doesn’t get delivered to the recipient’s email address due to a temporary issue. This could be a result of a server issue or just a full inbox. If you are getting several soft bounces for a specific email address, it may be a good idea to just remove them from your subscriber list.
Remove generic email addresses:
Emails are supposed to provide useful information to their recipients. The more useful the information is, the more likely your subscribers will engage with your emails. Although, if your email list has generic email addresses on them like “[email protected]” or “[email protected]”, it means that you are not reaching real people. And sending email to these contacts is a lost cause as this type of email addresses are blocked by spam filters or it gets manually deleted by anyone that is monitoring the email address.
This simply means that they are not doing anything good for your company but are damaging the engagements of your email marketing campaigns. And just by removing these email addresses, you can focus more on providing value to real people on your email list. This results in better engagements as your emails are getting delivered to your subscribers.
If you are getting a lower rate of engagement rates from your subscribers, its quite hard to know if your subscriber just don’t care about receiving your emails, or they like you emails but are not motivated or compelled enough to take any further action. The easiest way to segment these subscribers is by asking them questions. You can kick start your email engagements rates by the following;
- Ask your subscribers to vote in your poll.
- Request feedback on something you are about to do or have done.
- Ask your subscribers to set their email communication preferences (like frequency of emails, interesting topics, etc).
- Ask questions within the unsubscribe option to know if they would prefer different content topics or a different frequency.
And when your engagements rates start to increase, further weed out subscriber that are not engaging with your emails.
Removing Inactive Subscribers:
Usually, when a subscriber does not show any engagement for a period of 3 three months, they can be considered as a non-engaging subscriber. Removing inactive subscribers from the list comes under the best practices and the latest trends among savvy marketers and it helps them to improve their email ROI.
But before you start removing in-active subscribers from your list, running a re-engagement campaign is a very good idea by asking your subscriber to change their email preferences or unsubscribe from your email list.
Easy unsubscribe option:
It is a harsh reality that many marketers still thinks that giving an easy unsubscribe option to their subscriber will put a damp in their overall effort. After all, they have worked so hard to add subscribers to their email list.
First of all, if you are providing value to your subscriber you don’t have anything to be scared of.
Even if you make the unsubscribe process complex, time-consuming, or even hide the unsubscribe link, you can’t make them stay. They can just mark your email as spam, which will do you more harm than letting them unsubscribe. When a subscriber marks you as spam, it is the strongest negative signal that will affect your email deliverability.
Clean up your email copy to avoid spam filters:
Reviving your sender reputation and email integrity is not easy once you have been flagged as a spammer. To steer clear from this problem, you need to follow the guidelines and best practices.
For instance, using words like free, buy, lowest price, etc., should be avoided as much as possible as these are trigger words for the spam filter. And even if you want to use these types of words in your email, include them in graphics like an image, or a gif. But be careful while using graphics as large graphics and attachments are also critical triggers for the spam filter.
But, what is a spam filter?
A spam filter is a program by internet service providers (ISPs) created against spammers. This program uses different criteria to filter out unwanted and unsolicited bulk email to prevent such emails from reaching their recipient’s email address.
Use double opt-in to add quality subscribers:
Double opt-in is a great way to add subscribers to your email list who actually want to receive emails from you.
With the help of automation, you can send them a confirmation email to confirm their subscription. So, apart from getting their accurate email address, you won’t get typos or inactive email address. This helps in maintaining the hygiene of your email list. Double opt-in also helps with regulations in various countries. A double opt-in process ensures that you are only adding quality subscribers to your email list that are interested in receiving an email from you. And at the same time, it helps to be general data protection regulation (GDPR) compliant.
In a double opt-in approach, when a subscriber enters their information on your website or a landing page, they receive a confirmation email. And the confirmation email has a link inside that a subscriber has to click in order to confirm their subscription. So, when a subscriber fails to click the link in the confirmation email, they don’t get added to the list.
There are many benefits of using a double opt-in, like;
Decreases hard bounce: When you use a double opt-in method, you can restrict subscribers from subscribing using a fake email address or the email address that doesn’t belong to them.
Increases engagement rates for future campaigns: Using a double opt-in method, you won’t get subscribers, who are half-heartedly interested to be on your subscriber list. Even though you will get fewer subscribers, but you will get quality subscribers who genuinely want to be on your subscriber list.
Increases future email deliverability: In a double opt-in method when a subscriber submits your sign-up form, they expect to receive a confirmation email from you; as a result, they will be looking for your email in their inbox. Even when the confirmation email ends up in their spam folder, they will be able to find it and then move it to their inbox. This will increase the deliverability rates of your future email marketing campaigns.
Hire a list cleaning service:
Email list cleaning is also known as email scrubbing is a great way to clean your email list and maintain its hygiene. Using list cleaning service is a very common practice among marketers, is a must for those who lack the time, resource, or the expertise to do on their own.
Some marketers believe that list cleaning services don’t do a good job; this belief is more common among the email service provider (ESP). We can’t speak for other list cleaning providers, but we have done a great job at it and made a lot of people happy with our list cleaning services.
Contact Infotanks Media to know more about how we can help you with your stale list and any other B2B data needs.