A mailing list is a lot like a guest list for your wedding or birthday party.
You only want people who really matter to you to be on it. Because just like unwanted guests, unwanted or irrelevant recipients will simply eat up your resources while providing you with nothing back.
The benefits of having a clean list is immediate. Your deliverability is better, your interactions are higher, and the opt-outs are lower - all so you get the most out of your email campaigns and your business can keep growing.
List cleansing is a huge and ongoing task and it will vary for every email list. But there are some universal truths that everyone should know - here's 10 steps you need to do to get your list cleansing foundation set up.
Making the list and the next immediate steps
Sourcing your list
The most important step, and also the one where the most mistakes are made. Sourcing your list from the right channels will determine whether you spend a few minutes or an eternity cleaning your list. Make sure your list contains customers who most closely match your ideal customer description. Before you strategize your email marketing campaign, put in place a strategy for acquiring your lists. Many companies also have a led scoring system in place that rates the quality of leads when they are acquired. If you have the option, always opt for one.
If you have a multi-channel lead sourcing strategy in place, chances are that the complied final list will have some repetition. While everyone will suggest you delete the repeated addresses, here’s something to keep in mind. An email address that appears in multiple lists suggests the person is highly interested in that specific product category. While you will delete the repetition, make sure you rate these addresses as your top priority ones. If you have the list in the form of an excel, you can simply arrange the names in alphabetical order and see your repetitions manually.
Remove role accounts
A simple way to increase the quality of your lists is to ensure that the email addresses belong to individuals. The chances of action taken from email addresses such as info@ or support@ are very less. And even if the email is opened, the chances of turning that into a business opportunity are even lesser.
How to clean old/existing lists
If you have a list that you have already used before, you can still do the following to ensure that they are the cleanest you can make them. But before you get onto it, remember to define inactive accounts for you. Based on the type of product or service that you offer, it could range from someone who hasn’t opened a mail in the last 3 months or even someone who hasn’t in the last 12. Once that is defined, you are ready for the next steps.
Your existing lists need to be segmented too. Just like you cannot place your naughty cousin and your in-laws at the same table, similarly you cannot have all customers in one lists. Segment lists based on buying behavior, basket sizes and other parameters essential in your businesses. Better targeted mails will result in lower opt-out rates and your list will stay cleaner longer.
A host of third-party softwares check your mailing list right before mailing them to check for account activity and bounce rates. It is a good practice to opt for list scrubbing to increase your measured metrics such as delivery rates and open rates.
Use tags in emails
If you notice the bounce rate increasing, add tags on your emails. Adding a tag is not a complicated process and will help you monitor the activity on the addresses with higher bounce rates. If you see your emails bouncing more than 3 times, it is time to remove that email address from the list.
And on the topic of removing customers, do not just delete them because some effort was put in in getting them on your list. Try the following 3-mail trick before eventually delete any email addresses
The welcome email
In your welcome email, you should set expectations. The gold standard of email permission is double opt-in - so ask them to confirm if they wish to be subscribed to you. Mention that in absence of a confirmation, they shall be removed from the list.
Marotip: Read the 6 do's (and 6 don't's!) for the perfect welcome email.
The ‘we miss you’ email
Incentivize the customer to start interacting with your emails again. This can be done by luring them with simple discounts, coupons and contests
Find the reason
If the customer wishes to still opt-out, try to learn from them one last time. Ask them the reason for unsubscribing, and keep the reason in mind when you send emails again in the future. Try to address as many reason as you can.
If you think the customer was too valuable to be lost, win them back with a reactivation email campaign.