Email Thursday – Fall Cleaning: Keeping a Healthy Email List



We are nearing September, nine months into the year. This may be a good opportunity to clean your email list.

Today, I will describe why a clean email list is preferable, and I will present two practical and simple ways that you can clean your list for the upcoming holiday season.

Over the course of this year, you may have accumulated email addresses from various lead sources (purchases, conferences, email signups from your website and social media pages).

There is no doubt that some of those individuals are actively engaged and they love your marketing.

But you will also receive some email addresses of individuals who no longer want to receive your marketing.

Many marketers keep those individuals on your list, with the hope that they will wake up one morning and love your email messages.

However, the marketers neglect one irrefutable piece of logic: the greater the number of disinterested individuals, the greater the chance that they will hit the SPAM button!

And a high spam rate will bring a host of issues, including the possibility of being blacklisted.

In addition to spam complaints, unwelcome emails inevitably erode a brand’s reputation and damages the potential for future sales.

As each email message that is broadcast costs you money, you will also run a more cost-effective email program by communicating only to individuals who are receptive to your message.

So hopefully, you are convinced that more is not always better. In the case of email lists, more disinterested email contacts is not only passively unwelcome … It can be outright detrimental to your sales and marketing efforts.

So how do you maintain your list in a way that keeps your high-value, engaged prospects while removing your leads that show a lack of interest?

One great way to clean your list is to broadcast a double-opt in email. In my opinion, this is the safest way to clean your list.

After all, a double opt-in email is explicitly giving all your readers a clean and convenient way to exit your program.

What is a double opt-in email? At the core, it is an email that allows a reader to stay or unsubscribe from an email program.

An effective double opt-in email should contain a brief explanation of why we are conducting this campaign. A valid reason could be simply a check-in to see if the reader is still interested in receiving emails.

There should also be a very clear set of buttons to allow readers to easily chose either option – to stay or to go.

As a bonus tip, it’s always helpful to remind the reader why the email program is worth their time and attention – be it exclusive discounts, great information, or the ability to participate in a thriving online community.

A wise man once said, “A picture is worth a thousand words. An action is worth a thousand pictures.”

This saying is directly applicable to email campaigns.

You can tell a lot by a person’s actions. If a person has not opened one single email newsletter over the past year, it is safe to say that the person is currently disengaged. You mind as well be speaking to a rock or screaming at a brick wall.

You may not want to delete that person from your email list, but you may want to think twice about sending them regular email communications.

Many email service providers have the means to track the activities of the subscribers on the list, including which emails they have opened or converted on. On the other side of the coin, you will also be able to highlight the individuals who have not acted on your emails in a given period of time.

I included some possible criteria for defining disengaged individuals. I must stress that the criteria will vary widely from business to business, industry to industry.

For example, a low conversion rate could indicate that the subscriber is not interested. But in more complex B-B transactions, a low conversion rate could simply mean that the subscriber is in the middle of the sales cycle.

So the only rule of thumb that I will recommend unilaterally is to use your judgment and seriously consider the realities of your business before purging any subscriber data.