6 Ways to Manage Your Email List Like a Pro

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Savvy entrepreneurs recognize the enduring power of email marketing. With an ROI of up to $45 for every dollar spent, it helps businesses boost both customer loyalty and sales. But simply sending emails isn’t enough. Companies seeing a high email ROI have one thing in common: a carefully crafted and maintained list.

Because, while investing in email list growth is smart, to be sure, adding more contacts to a database is just the beginning. You also have to nurture, maintain and prune the community you’ve gathered.

For outreaches to persuade and convert, they have to arrive where your subscribers can see them. Getting in the habit of managing your list is the first step to avoiding the spam folder and reliably landing in inboxes. Keeping yours healthy also influences your sender reputation, which is a score every email sender develops over time.

A few factors that affect your reputation:

• Too many bounces: Inbox providers see this as an indicator of spam, as spammers tend to send to as many addresses as possible, even invalid ones. A bounce rate of 2% puts your emails at risk of going to spam.

• Spam complaints: Email providers take this type of user feedback seriously. If your content bothers people, it belongs in the junk folder. A complaint rate higher than 0.1% is risky.

• Overall engagement rates: Poor open and click rates show that an audience has little interest, and can be reason enough for emails to start missing the inbox.

Clearly then, managing your list the right way will help boost your reputation with email providers. Here’s how to do that, and so see consistent ROI from newsletters and campaigns.

Related: How to Grow an Email List You Can Monetize

1. Remove risky data religiously

With bounces counting so much toward sender reputation, you must ensure sends are going to valid addresses. On average, at least 23% of email lists become invalid/ineffective with each passing year, so removing such contacts is a must. A capable verification service will weed out invalid and risky addresses and also help you comply with basic deliverability rules.

2. Eliminate invalid and/or fake data

Verifying your email list every quarter allows you to prune data that has decayed, and helps avoid gathering yet more of poor-quality. To keep fake and invalid sign-ups at bay, make sure each subscriber confirms that they want to receive from you (consider using double opt-in — requiring each person to click a subscription confirmation link). It’s also good to protect sign-up forms with a real-time email verifier, which will reject misspelled and fake addresses and so prevent them from spoiling your database.

Related: 4 Ways to Stop Your Emails From Going to Spam

3. Say goodbye to unengaged prospects

It’s hard to part with subscribers you’ve worked so hard to earn, but if they don’t open your emails for more than six months, they must go. Some companies are even more drastic about pruning unengaged contacts and do it every three months. Whatever your approach, analyze metrics regularly and filter out dormant subscribers at least twice a year. Unopened emails affect your reputation and email marketing ROI.

4. Keep spam reports low

Paying attention to spam reports has always been important, but ever since Google and Yahoo enforced new sending guidelines, maintaining a low complaint rate is an absolute must. Email providers know that even legitimate senders can get spam reports, but rethink your strategy if you get more than one complaint per 1,000 emails. Also, never again email a subscriber who has reported you.

Related: How to avoid email spam complaints

5. Organize subscribers into segments

Are you sending the same message to an entire email list? That may work if you have a small business and only communicate general offers, but if your company is growing and you want to take your marketing to the next level, segment your list based on demographics and purchase behaviors. 57% percent of marketers attest that personalization helps them achieve better email engagement.

6. Monitor and analyze metrics

Measuring your results regularly is a way of boosting any campaign’s chance of success. Which emails perform best? Your subscribers’ reactions will tell you. Aside from open rates, keep a close eye on click-through metrics to learn what offers and calls-to-action engage. Also, if any of your emails get a high unsubscribe rate, try to find the cause in order to better retain an audience. And, though often overlooked, reply rates likewise play a positive role in email deliverability.

In all approaches, make an effort to understand what type of content prompts people to write you back, and double down on that positivity!

Related: 5 Simple Tweaks for Better Email Deliverability

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