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Email Marketing: How To Clean Up Your Email List

how to clean up your email list

Those first few warm days of spring.

It feels so good to open up the windows and let in some of that fresh spring air!

Spring is a time of transition, and our focus quickly switches to spring-like activities such as removing storm windows, putting away the snow shovels, and changing out the closets from winter clothes to our favorite summer outfits.

It’s also a good time to perform some routine maintainance on our business..specifically our email lists.

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Many business owners run campaigns over the holiday seasons, and then again late winter during the tax return season, generating new leads, customers, and expanding our subscriber base. As we transition from those winter campaigns into spring, it’s the perfect time to examine the overall health of our mailing list.

Why Cleaning Your Email List Is Important:

Doing a regular assessment of your email list is important for a number of reasons:

1. Financial Responsibility – Most email management services such as Aweber or GetResponse charge monthly fees based on the number of subscribers they are managing for you. For example, 0-500 subscribers might be one price, 500-1000 slightly higher, so on and so forth. We don’t want to be paying for subscribers that do not engage with our content or provided a fake, or bounced, email address.

2. Your Analytics – Email management services usually provide excellent analytics. They show you various metrics such as open rates and click-through rates. As a marketer trying to provide constant value to your customers, we should always be trying to improve our open rates and engagement rates. It is important that those numbers be accurate! Having a bunch of fake, bounced, or inactive subscribers will skew those numbers..often making them look worse than what they actually are.

How To Clean Up Your Email List

There are a few ways you can clean up your email list:

1. Manually – I use GetResponse as my email marketing service, but I have used Aweber and a few others in the past. Most services give you access to your list of subscribers and present them to you in list form with information such as when they signed up, how they subscribed, which campaign(s) they are subscribed to, and how active they are. GetResponse in particular gives me the ability to sort my list by different criteria, including bounced or inactive email addresses. Once sorted, I scroll through the list looking for bounced or inactive subscribers and manually remove them from my list. Keep in mind there could be many reasons why email addresses bounce, or subscribers become disengaged. If you are not sure about a certain address, send them an email directly using the method outlined in step 2 below.

Note: GetResponse has a feature built-in called Purge, which periodically monitors your subscriber list and removes junk email addresses automatically.

2. Ask Your Subscribers To Unsubscribe – This seems like it would be a negative thing, but it is actually one of my favorite methods. Basically you send an email out to your list asking them what they think about your content, how you can make it more appealing to them, what they struggle with, and whether or not they get value from your emails. Close the email with a simple call to action which states that if they don’t find value in your content, simply unsubscribe using the provided link. Make it clear that you valued them as a subscriber, but if they choose to remove themselves there are no hard feelings. Make it amicable, don’t burn the bridges!

This method does many different things. First and foremost, it instigates engagement from subscribers who might not have engaged with you before. Giving them the opportunity to provide feedback and start a conversation with you is a great way to “wake up” an inactive list.

Second, it serves as a reminder to your subscribers that they do have the option to unsubscribe from your list if they don’t find the content relevant. Many people just don’t stop and take the time to unsubscribe, even though they never read the emails. This simple reminder can also lead to re-engagement, or they might just take you up on your offer and unsubscribe..in which case you are just one step closer to a healthy, engaged email list.

3. Ask For Help – If you can’t find a way to manually remove subscribers from your list, contact the support team for your provider and tell them you would like to purge your list. They most likely have the ability to go into your database and remove all the junk email addresses and inactive subscribers.

Benefits Of A Healthy List

The overall goal of any good email marketing campaign is not just to make the sale..it is to establish a line of communication and create relationships with your subscribers. You want people on your email list who value your content and want to get updates from you.

I would rather have a list of 500 highly engaged subscribers than a list of thousands who never engage with my content.

Doing regular maintainance of your email list will help increase your open rates, your click-through rates, and ultimately your sales by having a list of targeted and engaged subscribers.

As Always,

To YOUR Success!

Matthew McAlpine

If your are looking for a email management service, check out my resources page for more information on both GetResponse and Aweber services.

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