Do you wake up each morning to an inbox full of newsletters or promotional offers? If so, you’re part of an email list, a comprehensive database of names and email addresses that companies use to distribute online marketing materials to their audience (you!). How a company keeps track of and uses that contact information is known as email list management.
This management process often involves growing your database by encouraging your customers to opt-in to promotional emails, eliminating addresses that bounce frequently or are inactive, and segmenting contacts for better targeting and personalization.
In other words, it’s one thing to simply gather email addresses. It’s another thing entirely to maintain and optimize that list of email addresses to ensure you’re getting the right content to the right people.
Email List Hygiene
A well-maintained email list can be the difference between ending up in front of your customers or going to the junk folder. Quality is more important than quantity here. It’s better to have a smaller list of subscribers who will actually open and click your emails than a giant list of inactive contacts.
Email list hygiene is key to making sure the email addresses you have are the right ones. Here are three best practices to keep in mind when optimizing your list:
Check email validity: As soon as you receive a new signup for your email list, take the time to check the validity of the email. This can be done manually or through an automated double opt-in process that asks customers to confirm their subscription and to answer a few short questions about their preferences. By checking the validity of email addresses as soon as you receive them, your deliverability rate will improve.
Regularly eliminate inactive addresses: When leads and customers stop opening or clicking your email, that email address becomes inactive, negatively affecting your engagement rate. By regularly eliminating inactive addresses from your email list, whether those individuals have been inactive for three, 10, or 15 sends, you’ll maintain a much healthier and realistic engagement rate.
Segment your contacts: Segmenting your email list allows you to target the right people with the content they want to consume. Using the information you collect from the preferences questionnaire on your double opt-in, for example, you can segment your list by age, interest, location, etc. and use that information to create highly personalized campaigns.
How to Grow My Email List
Email list management is about weeding out inactive contacts as well as generating new, engaged signups. However, that is easier said than done. You don’t want to grow your email list with unqualified leads, just to turn around and delete them from your database due to inactivity.
Prominently feature your signup form: Include your email signup form on high-trafficked areas, like the homepage, a popular landing page, a viral blog post, or in the bio of your social media profile. If you have a physical storefront, set up a QR code by doors or at checkout that leads to the email opt-in site. This will capture customers who have already shown an interest in your brand!
Offer an incentive: Give before you get. Offer a lead magnet, like an Ebook or webinar, in exchange for email addresses.
Share on social: Consider sharing a portion of a newsletter on your social media channels. This allows customers to see what kind of content you create before committing to signing up. When they do sign up, you know they’ll truly be interested in what you’re offering.
Make it simple: Opt-in forms should be short and simple. Customers don’t want to invest time filling out an extensive survey, so limit your segmentation questions to four or less. A good rule of thumb: your entire signup form should fit on a single mobile phone screen.
When growing your email list, it’s easy to get hung up on numbers. You may want to reach a certain number of subscribers or bring in 100 new email addresses each month. Don’t forget that the size of your database is a vanity metric. It doesn’t tell you anything about how engaged your leads and customers are or what kind of content they prefer to receive.
Change your mindset and focus on the quality of your email database. Prioritize engagement and personalization over numbers and you’ll unlock the true potential of email marketing.