Email List Cleaning Basics
First off, congratulations on having an email list! It’s one of the best marketing tools in human history. But before you get to sending, you’ve got to get scrubbing –otherwise your mailing efforts may fall flat.
Once you’ve obtained email addresses and mastered your unsubscribe procedures, there are a variety of other activities that you’ll need to grow and maintain a profitable mailing business. You had to earn your subscribers’ trust now you have to maintain it.
Handling Bounces and Bad E-mail Addresses
Regardless of how much you monitor your mailing lists, eventually your data will atrophy.
Users might close down their e-mail accounts, leave a job where an e-mail was created, or simply ignore an email account until at which point the inbox fills and can no longer accept messages. Sending to bad or invalid email accounts registers as a “bounce” (as in the e-mail which you attempted to send, bounced back as undelivered).
The more bounces you get, when you send, the more your sender reputation will be affected. Email service providers (ESPs) expect e-mail senders to rid their lists of bad addresses consistently. This is known as scrubbing or “pruning” the list (much like pruning your hedges). Black hat mailers will often have ridiculously high bounce rates. You do not need that kind of drama negatively impacting your sending reputation.
It’s crucial to scrub all of the bounced and outdated email addresses from your database.
In many instances, e-mail senders pre-define a threshold for the number of occasions an email address could bounce before it will be eliminated. So to keep a clean e-mail list, why not simply get rid of contacts as soon as they bounce one time? Well, on many occasions, just one bounce or perhaps a couple of bounces could be accounted for by user habits. For instance, a user with a very high volume e-mail account goes on vacation. That user’s e-mail in-box then fills up and, whenever you are attempting to forward your message, it bounces. If you get rid of that user after one bounce, you will never have the chance to get in touch with them again, even though they weren’t specifically annoyed by or sick of your email. They just hadn’t cleaned out their in-box in a while.
Another possibility is that, on the day you dispatched your e-mail, a subscriber’s ISP was experiencing technical difficulties causing inbound messages to be undeliverable while they rectified the situation. In that case, in the event you eliminated the email from your database after a single bounce, you’d be sacrificing your chance to communicate with the subscriber based upon a short lived technical malfunction.
To maintain a clean, happy subscriber list, it’s recommended that to allow 3 to 5 bounces, prior to eliminating an e-mail from your email marketing database. Of course with VoloMP you can define your own protocol for bounces. Super strict or loosey goosey –it’s up to you. Your IPs will be the ultimate judge.
Eradicating Inactive or Non-Engaged Users
Due to the fact that there’s no extra cost for delivering an email to a user, regardless of whether he or she opens the darn thing, some mailers make the mistake of just constantly sending to an entire e-mail list even though there are numerous users who have not opened an e-mail in several months. Whilst there’s no immediate financial loss related to doing this, you run the real risk of getting smacked down by your ESP (if they’re providing the IPs) or burning out your IPs, if you’re managing your own IP block. Abuse your IPs like this for any length of time and you will be lucky to land in the junk folder.
What’s the best method to protect against this? Simple. Reduce the number of times you e-mail a low-activity user.
The initial step to sustain a clean e-mail list is to figure out the things you consider to be “low activity.” Should you send one e-mail per week, then you definitely may think that somebody is an active client if they only open one email monthly. If you only send one e-mail a month, you might consider an individual to be an active user if they just open one e-mail every 90 days. The guideline should be based on your best judgment. After all, mailing is an art and a science.
Segmentation is also key to maintaining your uber clean e-mail list. Some folks on your list may simply prefer to keep you in their in-box as long as you don’t over do it. So, segmenting your list into different sending levels is away to keep those less interested in your mailings to stay on board with you rather than just unsubscribing all together.
And finally, to keep a clean e-mail list, make an effort to recognize which people might be about to hit the “unsubscribe” button because your email isn’t loading properly for them. Create a group e-mail to everyone on your low-usage list explaining that you’re carrying out routine e-mail maintenance. You’ve noticed that although they still receive your e-mails, they haven’t opened one in quite some time. You might be going to their bulk box or folder, or they might not like receiving such frequent e-mails.
If they are still really, super interested in what you have to offer, supply them with an email address or maybe a simple verification box or link to let them verify this fact and then return them to the principal list. If they ignore your heartfelt request, keep them on your supplementary list and just e-mail them in the course of crucial income or traffic situations.
Common sense goes a long way to keeping your mailing operations healthy. It’s easy to get lost in all the plate spinning required for strong deliverability and forget that, at the end of the day, it’s just email. You’ve got a little electronic message you’re trying to slip through tubes and wires across the Internet to real humans with needs and desires. Pay attention to them like you would a person right in front of you and you should find success.