When you’re working on building your list with quality leads and subscribers, you want to make sure they’re staying engaged and regularly opening your emails. The best way to ensure that your email contacts are relevant to your business is to utilize email list cleaning strategies.
We’ve put together six effective list cleaning strategies below to help you keep your list filled with only the most engaged subscribers.
What is Email List Cleaning?
First, let’s cover the basics. What even is email list cleaning?
In layman’s terms, email list cleaning is the process of regularly going through your email list contacts to ensure that you’re only sending emails to interested and engaged audience members.
This often includes removing outdated subscribers who no longer exist, users who haven’t opened emails in awhile and irrelevant contacts who simply aren’t going to buy from your business.
Why is Email List Cleaning Important?
A large email list is simply a vanity metric if those subscribers aren’t actually opening, reading and taking action in your emails. It’s better to have a smaller list of fully engaged subscribers than a large list of people who don’t care about your brand.
You also don’t want to send emails to old accounts and cause any bounce issues, or get spam complaints from people who don’t even remember subscribing.
This is why it’s a good idea to regularly update your email list – you’ll improve your open rate and your click-through rate, seeing metrics that actually matter to your bottom line.
Plus, most email marketing platforms require you to pay per subscriber. Why pay to send emails to people who aren’t paying you?
How Often Should You Clean Your Email List?
You might be wondering how often you need to be putting these email list cleaning into play. Luckily, this isn’t something you typically need to take care of each month.
While it does vary depending on your list size, industry and target audience, you’ll likely want to go through and clean up your list every six months or so.
A good rule of thumb is simply to pay attention to your email stats. It might be time to do a good scrub of your email list if you start to see analytics like your open/click rates and email deliverability drop.
Effective Email List Cleaning Strategies
Now let’s dive into the real reason you’re here – learning about these hyper effective email list cleaning strategies that can help improve your email stats and increase subscriber engagement.
1. Do a deep dive through your email list.
The very first thing you need to do is take a good look at your email list and bulk remove subscribers based on certain criteria. You can use filters in your email marketing software or handle this manually if you have a smaller list.
Plus, you can always use tools to import CSV into Google Sheets and make the whole process easier to manage.
The criteria we recommend checking out includes the following.
Remove duplicate emails.
You don’t want duplicate emails to take up multiple spaces in your email marketing provider, costing you more money, so it’s smart to start by removing any duplicates you find in your system.
Check for obvious email typos.
If gmail is spelled “gamil,” you can probably safely assume what the real email address is and delete or edit it in your system.
Be on the lookout for similar typos that you can tell lead to incorrect or fake email addresses and remove those from your list to help boost open rates and deliverability. You can also use email verification to check if an email is valid or not.
Delete bounced emails.
Check which emails have regularly had your newsletters bounce and remove all of those from your system. If they’re not receiving your content, they don’t need to be on your list.
Get rid of role accounts.
When we say role accounts, we mean the ones that begin with something like team@, contact@, admin@, info@, etc.
These likely aren’t going to a person’s actual inbox, and if they are, they’re not going to a person who’s interested. Many people input these email addresses as a placeholder to download lead magnets, so it’s a good idea to just remove them.
2. Send a re-engagement campaign.
Maybe your audience is just getting a bit of email fatigue, and they need the right perk to reel them back in again. By sending out a discount, free trial offer, exclusive content or something similar, you might be able to grab their attention and get them re-engaged with your brand.
All you need to do is create a segment of your list based on the last time a subscriber has opened one of your emails and ensure your subject line is as eye-catching as possible.
Using their name, including sad face emoji or sending subject lines like, “We miss you!” are all great tactics to try. You have to see the power of a targeted email campaign like this to really believe it, but it can work wonders for re-engagement.
And if you’re tracking their behavior and still not seeing some of your subscribers take the bait, it’s time to just remove them from your email list and move on.
3. Ask questions.
Another great way to work to re-engage subscribers is by sending engaging, personalized content that would help to engage and entice interested audience members.
Many subscribers might still be interested in your brand and plan to buy eventually, but are overwhelmed by the emails they receive and need more personalized content to grab their eye and get them to open your emails.
There’s a variety of different types of emails you could send to really pull subscribers in, like a poll, a “click this button if” option, asking for feedback, an AMA, giving your audience communication options and more.
Make sure that your email content is always top-notch and extremely relevant to your audience so that subscribers who do want to become or remain customers will regularly open your correspondence.
Understanding how to send emails that make your audience take action is key. If you lose audience attention immediately upon entering their inbox, your strategy isn’t working.
4. Send another opt-in.
If you haven’t touched your list in awhile, or if you’ve segmented out a list of subscribers who haven’t opened your emails in months, it’s a good idea to send out an email requesting another opt-in.
This helps ensure you don’t continue sending content to people who absolutely aren’t interested or who don’t remember subscribing and could potentially mark your emails as spam, giving them the option to immediately opt out of receiving future emails and content from your brand.
Anyone who truly wants to stay subscribed will be happy to click to opt in for your list again, bringing your business back to the front of their mind, and hopefully re-engaging them.
You can also pay attention to your existing opt-ins and landing pages to ensure you remove any with low quality traffic and new leads coming in. This also helps warm up old leads and get them re-engaged.
5. Create multiple newsletters.
Give your audience the option to choose the types of content they want to see, especially if your business covers multiple facets.
You can do this by creating landing pages based on different segments, taking advantage of chatbots or giving users the ability to select the type of newsletter they’d like to receive in your initial welcome email.
Some brands that take this approach section out their newsletters based on the different topics they cover, while others will offer a daily digest, weekly newsletter or even monthly update, based on how often they want to hear from your brand.
Many ecommerce email strategies do this to perfectly segment out their email content and it’s a great way to keep your audience happy and engaged.
Plus, offering more landing pages can help to boost your SEO and make link building even easier. So, win-win.
6. Take advantage of email marketing automation.
Want to stay up-to-date on your email list cleaning without having to worry about these more manual strategies? You can easily do so by utilizing your email marketing automation software.
Set rules on your subscribers based on their level of inactivity and create trigger-based emails or rules that will help you regularly clean out your email list and remove inactive subscribers without ever having to lift a finger.
This is a great way to send re-engagement campaigns, opt-in emails to inactive subscribers or even just to remove subscribers who haven’t responded to either campaign.
All you need to do is create an automation campaign based on a specific trigger one time, and then each time you have a subscriber meet the conditions, your software does the rest.
Email automation can sometimes seem overwhelming, but this beginner’s guide should help you feel ready to start setting up some automated campaigns.
Start Cleaning Your Email List
Start utilizing these six strategies for cleaning your email list and ensuring your subscribers stay engaged and interested in your content. Watch your open and click rates improve, as well as your email deliverability.