Email lists of clients, potential clients, donors, or other contacts are important to a business or organization. The higher the number on an organization’s email campaign list, the more it feels like they are meeting goals and reaching their audience. But cleaning out your email list on a regular basis is important, too.
Cleaning out your email list periodically is a good idea. Do you know why?
One of the most important effects of cleaning out your email list is improving email deliverability.
People who aren’t interested any longer or don’t have time to read your emails may simply move your emails to the trash, to their junk mail folder, or to join their 34,832 other unread messages in their inbox. If users get tired of seeing your emails, some may report you as spam rather than unsubscribing. Furthermore, if email providers like Yahoo or Gmail see that most of the emails you send to their users don’t get opened, they may start marking your emails as spam or reject your emails altogether. This could cause issues with your mailing program or even harm your domain’s reputation. It’s better to pre-emptively remove the contacts who don’t want to hear from you anymore.
Clean out your email list to ensure your campaigns are effective.
As far as your statistics, subscribers who don’t engage make your email campaign show lower open rates and click rates than if you only have engaged users on your list. Yes, you’re sending out more emails, but that doesn’t translate to an effective campaign. You can experiment with sending on different days of the week, different times of day, or using more enticing subject lines to try to increase subscriber engagement.
Good list hygiene is good for GDPR.
Under the European General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), organizations must be able to justify why they are holding onto personal information like emails. It becomes harder to justify retaining a subscriber’s email address the longer they go without opening any of your emails. Make sure it’s easy for users to unsubscribe from your list should they choose to to avoid any complications related to data privacy.
How can you avoid removing subscribers who do want to stay on the list?
Some people on your list may be interested but just not have time to open your emails at the moment. They might be interested in hearing about deals you’re offering, but they aren’t in purchasing mode at the moment. In that case, you don’t want to remove these people from your list.
Pre-empt the issue by providing options.
When users are opting in to your list, give them interest and frequency options. Today, it’s considered good practice to be more upfront and transparent with opt-ins. Asking for more details right as the user subscribes used to hurt form conversions, but today it’s better to ask for more specific information.
First name (to personalize to field), email
- Free tools
- Blog Posts
Send me emails:
- Once a week
- Once a month
- Once a quarter
Your list should also have an e-mail preferences page the subscriber can visit and update any time. This type of page is often displayed when the user clicks the unsubscribe link, so the visitor has the choice of reducing frequency or removing themselves from certain email topics rather than unsubscribing altogether.
What else can I do to get subscribers to re-engage with my list?
As a last resort, you can consider sending a “last chance” email campaign. This type of email is sent ONLY to subscribers who haven’t engaged at all in a certain amount of time – not your entire list. A campaign like this requires the subscriber to take action to stay on the list. Those who are interested in hearing from you, even when they don’t read every email, are likely to take action when they see a subject line letting them know action is required. The subscriber’s renewed engagement with your mailing list by clicking on a confirmation link reconfirms that you still have their consent to email them and saves you from removing these users from the list unnecessarily.
If you want to learn more about cleaning out your email list, listen to this podcast at WP Gears, or read the transcript.
Infusionsoft also has a good explanation of email list hygiene.