Email list hygiene refers to a process where you clean up your email list to remove unengaged and inactive subscribers. This practice ensures you don’t waste your time and money interacting with people who are not interested in your emails. It will result in a more engaged subscriber base and better sending domain reputation. You will save time and money, ultimately ending with a better email marketing ROI. Here are some tips for working on your email list hygiene.
Implement Email Validation
For starters, focus on your point of capture for the email address. If your sign-up forms accept old email addresses, (regardless of inaccuracies or formatting problems), you will ultimately find invalid contacts in your email lists.
Whether a visitor makes an unintentional error or intentionally provides a fake email address, it is recommended to take action to prevent invalid email addresses from being fed to your CRM. Consider the following:
- Double opt-in — After a visitor signs up, send a confirmation email. Once they confirm, add them to the list.
- Automatic email verification — Work on the optimization of sign-up forms. For instance, alert users with an error message if they provide an invalid email address.
- Ignore non-business addresses — Many companies don’t add free mails (Hotmail, Yahoo, Gmail, etc)to their CRM. This approach is often adopted in B2B marketing. For B2C mailers, consider rules to not mail military (.mil), government (.gov), or education (.edu) addresses for example.
- Use a third-party hygiene vendor to help eliminate addresses that are not deliverable, known complainers or spam traps.
Segment Your Active and Inactive Subscribers
Segment your list in terms of engagement. If you have delivery concerns, such as drops in clicks and open rates, segment your active and inactive subscribers. But, how do you separate these two types of subscribers? Define them with the following:
- Active subscribers — A subscriber who has clicked or opened at least one email in the last three months
- Inactive subscribers — A subscriber who has not clicked or opened at least one email in the last three months
Next, send emails to your groups separately and assess the open rates. After some time, you may decide whether the inactive group is worth your time. You might find it valuable to segment these groups among your sending domains. For example, use the domains with your best reputations and inbox delivery to mail your best users only.
Ramp Down Emails
After you segment the inactive subscribers, it may not be necessary to delete them. There are other approaches. For instance, you can mail them with different cadences and/or on other domains.. After taking them off your main list, you can continue to send emails occasionally. Also, put in extra effort in your offers and content to capture their attention.
By decreasing your email frequency rather than deleting subscribers, you can convert your inactive subscribers into active subscribers. For instance, if you were sending email twice a day to inactive subscribers, start sending one email per week. When you don’t receive any response for six months, send an email to ask whether they still want to get your emails. If they explicitly refuse or don’t reply at all, then it is time to delete them for good.