‘List hygiene’ is one of those fancy shmancy digital marketing words that I loathe. Someone once asked me “Like do you implement effective list hygiene strategies, bra?” Speak English man! Why is it important to remove inaccurate or disengaged records from your email marketing list? Now that is a real question. If you have a list, that you email into regularly, then this is actually a question you need answered. Here are 3 simple things you should do to keep your email marketing list squeaky clean, and why thinking about a high school crush prompted me to write this post.
- Remove emails that bounce
In layman’s terms an “email bounce” is an email that is returned to the sender because it cannot be delivered. The one server says to the other server, this guy ain’t here (hard bounce) or this guy ain’t here right now (soft bounce). The latter could mean that the mailbox is full, or the recipient’s email server is down/offline or even that the email is just too big to be delivered.
So why do you need to remove email addresses that bounce back, like a tennis ball off a practice wall?
The obvious reason is that the recipient isn’t receiving the message so you are wasting money sending them a mail in the first place. You wouldn’t drop off a flyer into a post box at an vacant house, would you?
The less obvious reason is because that “bouncy email” gets flagged by ISPs and that ultimately hurts your overall email deliverability rate. If too much email bounces then ISPs figure it has to be SPAM, because who would send large volumes of mail to people who don’t exist – Only SPAMMERS. And anything that looks like SPAM is treated with disdain and punished severely.
Hard bounces should be removed from your email list immediately and soft bounces should be given a few chances and then ultimately removed. If you are sending mail, you are probably using a software programme to deliver your email messages and most of them nowadays have this bounce removal functionality built into the offering.
2. Unsubscribe people who don’t want to receive your email
If you send people email that they don’t want, they are going to get the moer in! It’s a no brainer. Allowing someone to unsubscribe from your email marketing communication is not only the right thing to do, but a legal requirement. And it stands to reason that it makes no sense having someone on your email marketing list who doesn’t actually want to receive your communication.
Plus complaints lead to more bad marks against your name, which again leads to your server reps being damaged.
Make sure you have a visible ‘unsubscribe’ link in your email communication and if someone clicks to unsubscribe, make sure that they are actually removed. Otherwise peeps get double the moer in.
3. Remove people that don’t engage with your email communication
I’m reminded of a chick I had a crush on in high school. I was mad about this bird…But no matter how many advances I made, I just wasn’t getting any love back (not even a bloody second glance). At some stage I had to give up the good fight, cut my losses, pick my crushed ego up off the floor and move on. She just wasn’t into me. Same could be said for people on your email data base, who don’t open or click on your correspondence. If they aren’t engaged in what you have to say or sell, then it’s time to purge your email list and perhaps move the “cold records” into a new list, with a new strategy, to awaken them from their slumber.
It’s the old 80/2o rule – 80% of the effects come from 20% of the causes. If you look closely enough, you will probably find that most of your engaged database are actually the same people over and over again. Separate them from the rest of the people, who aren’t responding to your communication and work out why the others have fallen asleep.
So, just to recap:
- Remove dodgy email records from your base
- Allow people to opt out (you don’t need the moaning and groaning)
- Find your engaged database and remove the dead wood.
What you will be left with is this – clean email, sent to people who want to get it and actually engage with it.
Until next time.