6 Tips for Email List Management
So you’ve got a great website, your ecommerce site is kicking goals and you’ve got frequent online enquiries bubbling away; you’re likely noticing your mailing list is starting to grow - hooray!
Before it gets too out of hand, it’s a great idea to put some processes in place to maintain your list, and get the best value out of the contacts who choose to share their data with you.
Why? It’s predicted that nearly 25% of your subscriber list is likely to churn each year. Meaning that almost a quarter of them will choose to unsubscribe. Our goal? Not only to stop list attrition, but also to generate an active and engaged email community.
Hopefully by now, you’ve read our other blog on how to grow your mail list, and you’re well under way with sustainable monthly growth. If so, excellent work, you’ve put in the hard yards and now it’s time to reap the benefits.
Now let’s discuss how to keep your contacts from unsubscribing.
1. Say Hi
It would be rude not to! This lovely person has just given you their personal details, and all you were planning to do was to ask them to buy things from you? The audacity.
A welcome email is a great opportunity for you to introduce your new subscribers to your brand. No, not the products you sell but really, your brand. Who you are, why you exist and how often your new friends can expect to hear from you.
Not only does this build brand affinity and establish some ground rules, it’s actually come to be expected. Your open rate on welcome emails should be sitting at around 50% … it’ll likely yield a good 50%+ more engagement than any other email you’ll send. Big tick. It’s also reported that 74% of your customers expect a welcome email when they sign up, AND, those who open welcome emails are 40% more likely to engage with more content from your brand in the next 6 months. Huge tick.
There’s also another benefit of a welcome email, in that it improves the deliverability of your contact list and is a great first step for list-cleanliness (more on that later).
2. How Frequent is too Frequent?
What’s the number one reason your contacts are likely to unsubscribe? You guessed it. You’re bugging them. How many times have you seen the same brand pop into your inbox in a week, or even a day, and rage clicked that unsubscribe button. We’ve all been there.
An opt-in to your mailing list is an opportunity to start a conversation with your customers, not an excuse for you to send an excessive amount of emails. I can’t tell you the magic number or frequency of emails for your unique business, but it is something that you can ask your contacts. This can be done during your welcome email series, but the trick here is that you have to comply with your contacts wishes. To do that requires setting up your database with frequency tags, and meticulously planning out your email calendar, so it’s not for the faint hearted.
Short of asking your subscribers when they’d like to hear from you, the other way to learn is by observation. If your unsubscribe rates are climbing and your mailing list is shrinking faster than it’s growing, it’s pretty clear that your people aren’t happy. It can be difficult to tell the exact reason why your customers are unsubscribing so the goal is to find the sweet spot.
Common-sense rules apply:
- If you’re emailing a lot and you’re getting a lot of unsubscribes, pull back.
- If you’re not emailing your customers regularly, and then you receive a high volume of unsubscribes when you do send, it might be because they forgot they ever signed up.
3. Spring Clean
Think of cleaning ups your mailing list as spring cleaning for your brand. But how and why should someone be doing it?
Think of how many times you might have signed up to a list and then changed emails in your life… We’re looking at you work-email-subscribers out there.
When cleaning your mail list you should be:
- Removing any duplicate email addresses
- Removing emails with typos
- Updating invalid emails
- Removing invalid emails
- Deleting contacts with whom your emails are hard bouncing, and
It sure does feel a little devastating to remove contacts that you’ve worked so hard to gain, but ultimately you’ll be improving your reporting stats, and reducing your bounce rates which hurt your sender reputation (meaning your emails become more likely to land in junk).
4. Re Engage or Remove Old Contacts
Before you unsubscribe your disengaged contacts, it’s worth giving them one final opportunity to re-engage with your brand. After all, distance makes the heart grow fonder, right?
Typically re-engagement tactics will be an invitation to encourage your customer to open and click on an email you send them. Most often, they involve an offer that might be automated after a period of no-engagement, or for your customers birthday or anniversary.
5. Never Buy Lists
This one is pretty straight forward (well, at least it should be!). Whilst it might seem like an excellent idea to grow your mailing list by sharing customers details with a friend, or buying lists from dodgy websites, the truth is that this practice will do more harm than good.
Secondly, you’ll find that your account suffers due to the volume of contacts who haven’t heard of your brand (or opted into your mailing list!) suddenly hearing from you. Whilst your audience number will be higher, you’ll also likely see an increase In bounce rate and unsubscribes, and a decrease in your open rates.
Just, don’t do it. Okay?
6. Data, Data, Data
You’ve got a website, an online store, maybe even a CRM but is it all talking?
If you’re treating your best customers the same as someone who has never bothered to open an email from you before, you’re missing out on a big opportunity. This is where database management, segmentation and list grouping all come into play.
Getting your contacts ordered is a really important step in maximising your email success. Within your single master list, you can have multiple segments, groups and active tags to help differentiate your purchasing insights, loyalty and more.
It might seem daunting to go to the effort of structuring your data, but in the long term it will save you time and help get the most out of your audience. What’s even better, is that if you’re using a mailing platform that’s linked to your CRM, you can actually set up tagging automations to do the hard work for you.
To be clear, here are a few examples to help you differentiate these three categories:
Segments: are pre-defined segmentation of your lists. You can incorporate groups and tags into your segments as they’re created from any information you have in your audience merge fields.
- Hasn’t opened any of the last 5 campaigns
- Contact rating
Groups: are an alternative to creating multiple lists within a segment. They’re a collection of your contacts, categorised by their interests of preferences. Groups can be created and configured by your customers by setting up a customer preference centre, or you can add them manually to a group.
- June Birthdays
- First time customer
- VIP Customer
Tags: are handy little pieces of data that you can customise according to your needs. These can be configured only by the account owners or through automations (as opposed to groups)
- Attended an in-store event
- Shopped a sale
- Abandoned cart success
- Redeemed x discount code
Hey presto, you’re done! And boy, are you on your way to becoming a mail master. If you’d like more help with your mailing lists or emails, you’re in luck - we’re well versed in the land of email and are even Mailchimp Partners. Get in touch and let’s chat.