How to Grow and Maintain Your Email List [Twitter Chat Recap]
Although it’s such an important part of email marketing, building a healthy email list isn’t the simplest task. That’s why we decided to bring in the experts.
We recently teamed up with our friends at Kickbox to host a Twitter chat on growing and maintaining a healthy email list. Email experts from around the globe weighed in to offer their expertise on the do’s and don’ts of email lists, how to engage subscribers, and how the recent GDPR rollout has affected subscriber lists.
If you missed our #EOAchat, no worries! We’ve included some highlights below:
What do we mean when we talk about a “healthy” or clean email list?
- @jwrigley1: An email list with a very high number of deliverable email addresses.
- @kickbox: A clean email list is one that does NOT contain an excessive amount of unengaged subscribers, undeliverable, or low-quality email addresses – all of which can have a negative impact on your sender reputation & deliverability.
- @tracysestili: Healthy and clean to me means those who are opening or engaging with your email content.
Why are clean email lists important for email marketers?
- @SparkPost: Better overall engagement, open rates & better relationships/trust w/ ISPs.
- @MelonSugar: If you want your messages to reach the inbox – we all want that – it’s important to clean your email lists from time to time. Nothing will land you in the spam folder faster than sending to a stale list.
- @SyncMarketing: So many benefits to a clean list! Obv great deliverability which = better reputation = inbox placement and hopefully = engagement, which for eCommerce should = $ and ROI.
The recent GDPR rollout meant that marketers needed to make some changes to how they build email subscribers. What are these changes and why are they important?
- @kathpay: Have the mindset of being “transparent,” helpful and customer-centric. Everything will come naturally for you when implementing your GDPR forms.
- @Tonya_Delivers: Subscribers that are not engaged are not lost but can go into a re-engagement campaign to bring them back to life! Just remember that subscribers with no engagement after 9 to 12 months should be archived. So get them re-engaged before that by offering a reward or deal!
A lot of email marketers were complaining about the GDPR rollout, but is there a way we can look at this in a positive light?
- @lancehemby: Most marketers know the truth that purchased, scraped, or otherwise not utterly opted-in emails are hard to work with and consistently do not deliver results. It’s a good idea to be aligned with GDPR in many ways!
- @idoliov: I suspect some still do it because 1) inexperience and they want the easy button to grow their list 2) they are still measured on the size and growth of their list vs. quality of that list. Need to get KPIs aligned with best practices
- @ysilver: If they are complaining, ask why it’s having such an impact. If you already had permission to be emailing, your list was working and you’re not being shady, you should be safe.
- @OmNomAGonz: @kickbox DPO, @ddayman, wrote a great article on why the GDPR is good thing for both business and consumers: https://goo.gl/zvRExc tl;dr everyone is held to a higher standard.
What are ways marketers can build a healthy and engaged email list?
- @MelonSugar: Know your customers. Create content your customers want, need or find valuable and personalize your content around their interests and behaviors. Understanding your customer is a big part of building an engaged list. Oh, and #DontBeBoring!
- @SyncMarketing: Capture email address right from the start – lightboxes on websites, sign-up on apps (don’t default to the Google or Facebook sign-ins), trade value for data – give to receive! Then welcome and onboard. (C’mon we know this by now, right?)
- @omgitsonlyalex: Top tip for building lists: Put the credit card down
- @tracysestili: Building a subscription/preferences center is a great way to do this. It ensures that the email recipient is getting the content that they most want to receive and not what you want to blast to them.
What should marketers avoid when building email lists?
- @jwrigley1: Not to beat a dead horse, but don’t buy Email lists, don’t scrape Email lists.
- @lancehemby: Just don’t do it. Literally don’t ever do it and don’t let anyone you know do it! Friends don’t let friends violate applicable privacy regulations and email industry best practices. <3
- @OmNomAGonz: It bears emphasizing that any browser extension, service, script, or other method that enables you to collect an email address without the recipient’s knowledge and consent (paid for or not) is bad.
- And exporting your LinkedIn connections (and similar practices) doesn’t make it opt-in compliant either. We see this a lot! Context and consent matters
How do you recommend marketers clean their email lists? What are the right steps to take? How often?
- @kickbox: Here’s a good rule of thumb: if your list is primarily #B2B verify your list every 3 months, if it contains mostly #B2C email addresses verify every 6 months. Or take a seasonal approach & verify your email lists ahead of big holiday campaigns.
- @jwrigley1: Step 1 → Verify legacy email list data. Step 2 → use the @kickbox API to verify new email address data at the point of capture to ensure your data is verified from the get go. Nice one/two punch!
- @colleenmdc: Timing is everything. Be sure you plan when you cleanse in order to have your list in optimum health for peak seasons or key events.
What are some of the most creative/unique ways you’ve seen marketers build email lists (good and bad)?
- @EmailonAcid: We love how @supermailquest built a great landing page before launching their awesome interactive email. It featured a neat playable scene and helped get people excited. supermailquest.co.uk.
- @MelonSugar: I love to see brands get creative w/ list building. I’m not a huge fan of gated content because so many brands overuse this tactic and/or they don’t offer anything of real value. But if what’s being gated is actually valuable it’s a great way to build your list.
Once we’ve built a healthy and robust email list, what are some tips for keeping subscribers engaged from the start?
- @Tonya_Delivers: Welcome Campaigns are important! Letting them know what to expect from you! A great way to start a long-lasting relationship with your subscriber!
- @jwrigley1: It’s simple but so important. Develop a frequency your customer can come to expect. Remember, subject line gets read first and use it as a short sentence value prop. Even if the email isn’t opened your message makes an impression.
- @tracysestili: Personalize the email beyond name with relevant content. If you have subscription/preference center, let them know. Also, set up triggered or transactional email streams to keep them engaged. They have a higher engagement rate overall.
Want to read through the full chat? Just search the #EOAchat hashtag on Twitter.
Do you want engaged subscribers? Test your email first!
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Author: Melanie Graham
Born and raised in New England, Melanie has a background as a writer, editor and journalist. After roaming the U.S. as an expert vagabond, she’s landed in Denver as Email on Acid’s content manager. She’s a music nerd at heart who loves spending time at the piano.