Spring Cleaning Pt. 2

Spring Cleaning Part 2: Maintaining Your Email List


Once you have a solid email list of subscribers (developed through the techniques we describe in Spring Cleaning Part 1), it’s important to maintain it. According to Marketing Sherpa, a corporate email list has an average annual decay of 25%. People change email addresses, move on to new jobs, etc., so it is critical to practice proper list maintenance by purging your list of dormant and dead addresses.

By saying goodbye to old addresses on your email list, you’ll improve your metrics and, in turn, your sender reputation and inbox placement. Read on to discover how to nurture your list for optimal deliverability and marketing success.

Why a clean list is important

Internet service providers (ISPs) are becoming more reliant on engagement metrics to detect spam. Engagement metrics are defined by how your subscribers interact with your email like opening it and clicking on links. Mailup just wrote a great article on sender reputation, which broke down the seven signals of email engagement:

7 signs of email engagement

If your emails are getting opened, replied to, added to address books, etc., you’re in the clear. So ensure you’re properly segmenting and sending to your list based on user behavior to stay relevant to your audience. If not, you’ll just spin your wheels doing the ole’ batch and blast routine, get ignored and end up in the spam folder.

Understand how complaint rate is calculated

When someone marks your emails as spam, the ISP tallies that complaint against your active subscribers, not your total subscribers. Active subscribers are the people who open, click and presumably read your emails. So, if you have a list of 10,000 subscribers but only 3,000 are considered active and 10 people mark you as spam, your complaint rate would be calculated as follows: 10/3,000 = a complaint rate of .3%.

CakeMail advises that your spam complaints should never exceed 0.25% (1 out of 400 emails sent). If you do, ISPs can send your emails to the junk folder or block you permanently. It’s also important to remember that your email service provider has its own thresholds set for how many complaints you can receive before they shut down your ability to send. For example, Aweber requires that your complaint rate stays under .1% before your sending practices are questioned.

Start to monitor subscriber-level activity

Inactive users on your list are essentially dead weight. It’s best to part ways with them before they hurt your deliverability and metrics.

To do this, start to track subscriber-level activity in your mailings with advanced analytic tools. With this information, you can access individual opens and clicks over time and can separate the individuals who have not opened or clicked an email of yours in the last 6 months into a new sending segment.

Send a re-engagement campaign

Even though this list you have identified has not been engaged with your campaigns for some time, there’s still a chance to reinvigorate them. Many different approaches can be taken for your re-engagement email but make sure it’s on-brand, personalized and relevant to the subscriber. It also doesn’t hurt to offer an incentive. Crocs nailed all these elements in their re-engagement campaign:

crocs reengagement campaign

Remove inactive subscribers

After a lengthy period of inactivity (and a cold shoulder response to your re-engagement email), it’s safe to assume these subscribers have either changed emails or they’re just not that into you anymore. It’s time to say goodbye.

Once you have unsubscribed your dormant members, make sure to give them a way back onto your list through an email preference center. HubSpot Sales (formerly Sidekick) did a great job of scrubbing their list with the email below while also throwing out one last lifeline to the customers who weren’t ready to call it quits.

Sidekick purge

Even though it’s painful to delete a once-promising lead, practicing proper list maintenance techniques will result in a better sender reputation, email metrics and deliverability rates.

Do you know enough about your subscribers to practice the list maintenance techniques discussed in this blog? If not, sign up for our free 7-day trial and test our analytics tools. The secret to a high performing email list is just a click away

If you don’t QA, test and preview your email in
Campaign Precheck, are you really sending an email?

We always recommend testing every email every time. But why stop there when you can make so many other strategic and tactical enhancements? Things like accessible code, perfect inbox display, fast-loading images all play a critical role in an email’s ROI. Campaign Precheck is end-to-end email QA, testing AND previews in one seamless workflow. Optimize content and your code, test for deliverability and preview how it will look for subscribers to save time and improve performance. Sign up for a free trial and start sending better email.

Start a Free Trial

Author: Alex Ilhan

Hailing all the way from England, Alex brings his email development expertise along with an endless stream of cups of tea and British cynicism. Follow him on Twitter: @omgitsonlyalex.

Author: Alex Ilhan

Hailing all the way from England, Alex brings his email development expertise along with an endless stream of cups of tea and British cynicism. Follow him on Twitter: @omgitsonlyalex.

1 thought on “Spring Cleaning Part 2: Maintaining Your Email List”

  1. great information. i was looking for this information. We have email marketing company and i would like to thank Mr.Mallory for the same. She really explain the best information i was looking for. Thank you for the same.

    Best Regards

    Sending Mail Team


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *