No Bullsh*t Advice ..
For Navigating An Email List
When it comes to building an email list the right path isn’t always clear. Without proper planning and guidance it’s easy to get off track, or worse, negatively impact deliverability of your email campaigns.
When email marketing experts from Campaign Monitor, Return Path, VerticalResponse, dotmailer, Adestra and AWeber to share their tips on growing and maintaining an effective email list:
- What are some effective list growing techniques?
- How can marketers improve the quality of their email lists?
Here’s a sampling of what they had to say…
Do an inventory of what you have. And be prepared to kill list zombies.
Subscribers are more likely to open and engage with email messages that are relevant and personal, which is why personalization in email marketing (beyond just the subscriber’s first name) is on the rise.
Instead of sending out the same email to every subscriber, marketers are now taking buying behavior, gender, geography, and other factors into account to create hyper-targeted and personalized messages.
But how do they power this personalization? With data from their email lists and maybe even from integrations with their e-commerce or CRM platforms, so having a quality email list with solid data is more important than ever before.
There are numerous ways to grow your email list, but using signup forms is one of the most effective. Sign up forms aren’t collecting any old name or contact, they’re collecting quality sign ups.
When you cultivate a list of opted-in, engaged subscribers who want to hear from you, and deliver them targeted, relevant information, everyone wins.
To Grow Quality Email Lists Consider The Following:
Start by asking “What do we want to send? What kind of automated emails do we want to send? What personalization do we want to use?”
Then work backwards based on those goals. In order to increase the quality of your list, you must assess where you are relative to your goals and figure out what you need in order to get where you want to be.
Do you need to add new fields to your signup forms? Can you get the data you need from another source like your CRM or e-Commerce platform?
You probably have subscribers on your list that haven’t opened your emails for six months, one year, or even more. Whether their email address has become invalid, or they’re simply not interested in your messaging, consider removing any dead weight from your email list.
Removing these subscribers will decrease your subscriber count, but it will positively impact your list quality, which is more important. If you get rid of these disengaged subscribers, you should see engagement rates rise and it can also positively impact other factors like deliverability.
You can send a re-engagement campaign asking these subscribers if they’d like to remain on your list or be removed. If you don’t get a response, you can feel confident removing them.
Growing your list is an ongoing effort, but when you focus on quality, it will reward you tenfold with results.
Growing a quality list should focus on internal (your own) and external (relevant partners) assets.
From an internal standpoint, drive sign ups from your brand’s social footprint. Include a link in your profile that drives to a landing page.
From an external standpoint, find similar tribes to yours. Identify five blogs that are relevant to your industry. Offer to write a guest blog post. Include a link to a landing page.
Maintaining quality can mean accepting lower quantity of emails. If you are not double opting in your subscribers, then you should be actively pruning your list of inactive addresses (e.g. no opens in past 60-90 days) on a quarterly basis or sending an email requesting subscribers to click a link if they are still interested/not interested in receiving your valuable content.
The focus here should always be about obtaining correct permission from users by working in an opt-in environment.Holding on to large sums of dead/stale data or contact points does not benefit your efforts. Too many marketers think that quantity over quality of a list is a good email marketing tactic.
What marketers need to value is quality [targeted messaging] over quantity [broadcast messaging]. They don’t realize that email lists built with quantity as the sole focus can be causing issues for them.
If half of your email list is dead, blocking or complaining then it could impact the delivery of the other half.
Marketers need to be willing to remove non-active clients to flip the model to quality over quantity in list management. By doing so, your email metrics will see an uptick across-the-board.
ISPs punish senders with shoddy email lists. Avoid buying lists as they typically include spam traps, which are fake addresses used only to catch spam, and addresses of people who haven’t given permission to receive marketing messages.
These people are more likely to complain and less likely to buy anything. It can be time consuming, but you’re probably better off building a list of real customers and prospects that have agreed to receive email from you using marketing automation.
When you ask customers for email addresses, have them specify the types of email they want to receive. If they agree to a newsletter but not marketing messages, honor the request — or risk dinging your reputation.
Most major email service providers (ESPs) require that customers use fully opted-in lists for their campaigns to align with global spam laws. While purchased or harvested lists may seem like the easy route, you will not be able to use them when looking to send out emails through a professional platform.
Build your list the right way, keeping in mind that it’s often a slow process when you’re getting started.
Sign up forms are the way to go when it comes to building a winning email list for your business.
For Brick & Mortars, printed sign up forms can be used, as long as you clearly identify why you’re collecting the information on any forms that are used. Online signup forms are everywhere and easily accessible for digital-based businesses.
The perfect customer engagement ‘accessory’ for your website or blog, increase sign ups by activating an exit intent trigger on your form – a pop-up (aka exit-pop) that appears before customers click off the site.
There are the traditional ways to collect data on prospects and customers, like popovers. Just look at one of dotmailer clients, Barbour, who signed up over 20,000 new people in the three months after the data collection popover was added to the brand’s site.
I think sometimes initiatives like ‘forward to a friend’ are given too much focus and real estate, particularly as they rarely bring any new subscribers to the table.
The thing that regularly infuriates me is when people don’t ask me for my email address in situations when it would be appropriate to do so – like when I’m in a store requesting information about a set of products, for example.
Many companies don’t seem to have an effective strategy in place to record email addresses. As long as they gain the right opt-in permissions, they’re letting potential customers slip through their fingers.
Seriously, folks, if somebody comes to you and says that, run. My best tip is to be ready to work hard. Growing a list is not easy. It’s a real numbers game.
You have to decide if you want to go for quality or quantity. Do you want a small list of good names or a big list of “crappy!” names. If you want to go for quantity, use a coupon, add a popover or interstitial to collect addresses that still are permission-based. You have a bunch of options that don’t include buying names.
If you want quality, you can be selective about the people you invite in.
You can use double opt-in or add a step that takes subscribers to another page where you explain your email value proposition.
Just remember, it’s hard work. It doesn’t happen overnight.
Anybody who says otherwise is like that guy with the CD – they’re lying to you.
We hope you understand the value of quality when it comes to collecting and maintaining email addresses and you’re eager to put this advice to good use.
How often are you pruning your list? If you have a sizable email list pruning your list manually can be an impossible task. Keep your list healthy by regularly cleaning your list using Kickbox. We’ll let you know which email addresses are good, bad and risky, before you hit send.
Try Kickbox for free. Your first 100 verifications are on us!
My thanks to Copyblogger and Kickbox for sharing this nice piece. I have used their service for my email verifications for about 6 months and I have no complaints. The only word of advice i have , that will save you some money.
Do not re-import your whole list if you are only adding “new subscribers” from the last import. Otherwise, the same emails get re-verified, which counts against your total number of verifications you purchased. I found out the hard way on that one!
To Your Success!