Email List Maintenance 101: Don’t Offend Your Subscribers

You work hard to build a list of qualified subscribers to your email marketing list. You need to work equally hard to keep them. List hygiene is just as important as dental hygiene: if you don’t do it, your list will fail you.

After each campaign we carefully review not only the results of the campaign (clicks throughs, opens and conversions) but we need to take time to look at the opt outs and undeliverables. This week eMarketer.com shared the results of another great study citing the reasons that most people opt out of a permission-based list:

Emarketer Reasons Internet Users Unsubscribe

It shouldn’t surprise you to find that irrelevant content and frequency were the top responses. If you send off-topic messages, you’re confusing your audinece. They subscribed or granted permission because they wanted to hear about whatever your primary area of expertise may be. If you get off topic you confuse and offend them. Sounds simple enough but you’d be surprised.

Frequency is the baseball bat that I’m constantly waiving over client’s heads. We need to respect the permission granted and deliver timely, relevant content as often as the recipient needs to hear from us. How often us that? Depends on what you are selling. Starbucks & McDonald’s could deliver several times a week but I don’t want to hear from my Realtor nearly that often. Think carefully about the frequency with which you deliver and make sure you’re not just shoveling !#$%  to keep your name in front of them else they put you out with the trash.

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One Response to Email List Maintenance 101: Don’t Offend Your Subscribers

  1. billkaplan says:

    Basic, yet excellent, points to always keep in mind. Make sure every email touch has something your subscibers will find of interest and be sensitive about their frequency preferences. Building a preferences page that enables subscribers to choose their desired frequency will ensure you’re meeting their needs. Then, plan your newsletter/email program accordingly.

    On a related note, email list hygiene or, more accurately, the lack thereof is the number 1 cause of blocking and blacklisting. If you’ve got the basics down, 95% of deliverability issues stem from problems with the underlying list: too many “this is spam” complaints, too many bounces, or the existence of spamtrap addresses. Conduct careful due diligence on your email address sources, validate and hygiene email addresses before entering them into your database, and clean your list on a regular basis.

    Your customer/subscriber base is your most valuable asset. Put yourself in their shoes each time before you hit the “Send” button and keep your list fresh to ensure you’re maximizing the ROI on your campaigns with a minimum of costs and headaches.

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