Email spam and clutter aren't just annoyances for you to clean up. They actually cost money. Unnecessary emails amount to $1800 per employee for businesses.
It's safe to say that businesses waste a ton of unnecessary time on email-related tasks. Especially when it comes to email list management. Once you have several thousand subscribers, every second spent maintaining that list counts.
The question is, is email cleanup even possible with such a large subscriber base? It is, and we're here to show you how.
Keep reading as we discuss 10 helpful tips for pruning your marketing email lists.
Why Bother with Email List Management?
At first glance, it may seem pointless to clear email subscribers from the list. If someone doesn't want your emails, they'll either unsubscribe or ignore them. The only people who will respond are the interested ones.
Unfortunately, it's not that simple. Here are some reasons why you should spruce up your email list.
Avoid Becoming Spam
Your emails help to establish your thought leadership. Annoying too many people with emails won't just harm your company's reputation. It could inadvertently flag your emails as spam.
This is thanks to how email spam filtering works. Email providers rely on their users to report spam emails. If enough people send your correspondence to the junk pile, major providers might treat it as spam.
This could lead to no one getting your emails at all!
Get Better Statistics
It's essential for a business to know how effective its strategies are. A cluttered email list gives minimal, ineffective insight about your subscriber base. Who knows who's receiving the email and what effect it is having?
Curating your list only to responsive subscribers gives you accurate statistics. You then know what's working and what isn't. You then waste less time on no-response subscribers--and don't include their related metrics.
An email takes electricity to send. It may be a very, very small amount compared to a server's entire electrical consumption. It does add up in the long run, though.
Imagine you have thousands of dead-end subscribers receiving emails. That's a not-insignificant energy draw that you are footing the bill for. Trimming down your list saves you money on sending.
With that said, let's dive into how you can cull your email list.
1. Eliminate Hard-Bounce Emails
A bounce refers to when an email doesn't reach your subscriber. The most common is the so-called "soft bounce." This is when, for example, the email server is down, or the recipient has a full mailbox.
Then there is the "hard bounce." This means the email does not arrive under any circumstances. It could be because of a dead domain or an invalid address.
Hard bounce emails do more than just waste your time. They are one of the metrics spam filters use to single out "spam" emails. So, delete emails that hard bounce from your list ASAP.
2. Merge Duplicates
Duplicate emails happen. Someone accidentally subscribes to your list twice or an error does it for them. It could even be that there's a glitch on your side.
Either way, it results in one person getting double the emails. As you can imagine, spam filters won't like this any more than a hard bounce. Sending your readership a flash flood of unwanted emails, spam aside, will also likely annoy them.
Identify any duplicates, merge them, or delete extras.
3. Remove Inactive Subscribers
Emails should provoke some sort of engagement. A subscriber may not interact with every email they receive, to be clear. They should at least click through once in a while, though.
What about the people who have never interacted? They signed up for the marketing list years ago. Since then, it's been crickets.
This is a very clear message to you: they are not interested. For whatever reason, the emails are not having any effect on them. It's best to just remove them from the list.
4. Cater to Your Target Customer
Every company should outline its "ideal subscriber." Think of all those marketing write-ups that detail a particular type of person. It includes demographics such as age, gender, occupation, and so on.
These customer personas are helpful in streamlining your efforts. They give you a clear idea of who you are trying to sell to. They're not just a marketing exercise, though; they're helpful for email cleanup.
Focus your marketing list on people who fit the bill. These are the ones that interact the most and actually buy your product. You're better off catering to them than someone who only gives you the occasional sale.
5. Get an Email Management Service
Email list management is a sizeable task for one person alone. Relieve the burden and hand it off to email list management services.
There are a lot of email management systems to choose from. They automate your workflow for you. With just a few short clicks, you can make big, time-saving changes to the whole email list.
They are affordable, too. Allocating some of your budget to manage email lists frees up your schedule. Then, you can spend that precious time on things that matter more to you.
6. Make the Unsubscribe Option Dead Simple
Think of the last time you tried to unsubscribe from an email. One of two things likely happened to you.
Number one, it sent you to the login page. After logging in, you had to navigate by yourself to your email newsletter preferences. You probably had to tediously uncheck boxes and save your preferences.
Or, number two, you clicked the link and got an immediate result. A webpage displayed saying that you were unsubscribed from all marketing emails. No more work is required on your part.
It goes without saying that everyone hates the first option. Unsubscribing should always be as easy as pie. Anything less embitters people--ones who might tell their friends about the experience.
7. Re-Engage Inactive Subscribers
We mentioned that it's a good idea to scrub inactive users from your list. Before you do that though, give them a nudge. Send an email or two to gauge their interest.
This may come in the form of a one-time coupon or reminder. You might tell them about an upcoming sale or product line. Whatever the case, do something that would entice them to come back.
Depending on your marketing strategy, you might do this several times. It could be once every six months or once a year. You keep prodding for a spell until you get a response.
If they don't respond, then you know your answer. It's time to put their email out to pasture from your list
8. Be Proactive With Inactive Users
Sometimes, people simply do not interact with your emails. Despite this seeming sign of disinterest, they do want the emails.
It's been a popular strategy recently to beat them to the punch. That is, you send them an email asking plainly if they're still interested. A simple, "Hey, we miss you, should we keep sending you mail?"
They'll respond, or they won't. Either one gives you an unequivocal answer.
9. Recommend "Opting-Down"
There is opting-out and opting-in, but what about opting-down?
Simply put, this means reducing communication. You aren't taking them off your list, but you are sending them less correspondence.
It's similar to the previous point. You can send an email asking them how much they want to hear from you. This could be not at all, or only to a certain extent.
It's a great way to minimize how annoying your marketing emails might be. Customers may love the newsletters but hate the sales announcements. This also, as you can imagine, gives a helpful statistic.
10. Remove Role or Spam Emails
Sometimes, your emails arrive in inboxes that no one will see. Take for example, the "firstname.lastname@example.org" type of email. This is obviously a do-not-reply email address.
Or you may have spam email accounts on your list. These are pretty obvious since they don't look like a human wrote them. They have a long string of random text generated by a computer.
The reasons why these two types of emails end up on your list are irrelevant. Use an automated email list management service to remove them.
Keep Your Inbox Clean With Mailstrom
Email list management is critical for maintaining marketing correspondence. It's important to use the above tips to keep it squeaky clean from inactive subscribers and hard-bounce emails. Doing so saves you money, time, and gives you better metrics about your customers.
Mailstrom is the ultimate tool for managing your inbox, period. Try it for free to see the magic in action yourself.