3 tips for effective email list management

Gone are the simpler days where having a large email list was enough to get consistent conversions. In today’s technology-focused world, having an email list means nothing if you aren’t properly maintaining it. Email list management plays a vital role in not only managing reader engagement, but also in moving them through your sales cycle.  

With that in mind, we’ve compiled a list of 3 tips to help make your email list management more effective. We also go into greater detail as to why each of these tips plays a vital role in the larger process. 

1. Always grow your email list.

Now, we said that having a massive list isn’t enough to get you the results you wish to see from your email marketing campaigns. However, that doesn’t mean you should ever stop growing your email list. In order to keep your sales cycle full and moving at optimal capacity, you need to constantly be filling it. The moment you stop adding to your email list is the same moment that your sales cycle will begin to try up until there is nothing left. 

When it comes to effective email list management, there are many ways to grow your list continuously while also keeping it healthy.

Word of mouth

Despite what some may think, word of mouth is still one of the best marketing methods out there. However, the way we spread information via word of mouth comes in more variations than traditional speak and share. Now, consumers have the opportunity of sharing their favorite brands with their friends, families, and followers across multiple methods, including social media, personal blogs, influencer shares, online reviews and, of course, the traditional small talk. 

84% of people say they trust online reviews as much as or even more than personal recommendations from friends and family.

Utilize social media

Most brands realize just how important having a social media presence is. They also tend to focus their attention on one or two platforms depending on where their targeted audience hangs out the most. Our friends over at Campaign Monitor recently did an in-depth study on the current state of small business. When asked, the majority of respondents said that their biggest opportunity to build brand awareness was in social media.

Small businesses state that the biggest opportunity to build brand awareness is in social media marketing

Source: Campaign Monitor

Where many brands tend to fail as far as using social media to grow their email list is neglecting to include an email opt-in option on their profile. Depending on the social media platform that your brand chooses, you may be able to place a prominent link to your email opt-in right in your “about” information. You may be able to design an opt-in form right on the platform. 

The key here is to make the sign-up process quick and straightforward and not require too much personal information from potential subscribers. The more sensitive data you ask for, the less likely they will want to subscribe. Keep it short and sweet with their name and email address. 

Incentivize potential subscribers

Another great way to help build your email list is to offer up various incentives. Let’s face it—everyone loves exclusive deals and freebies. While you spend plenty of time spreading the word of what you can offer potential subscribers, throwing in a few special incentives is a great way to maneuver that questionable potential to a ready and willing subscriber. 

What’s important to remember is that while incentives are great to pique interest, 39% of people stated that they would prefer brands made their emails more about informing the reader instead of always promoting something. So, while incentives are excellent tools, use them sparingly. 

2. Proper email list maintenance is vital to email list management.

Practicing proper email list maintenance is a critical piece of email list management. While the two terms may seem kind of similar, they are very different. In this context, email list maintenance is the act of keeping a healthy list. Email management, however, is the process of growing, maintaining, and engaging with your list. 

What is email list hygiene?

Is there such a thing as proper email list hygiene? The answer to that is yes, there is. Email list hygiene is best described as keeping an email list viable. A viable email marketing list is one that is not only being continuously added to. It is also filled with subscribers that are actively engaging with your emails by at least opening them. This illustrates to you that they are genuinely interested in the information that you have to provide. 

Email list fatigue

Another essential term email marketers should know is email list fatigue. This term can be identified as a decline in engaged subscribers. Email list fatigue can be the result of several different factors, including old subscribers in your list, sending stale information to your list and or sending information that simply isn’t relevant to your readers. 

Defining an inactive subscriber

One of the most essential parts of email list maintenance is to remove all emails that bounce back, are incorrect, and that is described as inactive subscribers. Defining an inactive subscriber can be tricky because not everyone sends email campaigns on the same timetable. Some do weekly emails, some daily, others monthly or even quarterly. It’s challenging to engage regularly when you’re only receiving emails from a brand once every 2 or 3 months, which is why marketers need to carefully define what an inactive subscriber is based on their specific schedule.

One way to help you properly maintain an email list is to set up engagement segments and label them appropriately. One example if engagement segments can be seen below. 

Defining active, engaged and inactive email list subscribers

Source: Campaign Monitor

In order to maintain proper email list hygiene, you’ll want to define your engagement segmentation carefully, and then begin removing those that fall under the most inactive, such as the “zombies” or the “ghosts” if they do not respond to your re-engagement efforts. 

3. Focus on increasing reader engagement.

Finally, practicing effective email list management requires your marketing team to focus on improving overall reader engagement. Once a subscriber falls into the inactive category, you need to do several things to avoid having to do a total strategy rehaul:

  • Find out why your subscribers are choosing not to engage with your emails.

  • Attempt to re-engage them through a re-engagement email campaign.

  • Remove any subscribers that remain inactive and focus on sending relevant, high-quality content to your current subscribers who are engaged.

Monitoring your results

One way to help you identify why your readers may be losing interest in your content is by carefully monitoring your email campaign results. These results can be monitored by keeping a close eye on each campaign’s analytics as they begin to roll in. 

The information that is found in these analytic reports often includes the total number of opens, clicks, deliveries, and more. This information is essential because it helps guide you as far as knowing what is working with your readers and what isn’t. 

Emma offers users a full suite that includes detailed analytics and each email campaign you send out.

Source: Emma

If you’ve noticed a decline in your opens and clicks while also seeing an increase in opt-outs, then you know that something isn’t right and that your readers are unhappy. From there, your team has several options to help you get more information. 

You can either send out an email directly asking your subscribers what they like and don’t like about their current emails and offer them the opportunity to give feedback for future campaigns, or you can head straight to the A/B testing step.

The importance of A/B testing 

A/B testing is vital when trying to increase your overall reader engagement because it allows you to test each and every component of an email before you send it out to your entire email list. 

Yes, you can test two entirely different emails, but the ideal situation is to test two variations of a single aspect of an email and to repeat the process until you’ve built an ideal email that your customers will want to open and engage with. 

Emma offers users the option to A/B test their campaigns before sending them to their whole email list

Source: Emma

Re-engagement campaigns are essential for email list management

Finally, once you’ve found out not only why your subscribers may be losing interest in your content, but have also found out what is working in your favor, you can build and send a re-engagement campaign to try and earn back some of your inactive subscribers.

You have to remember that it will cost you less to re-engage an existing subscriber than it will cost you to find a new one, so make sure you give inactive subscribers the chance to come back before you write them off as a lost cause. 

An excellent example of a re-engagement email campaign that allows inactive subscribers the opportunity to update their email preferences

Source: Really Good Emails

Re-engagement emails like this example from Animoto are wonderful because it allows the subscriber to voice their opinions and alter their preferences according to their desires. Other excellent re-engagement options include offering win-back incentives such as special promo-codes or offers. 

Wrap up

Email marketing is a wonderful tool when used correctly. Practicing effective email list management is vital to getting the most out of each and every one of your email campaigns. So, make sure you are keeping these 3 tips in mind when it comes to proper email list management:

  • Always be growing your email list

  • Focus on email list maintenance 

  • Continuously work on increasing reader engagement 

Need a refresher on the various ins and outs of email marketing? Then check out our Email Marketing 101 guide on everything you need to know to get started right away. 

About the Author

Emma is an email marketing platform that gives you all the tools you need to send campaigns that really connect with your subscribers. With our

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