8 Steps to a Healthy, Productive List, Part 2
Last week, in Part 1 of this two-part article, I examined why e-mail list hygiene is important and offered four pointers on how to examine and clean your list. Now that you've weeded out the bad e-mails clogging your list, you'll want to rebuild it with new, interested subscribers. Just be sure to grow your list the right way with permission-based e-mails. Here are some tips to get you going:
5. Re-engage inactive list members. Segment members who haven't opened your e-mails for the past six months, and create special communications just for them with the goal of getting them to re-engage and open your e-mails. If this doesn't work, remove them. Clearly, they aren't interested and your time is better spent communicating with people who do want to hear from you.
6. Make subscribing easy. Let interested parties easily opt in wherever they come in contact with you, your brand or your service such as on your Web site, in your e-mail signature, at your physical store and so forth.
7. Remember, permission is perishable. Act quickly when you receive permission to ensure your e-mail recipients remember you and your service. If you let too much time lapse before the first communication to new subscribers, there's a good chance they'll unsubscribe or hit the spam button.
8. Send a welcome message. If you don't already, consider implementing an automatic welcome e-mail for new subscribers. This not only makes them feel appreciated, but it also gives you the opportunity to get some feedback on the types of communications they want to receive from you, whether that be newsletters, promotions or coupons.
In addition, you can find out how often they would like to be communicated with, such as weekly, monthly or quarterly. This will help you deliver the best experience for your subscribers to keep them engaged.
As you re-engage and add new subscribers, set aside some time after each campaign — or just once a month if that's all you can manage — to analyze your unsubscribes, open rates, bouncebacks, etc. Use this time to fix any typos in the addresses, process unsubscribe requests (Remember: You're required by CAN-SPAM law to do so within 10 days) and make note of inactive recipients to try to re-engage them.
Just like any health program, getting started is far more difficult than maintaining the results. The same rule applies to e-mail lists. Once you've whipped your list into shape, the ongoing maintenance is a cinch as long as you commit to it. Progress doesn't come without a little pain here and there, but the effectiveness of a clean e-mail list will make it all worthwhile.
Eric Groves is senior vice president of worldwide strategy and market development at Constant Contact, a Waltham, Mass.-based provider of e-mail marketing and online survey tools. Reach Eric at email@example.com.