Clean Out Your Contacts

Hopefully, one of your New Year’s Resolutions is to identify and implement some best practices in your business.  One of the best business practices I can think of is to make sure that you are consistently in touch with your customers, clients and general audience through email marketing.  The key to a successful email marketing strategy is to ensure that those who are on your list actually want to receive emails from you.  This means that you periodically should clean – or scrub – your contact list.

There is a marketing saying that goes something like this:  “Whoever has the biggest list, wins.”  In reality it should be “whoever has the most engaged list, wins.”  The best practice here is to make sure that you trim the fat and get rid of those subscribers who are inactive and/or not engaging with your content.

You may be thinking that even if they are on your list, it’s not hurting anyone.  True, but consider the following:

  1. You are paying for those subscribers. Chances are, your email provider (whether that is MailChimp, ConstantContact, AWeber or the like) charges you a fee based on the number of subscribers and/or emails you send out each month.  If 25% of your list – or even 10% – is inactive, you are paying for thin air.  Scrubbing your email list could save you money on a monthly basis.
  2. Better Open and Click-Through Rates. Are you paying attention to your email statistics?  Open, click-through and bounce rates are key performance indicators of the health of your email marketing efforts.  By carrying the dead weight of inactive subscribers and non-working email addresses, you don’t have a true picture of your business performance.  While the hard numbers may not change significantly once you clean up your contacts, the percentages will give you a better idea of how effective your marketing efforts are.
  3. Spam complaints could prevent your emails from even reaching the inbox. Did you know that mailbox providers like Gmail, Yahoo and others keep track of the number of spam complaints/  Een more soe, if you have too many emails marked as spam, these providers will automatically send all your emails to the junk folder – they will never see the light of an inbox.  Some people on your list probably signed up log ago and have forgotten why they signed up or are no longer interested – cutting them off now before they mark your email as spam is actually doing them – and yourself – a favor.

Now that I’ve convinced you that cleaning up your contact list is definitely one of the best business practices to follow, here are three steps you can take to get your list in top condition:

  1. Screen out the bounced emails. Chances are, there are quite a few people on your list whose email is unreachable.  This will show up in your statistics as a “bounce” – the message you sent is returned as undeliverable.  There are 2 types of bounces.  A hard bounce – where the system has determined that you will never be able to deliver to that address, and a soft bounce – where there was just something off – perhaps the server didn’t respond or there was a typo in the email address or something else that’s easily fixed.  You should remove all the hard bounces completely, but check your soft bounces to make those easy fixes.
  2. Send an email to reengage. Most email service providers have a way for you to segment your list based on the emails they have opened (or didn’t open).  Send a “we miss you” email to those who either haven’t opened an email in a while or haven’t clicked through on your call to action.  Give them an opportunity to opt into your list again.  If they really want to continue to hear from you, they’ll opt in.
  3. Remove inactive subscribers. Once you’ve completed steps 1 and 2 above, it’s time to remove those who didn’t respond and have shown little interest in your content.  Don’t take it personally.  Needs change and you only want to engage with those who are interested in what you do.

This is just one of the best business practices that we recommend.  Need help identifying other business practices and strategies to implement?  Give Business Relationship Edge a call at 732.859.8419.

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