Managing your email list can seem tedious and time consuming, but it is well worth the effort. An email list is truly a valuable asset. The people on the list, in one way or another, have volunteered their information to you or your company, in effect saying, “I would like to hear from you.” That said, proper management of your list is vital to get the most benefit from the system.
Too many times I’ve seen clients who began email marketing with the best of intentions. They built their list over time, then slacked off on sending regular communications. After several months the list grew stale and many subscribers forgot about them.
Admittedly, I myself have struggled with keeping my list cleaned up and segmented into the right interest groups, but focusing on how a list cleanup, will help my business gives me the motivation to tackle it. After all it’s one of the most basic email marketing best practices. Why, you ask? The three biggest reasons are as follows:
- It saves you money
- It protects your business reputation
- It prevents you from being flagged as a spammer or blacklisted
Simple List Cleanup Process
I’ll cover segmentation of your email list into interest groups in a future post, but for now, let’s talk about how to clean up your email list.
- To begin with, backup your entire database and download a copy to your computer before making any changes.
- Remove all bounces and unsubscribes. There’s in sense in paying to keep these subscribers on your list so it’s time to get rid of them. Don’t be afraid to remove them, because you have a copy just in the event you need them in the future.
- The same goes for less active contacts, for example someone who hasn’t opened your emails for the past year. It’s best not to bother them if they are no longer interested in your services and avoid having your message tagged as spam.
- Last, take a look at your semi-active contacts, perhaps people who have read your emails but taken no action. Reach out to these contacts. Send them a special email message stating that you are updating your email list or doing site maintenance and would like to know if they are still interested in receiving updates. If you receive a positive reply, keep them. If you receive a negative reply, or your email is ignored, it’s time to remove them from your list. Send additional notices to non-responders at least two more times before deleting them.
How to do the cleanup in Aweber
(Other major email providers have similar tools.)
1. Backup Your List
Activate the backup
When you choose this option the backup will be created and sent to your email address. It can take a while depending upon the size of your list.
It’s a good idea to do this periodically just to be safe.
2. Remove Unsubscribes and Bounces
First go to Subscribers / Manage Subscribers
Remove people who have unsubscribed
Choose the filter Unsubscribes
Click the top box under to select all names. Then click Delete.
Remove Bounces (undeliverable)
Click the “Undeliverable” filter
Select all names and delete
Just like you did with the previous group.
Are you starting to see a pattern here?
3. Remove subscribers who haven’t opened a message in over a year
You’ll need to create filter to do this…but it’s easy.
Follow the 1, 2, 3 steps as shown below. I actually used 14 months in this example. Use whatever time period that makes sense to you. But if they haven’t opened a message from you in over a year assume they’re not interested.
Then choose all, Delete as shown in the previous examples.
4. Create a filter to identify Nonresponders
On your “Manage Subscriber” page, use the “Filters” boxes to pull up 2 search terms:
- No Opens
- Date Added
(The “Date Added” criteria makes sure you only pull up older subscribers, not recent subscribers who haven’t opened your messages yet.)
My choices here are specific to this business. I chose people who subscribed more than a year ago and haven’t opened a message in the last three months. Your needs may be different.
Save your search as a segment
After searching, you’ll see a box where you can save your search (“segment) by giving it a name like “Nonresponders. ” Then you can use it to create a broadcast message