In today’s fast-paced marketing world, companies can’t afford to waste time on bounced emails. Competitors are doing all they can to capitalize on potential customers. To stay ahead, business owners need to maintain up-to-date customer and prospect information.
Email marketing remains an effective way to nourish relationships. Businesses have found on average that they see a 94% return on investment from targeted emails that go to the right email addresses.
Clean email lists can help with inbox placement, get potential clients engaged and increase your opportunities through targeted market segmentation.
So keeping a clean email list can be crucial to your overall marketing success and should be a top priority on your to-do list.
The Origin of “Dirty” Email Lists
About one third of email lists will be lost each year to address changes, bounced emails and users who decide to unsubscribe.
On top of that disturbing number, most people have three to five email addresses that they check with varying degrees of frequency according to Pam Neely over at GetResponse.
She goes on to distinguish between transparent (voluntary) and opaque (involuntary) email churn:
- Transparent churn, sometimes called “voluntary churn”, includes unsubscribes, hard bounces and spam complaints. These are people you cannot mail to anymore, due to their action (or inaction, in the case of hard bounces).
- Opaque churn includes the “emotionally unsubscribed” and people who just aren’t seeing your emails. Opaque churn is also sometimes called “involuntary churn”.
What all of this means is that email marketers need to be extremely proactive in making sure that all the email addresses that we’re sending to are updated and engaged.
The Benefits of a Clean Email List
Maintaining up-to-date contact information for your email subscribers/email marketing list can help increase your growth in several ways.
Clean email lists can:
- Maximize revenue opportunities and ROI
- Reduce delivery problems
- Contribute to increased accuracy in campaign statistics
- Save money on marketing costs from bounced emails
- Keep your brand top of mind with your subscribers
Maximizing Revenue Opportunities
While you might think that it’s okay to let a few emails bounce, if you’re sending out ten emails and only seven are reaching their target destination that’s three potential customers that aren’t being reached at all.
Instead of letting those emails bounce, which can skew your campaign stats and harm your sender reputation, do the research and update the contact information. This gives you the chance to achieve the strongest return on investment possible every time you reach out with an email.
Save Time Dealing with Email Deliverability
Bounces and autoresponders need to be dealt with in order to maintain your send reputation. This means with each email campaign you send out you’ve got to manually review your soft and hard bounces to see if that address needs to be deleted.
As your list grows, so does the amount of time it takes to review these responses.
Keeping your list in order will save you tons of time on the manual review of automated email responses.
Reduce Email Marketing Costs With Email List Management
Just as it’s easier to keep an existing customer than to get a new one, it’s much easier to keep your existing subscribers than to try and get new ones.
Sending your email marketing campaigns to a clean list will improve your overall chances for deliverability, which means that you’ll have a better chance of getting regular engagement from subscribers. Engaged subscribers are much more likely to stay on your list.
This lets you focus on sending out the most valuable email campaigns possible to your squeaky clean list instead of constantly worrying about your subscriber churn.
Maintain Brand Awareness with Email Subscribers
When your email subscribers don’t have access to your email campaigns, they can lose sight of your company and they may miss out on deals and incentives that you have to offer.
They may also take their business elsewhere because another company is already contacting them. Out of sight very often is out of mind when it comes to the email inbox.
Taking the time for email list cleaning gets you in more people’s inboxes, and that gives you better brand recognition across the board.
Common Ways to Verify Email Addresses
When you analyze how you use your email lists, your goal is to increase your return on investment and conversions, while lowering your bounce rates.
Use the following pointers to help you:
- Target the errors that are coming up and research them. Sometimes there’s a misspelling in the email address and this is an easy fix.
- Reconfirm email addresses by checking online through sites like LinkedIn or business websites.
- If you can’t find the person or company, remove the bounced email from future lists.
- Regularly send email reminders to inactive subscribers asking if they want to stay opted-in to your email messages.
- Use online forms to ask customers for updated contact information on a regular basis.
One additional way to keep your email lists updated and current is ensuring that you send emails at least once a month. That way you don’t have to worry about the addresses going stale or becoming inactive. When an email isn’t actively used after six months, there’s a greater chance of a change that can cause it to need to be dropped from your list.
How Often Should You Clean Your Email Lists?
Ideally you want to clean your lists regularly and look for invalid email addresses. When emailing weekly or monthly, removing unsubscribes and addresses with hard bounces should occur that often as well.
With routine list maintenance your campaigns will be better and your data more accurate when you’re ready to interpret it.
With email addresses being added to your list (or lists) regularly, you can also make use of great email verification software to remove bad addresses. They can be of particular help if you have large lists or a large number of lists. The verifications can be automatic and it can also catch duplicate emails.
In virtually every type of business – marketing initiatives are more streamlined and clean email lists can help you improve performance and reduce costs. By refining existing email lists, this will help to target your email subscribers accurately every time.
List cleaning can help to get rid of stale addresses and immediately reduce bounce errors.
A Guide to Scrubbing Your Email Lists
Another key way to help with bounced emails is through scrubbing which helps to give you the most accurate version of an email subscriber list.
A lot of people are now using fake email addresses because they’ve received too much SPAM and are concerned about viruses and phishing scams. What ends up happening is ISP mail servers can then block your emails from repeatedly sending your messages to email addresses that don’t exist.
Scrubbing can help because this is usually done through an API format to help find and verify email addresses and cut down on bounce rates.
Updating Email Preferences with SurveyGizmo
If your email marketing schedule or content changes or expands, you should first make sure your current subscribers are prepared to get the new or different emails.
Simply send them a survey asking:
- What type of content they want to get from you
- How often they want to get it
- If they have any changes they want to make to their contact details
- If they want to add a friend or colleague to the list
Integrate the contact details piece with your CRM or email marketing software (Zapier is great for this) so that if they elect to make changes it will automatically update their entry in the CRM.
By exporting your survey results to a CSV you can sort based on what email content people have chosen, then upload only the people who are interested in a particular email series to your email marketing software.
This way you know that your subscribers are genuinely engaged with your emails, reducing unsubscribes and the danger of having your emails marked as SPAM by disgruntled subscribers.
How Subscriber Updates Can Expand Your Email List
Reaching out to your subscribers may seem like risking many of them opting out of your list. Should you really be reminding them that they’ve signed up to get emails from you? Wouldn’t it be better to just let things ride?
You’ll almost certainly get a few people who decide not to get your emails anymore when you reach out in this way, but you can counteract a lot of those issues with the “add a friend or colleague” option.
If you’re sending out genuinely useful emails, people should be happy to forward an invitation to a friend to share it with them.
Use a survey field to collect the email address of the person they’d like to invite, add an email action, and then pipe in the email that they gave you to automatically fire off the invite.
With very little effort from either you or your existing email recipients, you’ve got more subscribers.
Keeping Email Lists Current Using SurveyGizmo
Remember, clean and accurate email address lists improve your deliverability and reduce your risk of bounces and unsubscribes. But, as we’ve seen, email list management can be a tedious and time consuming task. SurveyGizmo can help with that.
Once a quarter, send out a survey to your subscribers asking if they want to update their contact information. You can easily schedule these surveys to go out automatically; no need to remember to login each quarter and start them up again.
Within the body of the email you can display the contact information you currently have for the subscriber, then add a simple radio button question: “Is this how you’d like us to contact you?”
If they answer, “Yes, My contact details are up to date” you can simply show a thank you page and move on.
If, however, they’d like to update their email or other contact details, you can send them directly into a second survey that invites them to enter new information.
Again, a simple CRM integration will let you pull answers from the survey straight into that contact’s entry so an update gets applied to all future marketing and sales messages.
Streamline Your Email List Management
Squeaky clean email lists provide great benefits. Remember that every email that bounces is a potential client and money that you can’t afford to waste.
The one thing a business doesn’t want to do is find out that a client didn’t know who they were and gave all their business to a competitor because there was a misspelling in the email address. Also keep in mind that your email campaigns are full of resourceful information, great products and service related content that you want to share with the world.
Creating a proactive process to gather good email addresses and then keeping them updated so that you achieve as close to 100% deliverability as possible each time is the very best way to make sure that your customers and prospects always see the best of your communications and your latest great offer!