3 Crucial Rules to Follow For Email Marketing List Management

There are rules for nearly everything these days: from laws of warfare to instructions for putting together an Ikea dresser (which sometimes feels like warfare).

And often times, following rules and best practices means you escalate your probability for success as well as the speed at which you get there, whether you are in the armed forces, in email marketing agencies, or in an endless aisle at Ikea.

The 3 rules of email list management

By following these 3 rules for email marketing list management, you are guaranteed to increase your email deliverability, and eventually – your returns.

1. Use segments

It always amazes me to learn how many senders think this doesn’t apply to their emails (hint: it does. Every. Single. Message.)

By segmenting your list and sending relevant content to each segment, you will increase open rates, decrease unsubscribe rates, and improve email deliverability.

You can segment the list based on user profile (our clients often segment by location, age, job title, company type, etc.) or tracked behavior (website visits, content consumed, etc.), but using segments is an absolute rule that will yield fantastic results.

One of our clients recently told us that they send the same holiday greeting to all subscribers. We asked what her goal was when sending the Christmas card. She said they include a coupon code for some year-end specials.

We helped her send different offers to different segments based on the products they were most interested in. ROI from the campaign nearly doubled over the previous year, when she sent one message to everyone.

The rule here is simple. Segment. Always.

2. Use tools for list hygiene

Did your mother nag you endlessly about hygiene? She may have been wiser than you realized. A good email marketing list management program is based on good hygiene.

Email list hygiene includes:

  • Removing bounces and unsubscribes.
  • Gauging when subscribers decrease activity and re-engaging them.
  • Scrubbing inactive subscribers before they bounce or unsubscribe.

Today, there are tools like BriteVerify and EmailonAcid that can help with your verification and testing. Especially if you are a high-volume sender and deal with multi list management, hygiene must be adhered to.

The rule: only send to recipients who are active and engaged.

3. Use different ESPs (vendors) for different leads

Recently, we attended a conference for affiliate email marketers. We talked to some of the best in the world: senders who have built an enterprise upon these best practices.

And while many of them talked about the benefits of segmentation, A/B testing, and hygiene on email deliverability, it was fascinating to realize that only the best of the best were using different email service providers for different recipients.

For example, a consultant for email marketing agencies shared that he uses a very low-cost SMTP to email his most engaged users.

Purchase confirmations, password retrieval messages, even promotions to users with the highest engagement scores are sent with the cheapest provider.

For the subscribers who are on the brink of being scrubbed from the list for inactivity, he uses a higher-cost premium provider: all guns blazing.

The rule: when you are certain a user will open your message, use a low-cost provider; when you are concerned about email deliverability, use a premium service.

Wrap up

Some rules are made to be broken (I mean, who hasn’t broken the speed limit, exaggerated on a resume, or played hooky from school on occasion?) but these 3 rules for email marketing list management are easy to follow and easy to monitor.

If you try it as see they are not effective, feel free to break them on your next campaign, but I am certain that if you follow these rules, you will never want to stray again.

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