Is it time for an email list clean up?
If you have a mailing list, the likelihood is you’ve met fellow business owners who feel that their thousands long email list is a source of immense pride. If there’s one thing I can tell you about mailing list sizes – it’s not the size that matters, at all! If you’ve been anywhere online recently, you will have heard of Marie Kondo, the Japanese organising consultant, author and developer of the ‘KonMari’ method of tidying – a method that encourages followers to only keep things that ‘spark joy’ and speak to the heart.
Let me explain…
It got me thinking about how this applies to business, the idea of digital decluttering is one I really love: only keeping things that you love can leave space for ideas and new content to develop, which is great.
But digitally decluttering email lists is essential.
Consider this… If your business direction or ideal customer has changed over the years, there are most definitely going to be people on your lists who are not going to work with or buy from you. Keeping them on your list does not spark joy, but it could absolutely spark a security nightmare if you were unfortunate enough to have a data breach.
How do you find stale contacts in your email lists?
No matter what tool you use for your email marketing, check your delivery reports and engagement statistics and find those who are not engaging or not opening emails. Usually, you can do this by campaign or your full list.
What you’re looking for is those who have not opened your emails for a while, I tend to focus on those who haven’t opened for 12-18 months.
I also take a look for any ‘dodgy’ looking contacts – i.e. those that start with a string of numbers or where the name or email address just seems. The less spammy contacts in your mailing list, the less you are paying for them as subscribers too.
Simple steps like adding CAPTCHA to your sign-up forms can help cut down on the spam, so that’s certainly something to consider if you’re not doing so already.
To Double Optin Or Single Optin?
A double optin feature adds an additional step in the sign up process, where users need to verify their email address to be added to your list. The benefit is that double optin means your users should be more engaged, but there will always be an element of users who don’t complete the double optin process and are never added to your lists. I like to think of it this way – if people don’t complete the double optin process, then will they be all that committed to your content? Single optins can work best for short term gains, quick leads and time limited optins, but for longer term email list growth, double optins are a good idea.
The only way to be sure for your own list is to test both and see if either makes a noteable difference to your email list growth.
The GDPR Perspective
Everyone’s favourite four letter acronym – GDPR. In this age of consent, legitimate interest and ‘the right to be forgotten’, you need to have a process in place for managing your email lists, so that inactive subscribers don’t remain in your systems indefinitely. For most businesses, that means a regular check of your lists, removing inactive subscribers and knowing where your subscribers came from (did they optin to something, what was that and when did they optin to it, did they join the list as part of your purchasing process, did they optin by giving their consent that can be remove at any point, or did they optin under the legal basis of legitimate interest, which means you have a legitimate interest to market to them unless they unsubscribe etc). Most email marketing software will now keep this data for you, but for subscribers on your list pre GDPR (May 2018), be sure you have a record of how they got there, if not, remove them. And if they are no longer engaging, remove them.
There’s no joy to be found in hoarding subscribers, so be more Kondo and forget the vanity of subscriber numbers – focus on a smaller but more engaged list that opens your emails – now that really will spark joy!
If you’re looking to increase those open rates even higher – I’ve a free download to help you, just click here if you want to grab your copy.
And let me know if you’ve any questions about running your email campaigns or your email lists, happy to help.
Allison Christie is an online marketing expert, and helps businesses scale and improve their sales online via Facebook/Instagram Advertising, email list building and Pinterest marketing.