Email List Management: 8 Best Practices for Maintaining a Healthy List

Successful email marketing is not just about getting more subscribers. It’s also about good email list management so you can maintain a quality contact list and get the most from your campaigns.

Whether you’ve acquired your leads using UpViral or done it the traditional way, read this blog post. Here, you’re going to learn what email list management is, why it matters, and how to do it properly.

What Is Email List Management?

Email list management describes the actions you take to ensure a healthy list of subscribers. Such actions include validating email addresses, segmentation, scrubbing off inactive contacts, and even running re-engagement campaigns.

A bigger email list isn’t always better. Not everyone on your list is truly interested in your content and product/service. Keeping dormant or unengaged subscribers is expensive, which is one of the reasons why list management matters.

What Makes A Healthy Email List?

“Is my email list healthy?” You might be asking this question yourself. Here are some telltale signs:

1. You grew that list yourself.

This means that you did not buy or rent your email list from third-party sources. You’ve built it organically. (Important: People from purchased lists gave their email addresses to someone else, so they’re not expecting to hear from you.)

2. High engagement rates.

Your subscribers interact with your emails. They open them, read, click on the links in your emails, and respond. A high engagement rate increases the likelihood of your emails ending up in their main inboxes.

3. Low subscriber churn rates.

Churn in email marketing refers to the number of unsubscribes you get within a period. While churn happens every now and then, a high churn rate could mean that they’re not engaged or are no longer interested in you.

Why Should You Do Email List Management?

Some businesses overlook the importance of managing their lists. Good email list management practices help with the following:

  • Avoid spending time and money on unqualified subscribers. These are people who have no real interest in doing business with you, as well as fake and invalid email addresses.
  • Email list maintenance allows you to track the results of your campaigns more accurately. You can get more reliable data from metrics such as open rates, click rates, and deliverability.
  • It reduces your spam complaints. Subscribers report an email as spam especially if it’s from a sender they don’t want to hear from. It’s best to avoid getting blacklisted for being “spammy” in the first place to protect your reputation as the sender.

8 Email List Management Best Practices

After you’ve gathered new leads, you’ll want to keep your email list healthy. If you need help with getting started, follow these best practices.

1. Get your audience’s permission to send them emails.

It’s best to send emails to people who have given their consent. This ensures that they’re interested in your emails. They’re more likely to open your emails and your chances of ending up in their spam lists are reduced.

Take a permission-based approach by complying with the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). This law protects EU citizens from unlawful use of their personal data. When it comes to email marketing, this means that every person should opt-in willingly before getting added to your list.

You can do this by adding a consent checkbox below your sign-up forms. It can say something like, “By submitting this form, you agree to receive marketing messages, updates, and discounts from [brand name].”

Also, see the sample screenshot below:

Image credit: ActiveCampaign

Michael Winter also used this strategy in his lead generation giveaway using UpViral. You can check out his case study right here.

2. Send a welcome email to new leads.

Welcome emails are an important part of email marketing. They create a first impression with your new subscribers. You can use your welcome email to accomplish many things. For example:

  • Formally introduce your brand as well as your products or services.
  • Ask them to whitelist your email address. Better yet, include a list of whitelisting instructions.
  • Encourage them to follow you on social media. This helps them stay updated and always connected to your brand.

Be sure to thank your subscribers and reassure them that they’ve made the right decision by joining your list. Also, tell them what kind of content they can expect from you, moving forward.

3. Ask them about their preferences.

Most people unsubscribe from marketing emails because these emails come too often. This data was revealed by HubSpot in their survey.

As an email marketer, reduce your churn rate right from the start by letting your subscribers manage their preferences. Create an email preference center where they can select their interests, choose what content they’d like to receive, how often they want it, and more.

Here’s an example from Litmus:

Image credit: Litmus

Check that your email list service features a preference center. After setting it up, link to it from every email you send. That way, subscribers can update their preferences any time and stay satisfied with your content.

4. Provide an option to unsubscribe and make it easy.

In case they no longer want your emails, don’t make it difficult for them to unsubscribe.

Michael Winter provided an option for his new leads to unsubscribe in the first email he sent. This was immediately after his UpViral giveaway ended. In the email, he wrote, “If you don’t want to keep receiving our emails, please feel free to unsubscribe. We understand that our products aren’t for everyone.” Then he placed an unsubscribe button at the bottom of the email.

By making the unsubscribe option explicit, they won’t be forced to tag you as spam.

💡Here’s a pro tip: Conduct an exit survey after someone unsubscribes. This survey can be the unsubscribe confirmation page – but it should be optional. Their answers will help you better understand why they’ve unsubscribed and how you can improve your email marketing!

Image credit: Keap

5. Personalize your emails.

Earlier, we’ve discussed creating a preference center as an email list management strategy. It’s also worth mentioning that preference centers serve as a starting point for sending more personalized emails. People can receive the kind of content they want when they want it.

Personalization leads to more satisfied users. It increases your opportunities to convert and make sales. Here are some email personalization tips to implement:

  • Address your recipients by their first names. Make sure that when you do lead generation, you include a field for their first name and not just their email address.
  • Segment your email list. Group your contacts based on certain qualities/segments, such as their geographic location, engagement level, previous purchases, or where they’re at in your sales funnel.
  • Use email automation. This is especially useful for updating subscribers about their recent purchase or the status of their shipment.

6. Run a re-engagement “win-back” campaign.

Have some of your subscribers stopped interacting with you? Don’t remove them from your list just yet. Consider running a re-engagement campaign first. This campaign involves sending a series of automated emails to hopefully win them back.

You might be wondering, “How long should I wait before I start sending out re-engagement emails?” Based on the results of ActiveCampaign’s survey, a healthy waiting period is from 31-60 days.

Image credit: ActiveCampaign

There are many ways to re-engage inactive subscribers. One technique is to let them know that you’ve noticed their inactivity and stuff they’ve missed out on. See how SurfStitch does it:

Image credit: HubSpot

You can also send them an email, letting them know that it will be the last time they’ll hear from you. Then, include a call-to-action button for them to stay subscribed. You could even entice them with discounts to rekindle their interest in your brand. Feel free to get creative.

If they remain inactive despite your best efforts, that’s the time to unsubscribe them from your list.

7. Do email validation.

Email validation or verification is the process of ensuring that every email address on your list is real and high-quality. Because in many cases, people misspell their email address, enter a disposable email address, or use a fake one.

If all your subscribers are valid, then you can be sure that your email marketing campaign is accurate. And again, this will save you money since you’ll be sending emails to fewer, but real people – thus lowering your storage costs.

8. Conduct A/B tests to determine the performance of your emails.

Last but not least – test how your emails are performing. Conduct A/B tests or split tests in which you create different versions of an email by changing just one element.

You can test anything from your subject lines to the tone/length of your email copy to your visuals. Remember: Small tweaks make a big difference. Also, keep in mind that not all tests will increase your conversions right away.

But as you learn over time, you’ll have a better understanding of what works best.

Final Thoughts

Maintain a clean and quality email database by practicing email list management. If you follow these strategies, you’ll have happier subscribers, more reliable data, enjoy lower costs, and better reputation and deliverability. This is a must-do for long-term email marketing success.

Still at the stage where you need help with growing an email list? It’s never been easier and more effective with UpViral. Try it today for $1.