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Optimizing Your Email List For Better Campaign Results

[Ed note … we inadvertently had a rogue HTML tag that caused part of a sentence to disappear. It has been corrected.]

Here are three questions that I get asked all the time:

• “How do we know that we have a good list?”
• “How do we maintain our list?”
• “How can we repair our list?”

Great questions! The challenge is that they don’t usually get posed until after resources and time have been spent on building email lists or after a marketing campaign has shown disappointing results.

No need to worry. If you follow the practical suggestions that I outlined in my last post, your list should be populated by recipients who will gladly receive and act upon your email because you have approached list-building as “relationship-building”. But, if you’re new to building online relationships or have inherited lists, here are some tips to help you out.

“How do we know that we have a good list?”

To determine if your list is good, answer these two questions:

Are Your Emails Being Received?

Look at your bounce rates. You should be aiming for a delivery rate of over 98% across all campaigns and all segments. Calculate this percentage by taking the total bounces and dividing by the total number of messages sent.

How Are Your Emails Being Acted Upon?

Of course, this is the ultimate test. If your list is strong – and you send content that is relevant to your audiences – you should see conversion rates that consistently increase over time. At the same time, you could expect to see multiple clicks per email. While this isn’t a definitive metric – because a poorly designed email might cause similar results – it can be one indication of a list of engaged recipients.

“How do we maintain our list?”

Like building a list, maintaining a list largely depends on your ability to sustain a valued online relationship. When you are content with the quality of your list, one way that you can preserve it is by sending a reminder to reconfirm recipients’ interest in your company/offerings/etc. For example, “In order to continue receiving your (INSERT PUBLICATION NAME), we must obtain a renewal consent from you. Click here to renew your subscription.”

“How can we repair our list?”

Finally, to repair a list, you should consider ‘sunsetting’ – a process whereby you methodically remove email addresses of those recipients who do not actively engage with your email. Of course, taking both of these steps will likely reduce the number of email recipients. But, since the quality of your list is not measured by volume but rather by engagement, your campaigns will be all the better for it.