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In a world of TV trends and Netflix binging, tidying up is taking priority in the lives of many. And while most of us may see the Marie Kondo trend as a healthy, self-loving approach to organizing our material lives, there is definitely something to be said for applying the Kondo way to email list cleanup.

Standing behind this less-is-more mindset is a best practice that not only promotes email list tidying but truly enables marketers to take part in these engagement-driving detoxes.

If applying the Kondo approach can ensure consistent and organized material lives, imagine how successful the bond between data privacy, GDPR, and digital marketing would be if we emulated that lifestyle approach in the marketing world.

Consistent engagement, relevant subscribers, and a tidy, organized list? That sounds like a recipe for some seriously healthy growth.

In this post, we’ll walk you through four ways to Marie Kondo your email list. And yes, they all involve sparking joy.

1. The emergence of personalization

Personalization isn’t just fancy jargon email marketers like to throw around in conversations. It’s a tried-and-true method that actually works—so well, in fact, that businesses have reported a 760% increase in revenue from segmented, personalized email campaigns.

Marie Kondo stresses the importance of finding a place for everything, giving each item accessibility and relevance. You wouldn’t want your wedding photos hiding out in your storage unit where they can’t be enjoyed or even remembered.

The same goes for subscribers. Excluding large groups of readers by ignoring their interests and pushing irrelevant content in their faces is the Marie Kondo equivalent of shoving a box full of photos into a dark and musty corner.

Find a place for everything and find a place for everyone. Each of your subscribers is on their own unique journey, which is why personalization really works. Customizing the customer journey pulls subscribers out of storage and makes them relevant again.

The first step to successful personalization is gaining a deeper understanding of your customer. After all, personalization is only as good as the information you have on your subscribers. This is obviously where a great CRM or analytics platform comes in handy, so you can define your customers’ actions across multiple browsers and on multiple platforms.

Using that in-depth data, you can create a unique segmentation of your customers, using their specific behaviors. With that information, you can build much more personalized messages like the one shown below.

This email gives personalized recommendations to the subscriber

2. List cleaning that sparks joyful metrics

There’s an urban email legend floating around out there, taunting us with the idea that larger lists produce better metrics. Let’s put on our Marie Kondo thinking hats for just a moment and consider that logic.

In the Kondo world, more is never better. In fact, “more” is just shorthand for “more stress” and “more problems.” And in a post-GDPR world, “more” could mean sacrificing your engagement to meet the requirements of an inflated myth about large lists.

Long gone are the days of list buying—and for good reason, too. Sure, it might be nice to brag to the rest of the email community about massive numbers of subscribers. But what’s a large list if no one opens your emails? Well, it’s a waste of money, for starters. Not to mention, it kills deliverability rates and can be in stark contrast to data privacy laws, like GDPR.

Like Kondo, privacy regulations put tidying up at the forefront, instilling better habits and best practices in marketers around the world. A Marie Kondo lifestyle organizes our materials and puts them into places where we can see them. This keeps us from continuously spending money on things we didn’t know we already had.

Email list tidying follows a similar approach, putting the subscribers you need into the places where you can see them, preventing large and unnecessary spends on email campaigns that will never get read.

And with a clean list full of relevant and engaged subscribers, you can be certain you’ll see some feel-good metrics that leave the metrics of large (but unhealthy) lists in the dust.

Sending re-engagement campaigns is an awesome first step in tidying up your list. Instead of saying goodbye to the disengaged, try to get their attention again. Winning back subscribers is much cheaper than searching for new ones. Plus, when certain readers still aren’t interacting after your re-engagement, you’ll know exactly who to remove. Think of it as the difference between the blouse you’d love to wear every day versus the one that’s sat in your guest room closet.

A simple “we miss you” is the perfect way to get the campaign rolling and also helps you showcase to your customers what they’ve been missing out on since they’ve been gone.

This email from Skillshare is a great example.

Skillshare – Re-Engagement Email – We Miss You

3. Eliminate the clutter that’s not compliant

There’s a reason behind Marie Kondo’s claim to fame, just as there’s a reason behind marketing regulations.

Things felt messy and people felt unsure about that mess.

Much like Kondo-ing your lifestyle and clearing up the unwarranted junk that consumes and controls our lives, GDPR set out to tidy up marketing practices, taking into account the consumer’s idea of a clean and appropriate approach to data privacy.

Piling all of your possessions into a large, overwhelming heap and then sorting through those items to eliminate the things that no longer carry value is an understandably intimidating process. After all, we tend to identify with our possessions and become the things we hold onto.

The same can be applied to the enforcement of GDPR and the pressure that marketers felt at that time. There it stood, an entire career’s worth of work, piled into a heap in front you. And now you’ve been asked to eliminate portions of your hard work that no longer meet new privacy standards.

But as we round the corner of the one-year anniversary of the GDPR drop date, we can see that the evaluation and elimination of many practices is necessary for the upkeep of data privacy.

Evaluating and tidying up your lifestyle enables you to become a healthier, less-stressed version of yourself. This changes how others view you. Evaluating and tidying up your marketing practices produces a similar outcome: a smarter, healthier marketer with a trustworthy reputation that consumers can rely on.

Before, we spoke about re-engagement campaigns and locating the subscribers who do and don’t spark joy. The next step—and the step that will help you become that smarter, healthier marketer—is taking that heap of newly engaged subscribers and sorting them into segments.

Segmenting your list simply means dividing your subscribers into more condensed groups, which will ultimately increase engagement. Each of these groups should share similar demographics, or like-minded behavior, such as past purchases.

For example, a shoe store might segment their customers into tennis shoe lovers and high-heel fanatics. Each of those groups will receive emails that focus on the specific types of shoes they prefer. Check out this example from the Swiss running shoe company, On.

shoe recommendation based on subscriber preference

The more relevant the email is to a subscriber and their interests, the more likely they’ll be to interact with it.

4. Rinse, repeat

Tidying up is not an exclusive, one-time event. KonMari takes multiple evaluations to ensure consistent life organization and, in the case of email, proper list hygiene.

Following the Marie Kondo way also means coming back around from time to time to re-tidy your space and start again with a fresh slate. Applying this rinse and repeat method to email list cleaning is a guaranteed path to consistent engagement and relevant subscribers.

After a healthy rinse, you have full authority to sit back and witness the benefits of applying KonMari to your list hygiene efforts. Just be sure to stick to your Kondo-ing gut and re-evaluate when it’s time to tidy up again.

A great way to ensure the rinse and repeat method is to utilize automation. Sending emails in a timely manner is crucial to keeping subscribers engaged. Automation helps you send emails to the right readers at the right time—and you don’t even have to be at your computer to do it.

Take a welcome email, for example. When a new subscriber joins your list, you can set up an automated trigger that will direct a premade welcome email to that new subscriber. This welcome email from Sephora is a great example.

welcome email example with many options from sephora

Additionally, welcome emails set you up for better list keeping. Once automations are set up, it will be easier to separate the engaged from the unengaged. Using automation once again, you can target the quiet subscribers to spark re-engagement or find out if you need to remove them from your list.

Wrap up

Marie Kondo is opening up new levels of conversation when it comes to tidying up our material lives. Marie Kondo-ing your list leaves you with room to practice email marketing in a more effective way, offering these worthy benefits:

  • Finding a place for everything and everyone with personalized, relevant messages
  • Condensing your list to activate hidden subscribers and produce quality, positive metrics
  • Evaluating your marketing techniques and making adjustments to prove your reliability and legitimacy to readers
  • Taking time to re-evaluate your processes and make the necessary changes to tidy up again

Using the KonMari approach, marketers can also learn to tidy up their organization’s operations, step in line with privacy best practices, and approach a cleaner, healthier email list.

This blog provides general information and discussion about email marketing and related subjects. The content provided in this blog ("Content”), should not be construed as and is not intended to constitute financial, legal or tax advice. You should seek the advice of professionals prior to acting upon any information contained in the Content. All Content is provided strictly “as is” and we make no warranty or representation of any kind regarding the Content.
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