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Building a massive yet useful email list is an essential part of email marketing. Having a list full of active subscribers ensures they’re not only engaged in your material but they want to continue receiving the information you have to offer.

But what happens if you notice a contact that consistently doesn’t open your messages? Or an address that results in a bounce?

As much as you may not like the idea, frequently unopened or bounced email addresses are a sign you probably need to remove someone from your email list.

Email list hygiene is vital for several reasons, so before we discuss how to remove someone from your email list, let’s look at why you need to be familiar with the concept.

What is email list hygiene?

Email list hygiene is vital to keep your email marketing list viable. Even once your list has been segmented into different groups, you should still review your metrics regularly to remove any bounced email addresses and unengaged subscribers.

In years past, the ultimate goal of email marketing was to have the most massive list possible but now marketers know the value of email marketing is in having the best quality list for your brand.

66% of marketers included in a recent survey said that they want to work on increasing their email list quality.

66% of marketers included in a recent survey said that they want to work on increasing their email list quality.

Source

If you’ve noticed an increase in bounced emails or a lower open rate, then your email list may be suffering from email list fatigue, which can be the result of a low-quality email list.

However, if you maintain list hygiene and still see poor engagement, it could be a result of repetitive messaging or sending content subscribers no longer find relevant.

While removing inactive or bounced email addresses from your list is absolutely vital, if you still see low engagement, you may also want to consider revamping your content to make sure it’s both interesting and relevant to your readers.

How to measure list hygiene

Measuring the quality of your email list can be done by carefully monitoring a handful of key performance indicators:

Open rate: The open rate is the overall rate at which your subscribers open your emails. Ideally, brands should shoot for an open rate between 15% and 25%. However, averages change depending on industry as well as region. For instance, US benchmarks differ from the Australia benchmarks.

Anything lower means you’ll need to reevaluate not only your email list but your email marketing strategy as a whole.

Bounce rate: The bounce rate is the rate at which your emails are returned as undeliverable due to any number of errors. It could have been due to incorrectly entering an address, or it could be something more severe, such as a poor sender score.

Engagement rate: The engagement rate of an email is the combined numbers of those who engage with the email and those who don’t. If your engagement numbers are low, you want to consider why.

The engagement rate of an email is the combined numbers of those who engage with the email and those who don’t. If your engagement numbers are low, you want to consider why.

Source

Does list hygiene really matter?

If your emails don’t perform the way you wish they did, or if you notice they don’t make it to the intended inboxes, then something isn’t working within your email marketing strategy.

Email list hygiene matters because a poor list can result in some severe repercussions. A poor list can tarnish your overall sender reputation and deliverability rates. Reviewing your lists and making sure you aren’t suffering from email list fatigue will help ensure that your emails are reaching active subscribers who genuinely want to receive your campaigns.

Keep a clean list using automated re-engagement campaigns.

But you don’t have to count every unengaged subscriber as an automatic loss. At least, not at first.

These subscribers once loved your brand enough to subscribe to your emails, so take the opportunity to remind them why they signed up in the first place with a re-engagement campaign. While you’ll retain some—though not all—of these subscribers, you can rest easy knowing the contacts you do lose were never going to bring in revenue for your brand anyway.

The great news is that it’s simple to run a re-engagement campaign to bring unengaged subscribers back into the fold while weeding out the contacts who are taking up your resources without giving you anything in return.

Here are the best tips to design your automated re-engagement campaign:

1. Decide on a time frame.

After studying your sales funnel or customer journey, you’ll need to decide a time frame of inactivity where your emails will have the most effect.

Send your re-engagement campaign too soon and your contact might think you don’t respect their busy schedule. Send it too late and you won’t see any re-engagement at all.

2. Give it your best offer.

When you design your re-engagement campaign, consider this the last stop for these subscribers. Give them your best offer to incentivize them back into the fold.

There’s a great opportunity here to include the offers that receive the most engagement from your list. However, if those offers haven’t worked for these un-engaged subscribers, try offering them something unique. For instance, if your subscribers prefer free shipping but that hasn’t motivated these subscribers to engage, try offering a percentage off or a special download of a premium content piece.

If this doesn’t get them to engage, nothing will and it’s time to say goodbye.

3. Provide access to their preference center.

While some people prefer hearing from brands daily, other subscribers want to hear from you once a week. Instead of trying to figure out which subscriber fits into which category, let them choose for themselves by providing a comprehensive preference center.

Keeping the preference center front and center in your re-engagement campaign proves you respect your subscribers’ packed inboxes. It shows you want to provide them with a great experience and you’re willing to listen to what they want.

Just be sure you follow through and email subscribers at their chosen cadence.

4. Put your best foot forward.

What inspires your subscribers to opt-in? Do you see the most subscribes on a particular piece of content or free download? Maybe the majority of your list subscribes through your buying process.

Either way, discover what inspires people to sign up to your email list and include similar content or information in your re-engagement campaign. That way your subscribers remember what it was they liked about your brand in the first place.

5. Automate it.

Believe it or not, automation makes your email marketing more human and the same is true for your re-engagement campaign. If you were to sort through your metrics to search out your inactive subscribers daily, you’d spend far more time than it’d be worth to run your re-engagement campaign.

However, establishing a trigger to automatically deliver your re-engagement campaign takes little to no extra time from you. All you have to do is set up your journey once and let automation do the rest.

side-by-side view of a first attempt at re-engagement, inviting to update preferences, and another showing last attempt before unsubscribing

How to remove someone from your email list

Removing someone from your email list is very simple, and depending on the email client or marketing tools you use, the process of removing them is relatively the same.

  1. Go to your contacts, lists, subscribers, or audiences.
  2. Place a checkmark by each contact you want to remove.
  3. Choose to unsubscribe, or delete.

Removing someone from your email list is very simple, and depending on the email client or marketing tools you are using, the process of removing them is relatively the same.

Source: Campaign Monitor

For marketing tools such as Campaign Monitor, there may be a few additional steps that you need to take in order to remove a subscriber.

  1. Enter subscriber email addresses into search fields.
  2. Select “Unsubscribe from all lists.”
  3. Confirm the removal of subscribers.

What now?

Once you’ve cleaned up your email lists and gotten rid of problem email addresses, you’ll want to work on properly segmenting your lists for user relevancy. Having segmented lists is key to personalizing your content for each of your readers. Check out our article on email segmentation and how it can benefit your email marketing strategy.

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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