List Health and You

You exercise, eat well, but how are you maintaining your email list health?

It’s likely that some of your contacts will change interests, jobs, or email addresses and will become disengaged with your emails. Your task, if you choose to accept it, is to regularly clean out your contact list, improving your email marketing scores and list health. Good health is important for your list, it’s also important for your budget. 

Email List Health
“Email List Heath” is a common term in the email industry. We prefer it to “email list hygiene”… but you get it.

Email providers are becoming increasingly savvy to the type of content recipients want to see in their inboxes. They have responded accordingly to control spam and unwanted emails. Email service providers track and quantify the number of emails opened, the number of unsubscribes, and general inactivity to determine an algorithm for inbox placement.

A “clean list” means that you have a better chance of getting your emails delivered. You want to make sure that when your subscribers grant you permission to send them email, that you deliver on what you promised, which in turn will help you earn their loyalty. But even engaged subscribers may change their behaviors over time. These formally interested subscribers can become unengaged and begin to hurt your list’s overall performance, so it’s vital to keep tabs on yours to maintain a healthy email list.

Sending emails to nonexistent addresses or to spam folders dings your IP reputation. It’s a vicious cycle: a lower reputation results in lowered deliverability, and even fewer emails actually reaching your customers.

If you’re facing the challenge of getting your emails delivered to subscribers, it’s crucial that you clean up your email list. This is not a one-and-done solution. It’s a business practice that you need to do at least every few months.

The healthier your list, the higher your open and deliverability rates will be. One key factor in maintaining a healthy list is your sender reputation. 

What is Sender Reputation and How is it Calculated?
Email Providers (like Google, Yahoo, etc.) determine your organization’s email reputation score based on how your subscribers interact with your emails. The higher the score, the more likely your emails will be delivered. If the score falls low enough, emails will go to spam or be rejected.

When is it Better to Have Fewer Subscribers?
Did you know that if enough subscribers stop engaging with your emails it inevitably causes more harm than good? The success of email campaigns should not be measured by the number of subscribers. Instead, it should be measured by the quality of subscribers.

Subscriber Actions that Hurt Sender Reputation
There are a few obvious things that can cause this score to go down, like reporting an email as spam or sending emails to undeliverable addresses. There are also some actions (or non-actions) your email subscribers take that can cause your score can go down.

These include:

  • Unsubscribing
  • Deleting emails without opening them
  • Receiving emails but never opening them 
    • Beware the Non-Responders While we get that, in general, bigger is better, that is not the case with email list health. In addition to actively seeking and removing “bad email contacts” like those that hard bounce, you’ll want to take a look at the non-responders on your email list. If people aren’t engaging with your messages, stop sending them emails. ISPs look at engagement metrics to help determine delivery, so non-responders will hurt you in this regard.

When to Remove Subscribers
It’s important to protect your sender reputation by periodically removing unengaged subscribers. Engagement is defined as opening an email in the last 120 days. Re-engagement campaigns containing special, targeted offers should be sent when a subscriber hasn’t opened an email in a 6 month to one year period. Subscribers can start to be removed after re-engagement campaigns are sent and certainly after one year.

If your list contains subscribers who have not engaged in several years, these addresses should be removed without the need for a re-engagement campaign. They are generally dormant email addresses and removing them from your list will give your sender reputation an immediate boost and make sure your content is delivered to your most engaged and valuable subscribers.

When to Call in the Experts (that’s us) 
As your digital marketing efforts grow, so does your list and so too does your responsibility. FootSteps Marketing knows how time-consuming and difficult managing a list can be; that’s why we have a team of experts ready to help you whip yours into shape with a variety of options. Our favorite is the tried and true Re-Engagement Campaign. We’ll help you audit your list, build an email marketing campaign that will inspire those unengaged to either open or click the email and stay on your list or be kindly removed. The better your ratio of engaged to unengaged email contacts you have on your list, the better your campaign scores will become and the more successful your campaign will be, driving revenue and footsteps through your doors.

We’re here to help you make your hard-earned contact list healthier and your campaigns more successful.

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