List hygiene matters: Get started on spring cleaning

List Hygiene

By Karen J. Bannan,

As email marketers, it's easy to remain focused on the next campaign, forgetting that the success of it and of subsequent efforts rests significantly on the quality of subscriber lists.

“In a perfect world, we would all constantly clean our lists of inactive subscribers and bad email addresses; but it seems to be one of those things that falls by the wayside,” said Stacy Hayes, business development director at email service provider GraphicMail. “The problem is, if you don't maintain your list, you're working hard instead of smart—jeopardizing your relationship with the ISPs and lowering your deliverability.”

Hayes suggested these tips to help you get started with a spring cleaning of your email marketing list:

  1. Be careful about who cleans your lists. If you do opt for an outside service, read your agreements very carefully, Hayes said. You may be signing away more than just bad email addresses. “There are a lot of companies that offer list-scrubbing services—from “some guy' in his basement to giant corporations,” she explained. “Be mindful of who you share your data with. They might be utilizing your data for their own mailings.” And don't overlook any ESP list-scrubbing tools, which are often free and easy to use, she said.
  2. Ask for unsubscribes. It may seem counterintuitive, but marketers may want to try sending out an email asking people if they'd like to opt out of email marketing, Hayes said. If someone isn't opening or engaging with your messages, let them take themselves off your list, she said.

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