15 March 2016 - Sharon Beilis

 When it comes to email marketing performance, who you know is often more important that what you know. Said another way, email marketing best practices about when to drop campaigns, which CTAs to include (if at all), and which email vendor to use are much more effective when coupled with good list hygiene.

Cleaning up your email marketing list ensures that your sender reputation is maintained and that ISPs do not block your messages. The higher your reputation, the more of your message get inboxed. The more messages are inboxed, the more messages will be opened. The more messages opened, the more will be clicked… and on and on.

Improving email performance, therefore, must start with good list hygiene.

1.Unsubs are just the beginning

As a good, law-abiding email marketer, you offer your subscribers a clear “unsubscribe” link and you immediately remove those who do from your list. But a clean list is not just one that is scrubbed of unsubs. You should also regularly filter any inactive subscribers, those who have not opened or clicked any of your messages in over a year.
You may want to try sending a last attempt to re-engage. Perhaps offer a discount or an invitation to a special event to see if the user will engage. Alternatively, you could be direct and send a message asking users to confirm their intent to stay on the list.
Do not remove those who remain inactive after your final attempt, but add them to an “inactive” segment and include them less often than your active subscribers.
By doing so, you will help your sender score, and, while your total subscriber count may be reduced, other (more important) KPIs like open rate and click rate will improve (which will help your reputation).

2.Email addresses are not all created equally

Some subscribers will opt in to your list with fake, harmful, or invalid email addresses. Check your list in a pre-send protocol and eliminate any of these:
• abuse@
• admin@ - This includes addresses that have "admin" embedded in the address, such as listadmin@, serviceadmin@, etc.
• all@
• everyone@
• ftp@
• @googlegroups.com
• investorrelations@
• jobs@
• marketing@
• media@
• noc@
• postmaster@
• prime@
• privacy@
• remove@
• request@
• root@
• sales@
• security@
• spam@
• subscribe@
• usenet@
• users@
• uucp@
• webmaster@
• www@
• @yahoogroups.com
Consider also using a tool like BriteVerify or DataValidation that will verify the email addresses on your list before the send and reduce bounce rates.

AccuWeb Hosting compared Top 10 Bulk Email Verification and Validation Services and you can check them here

3.Segment and personalize

Amateurs add a {FIRSTNAME} personalization in their message. Beginners add the same field in the Subject line. Email marketing experts understand that personalization is not just about adding the user’s name. Begin personalizing email content like a pro by using dynamic content feeds to deliver pertinent information to every user is every segment and create a relationship in which your subscribers actually look forward to receiving your messages.

These three tips: removing unsubs and segmenting inactives, validating email addresses, and personalizing your content for each segment are guaranteed to improve your sender reputation, inbox placement, open rate, click rate, and email marketing revenue.

Try it today and let us know how it goes for you.