In this new technology age our consumers are expecting more. More personal journeys, more relevant content, more speedily and more on the go. The savvy subscriber is upon us and they’re typically so over-saturated by all of the other brands out there who are also fighting for their attention, that it now takes very little for them to become switched off with our communications if they’re not ticking all the boxes.
So how can we hold on to our subscribers and keep them interested in what we have to say?
Our 7 steps to success outline how to maintain your email marketing lists:
1. Keep it clean
The ‘health’ and cleanliness of your email marketing subscriber lists are central to your performance and ROI, so it’s really important to keep them clean. Maintaining great list hygiene will give you a solid foundation for maintaining your overall subscriber lists, by ensuring that masses of your data isn’t useless or switched off from your communications.
Start with building your lists based on clean data from reliable sources. This means avoiding purchasing contact data at all costs. Using a double opt-in strategy will help to ensure that new sign-up data is clean and vetted, and that the opt-in confirmed vs mistaken, to help avoid a quick unsubscribe or bounces.
When you do get unsubscribers, make sure it’s easy for them to complete that process with you, this could be via a preference center where the subscriber receives a choice on the types of emails they unsubscribe from or the reasons why they no longer want to be a recipient.
However, be cautious if using this approach, to not ask too many questions so that they can leave your list freely & easily without becoming frustrated and marking you as spam instead. We cover the topic of preference centers in more detail in tip three.
Further to just the list management side of your operation, good list hygiene also refers to how you treat different segments of your audience. To maintain your subscriber list count, make sure to segment intelligently. For example, don’t bombard the less-engaged subscribers within your lists, by avoiding sending them every single communication you have. Targeting this group with only every other email you send, for example, could make a big difference between them switching off and unsubscribing altogether, or hanging around to hear more from you.
2. Make new subscribers feel welcome
Operating a welcome program is the best possible way you can ensure that your subscriber receive a warm hello from your brand. It’s also a fantastic time within their journey with you, to ask for preference information which will be vital to make the future emails they receive from you as great as they can be.
Use a welcome email, or a series of welcome emails known as a welcome journey, to greet your subscriber, set a precedent for the emails they’ll be receiving (so they know what to expect and when) and to ask for more information to help them get the most out of your communications.
3. Go right to the source
Let your subscribers decide what they want to hear about, by setting their communication preferences with you. This can include what topics they hear about in their emails from you - preference setting - as well as how many emails they receive - frequency setting.
4. Content is King
Dynamic content, creative content, interesting subject lines… they’re all aspects of your email’s content that, if done well, will keep your subscribers coming back for more.
Investing time and resource into your email marketing content will ensure you later reap the benefits of a satisfied, engaged subscriber list. Plan ahead and use a content plan to ensure your email content is through-through and customer-centric, well-planned and executed effectively.
Use your data & insights from the reporting areas of your email marketing solutions, to inform the content aspects of your emails, ensuring you’re responding to your recipients peaks and troughs in engagement.
5. Stay true to yourself
Stay true to yourself and to your brand when it comes to your email marketing.
Your subscribers signed up to hear what you have to say, and they did so for a reason. Don’t play around with your messaging and content to try being all things to all people - mixing up your email focus will confuse your audience and make your brand unrecognizable to them. Stay aligned to your goals and your brand’s strengths, stick to a content plan and ensure you’re delivering what your audience asked to receive from you.
6. Claw back the ones you can
Before you’re prepared to let your non-engaged subscribers go from your list, try to re-engaged them back to your communications with a sophisticated re-engagement journey. A strong re-engagement journey will work to entice those unengaged recipients back to your active lists, by reminding them what’s so good about your communications and why they signed-up to hear from your brand in the first place.
But remember, it’s quality over quantity - if they want to unsubscribe, and they aren’t tempted to be hooked back in, just let them go. Sending to unengaged or uninterested subscribers will reflect in your stats & ROI.
7. Use your final farewell wisely
Finally, ask your unsubscribers why they’re bidding you farewell.
For those users who do decide to leave your mailing lists, take the chance to ask them why they’re unsubscribing as part of that final journey. This will give you vital information on what’s switched them off, which you can use to help inform your content plans and help to save the same happening to larger proportions of your list.
So there you have it, our 7 steps to success for maintaining your email marketing recipient lists, for a healthy and ROI-yielding email operation.
Read more email marketing insights over on the Ongage blog.