The Ultimate Guide to Email List Management 

The Ultimate Guide to Email List Management 

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Email marketing is far from dead. It’s still the most powerful tool your business can use to reach and convert customers, and here’s why:

Not only is email marketing the channel by which you are most likely to connect with and convert customers, but email lists are the most valuable asset that the internet has to offer. 

If the results of your email marketing efforts have been lackluster, chances are, you haven’t been doing it right. Email marketing databases naturally degrade by about 22.5% every year. This makes proper email list management essential for the success of your email marketing efforts. 

In fact, 40% of B2B marketers say email marketing is a critical tactic in revenue generation. It’s safe to say that the difference between them and the 60% who are unable to see the huge value of email marketing, is proper email list management. 

What is email list management?

Simply put, email list management is a combination of activities used to collect useful information about subscribers. Building out a systematic strategy around email lists helps businesses understand their customers better, ensures email viability, maintains clean lists, and avoids the 83% average churn rate

What are the challenges of email list management?

Several challenges make email list management a difficult undertaking. Breaking this seemingly simple task down into specific pain points to tackle one by one can help you incrementally improve the email marketing process from end to end.  

Personalization is King

Personalization is the process of utilizing the information you know about your audience into your emails through the use of dynamic email copy and an up-to-date database. Only 30% of brands make use of personalization when stats show that simply personalizing email subject lines can create as much as a 16% jump in open rates. 

The more information you can use to personalize your email outreach (name, location, device, title, company, technology, etc), the more likely you are to connect with your audience and convert them into paying customers. Personalization can help you double conversions. This can only be achieved through proper email list management. 

Data Integration to Measure ROI

Any marketer would tell you that the more accurate data you have about your audience, the better. But does that data inform the right systems within your business? Are the pieces of information you are collecting about your customers helping you paint a more detailed picture? Are your metrics aligned to successfully measure ROI?

Your business can only measure the impact of its activities by implementing a closed-loop marketing system that measures results. This can only be tackled by using data integration tools such as email list management software, email database management systems, customer relationship management tools, marketing automation tools, or sales automation tools. Additionally, experimenting with the segmentation process, and developing a solid content marketing strategy also help align your email marketing metrics. 

Email Deliverability and Avoiding Spam

One of the most challenging aspects of list management is the email making it into your customer’s mailbox. Email deliverability is based entirely on the validity and accuracy of the emails on your list. Factors that impact email deliverability include list hygiene, list size, frequency of use, and user engagement. 

Improving email deliverability reduces spam complaints through a combination of regular list cleaning, optimizing your opt-in process so that any new emails captured are truly qualified, and allowing subscribers to update their contact details. 

Subscriber Growth and Retention 

Your business’ subscriber list is one of the most valuable assets you can build.  Growing and retaining subscribers is essential to building your business database and sales pipeline. List cleaning is a recommended practice but results in a shorter contact list. Many businesses try to counter this data loss by buying email lists. This can have devastating consequences and should be avoided. 

To grow and retain a subscriber base requires a solid inbound marketing plan that creates, nurtures and converts leads. Earning subscribers works better than buying them. Provide website visitors with a clear call to action, build email content that speaks to your specific buyer personas. Optimize your email marketing strategy by testing what messaging works best for your audience. 

What is the risk of poor email list management?

The biggest risk of not managing your email lists from the get-go is that your business IP might end up on an email blacklist. When this happens, the emails sent from your email domain are marked as spam and end up in your customer’s spam folder rather than their inbox. It can also cause your 

Once you’re on an email blacklist it can be difficult to get off it. You must find out what went wrong, fix it, and contact the spam list that blacklisted you to tell them that the problem has been fixed. 

4 Email List Management Best Practices

Proper email list management relies on several best practices that improve deliverability, relevance, and likelihood of conversion. Here’s what you have to do: 

1. Address the Email List Source 

The first thing to be aware of when managing email lists is understanding the source where the email was captured. Here are examples of some of the sources and how they should be handled:

Existing Customer Base

These customers have purchased and used your product or service before and so are more likely to do so again, making them your most valuable list. They should be handled with the utmost care and any messaging created for them should consider their previous interaction and experiences with your brand.

Recently Acquired Leads

These leads come in through a combination of channels such as your company blog subscription, sponsored advertising, direct response advertising used during inbound marketing efforts, non-direct responses from people searching for your product or service, as well as non-converted direct responses who may have pain points that your product or service might help to solve. 

2. Ensure Proper Segmentation

Not every email campaign is created equal. Once you have acquired a substantial amount email list from your inbound marketing efforts, it’s important to segment it and identify specific personas within it. This dictates how your business speaks to the segment as well as what they are offered. 

For example, you might take one approach while emailing a list of end-users who care about the experience of using your product or service and how it can solve their pain points daily to achieve their goals. 

You might take a second approach for personas who act as decision-makers in leadership roles and are interested in seeing revenue increase through the adoption of your solution in their business. 

You also want a third approach for personas that are stakeholders in the decision to purchase your solution such as roles in operations or IT. While they may not need to use it directly, they might still have a role in the successful adoption of your solution within their existing business environment. 

3. Place Appropriate Checks and Balances

To successfully segment your lists, you must introduce the proper checks and balances required to make sure you have all the necessary information to be able to do so. Along with email quality assurance before sending, you should also conduct regular email health checks by cleaning lists as well as auditing your database. 

4. Define Email Key Performance Indicators and Benchmarks 

All your email marketing efforts are meaningless without the means to measure their results. Here are some of the main KPIs and benchmarks to consider while managing your email lists:

Open Rate

This is can be calculated by dividing the number of opens by the number of emails delivered and then multiplying the number by 100 to get the percentage. In 2020, the average open rate was 18% across industries.

Click-through Rate

This is the number of recipients who clicked a link in your email, divided by the total number of opens and multiplied by 100. Last year, the average click-through rate was 2.6% across industries

Bounce Rate

This is the percentage of emails that never made it into an inbox due to some issue. It’s calculated by dividing the number of failed email deliveries by the number of emails sent. This number is usually displayed by your ESP once a list has been sent and indicates the quality of the list. A high bounce rate means that the list needed to be cleaned to remove invalid email addresses while a low bounce rate indicates higher list quality. 

Unsubscribe Rate

This is calculated by taking the number of contacts who unsubscribe from your receiving your emails divided by the number of emails delivered and then multiplied by 100. This number is also displayed by your ESP once you send a list out and indicates the relevance of your messaging to the list. The average unsubscribe rate was 0.1% for all industries in 2020. 

Email list management is one of the most important undertakings in modern marketing practices. Setting up best practices around how you source, clean, and maintain email lists is an important factor in determining the success of your marketing efforts. 

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