Cleaning your email list helps your open rate report to be more accurate. Keeping a clean email list will also keep your email reputation high with the ISPs allowing you to experience more consisted and higher email delivery rates. Put those two benefits together and you have a winning combination of why keeping a clean email list is so important today.
11 Steps to a Clean Email List
Here are 11 steps to help you get ready for doing business online in the coming year. E-mail is still one of the great ways to stay in communication with existing clients and people whom might be interested in your products and services but are not quite ready to buy from you yet.
- Add your list of bouncebacks to a spreadsheet – Make a list in Excel with the first name and email address for every bounceback. If you’re using a commercial system, simply export this list for up to the past 6 months.
- Contact your email broadcast provider – Your objective is to ask them for the system email your broadcasts are sent from. In my case, I use an email and CRM web-based system called CloudNet360. The system email address is email@example.com. So, when someone signs-up for the Here Next Year Web Marketing Club Lifetime FREE level, I automatically ask them to whitelist firstname.lastname@example.org just to be sure they’ll receive everything from me.
You should do the same as part of your opt-in process, but for the point of this post, simply ask your email system provider what that core administrative email address is that should be whitelisted. You’ll need it for the email I’m about to suggest you write.
- Craft a brief email letter – In this letter, you’re going to want to say you’ve been trying to get your announcements, e-letters or e-zine through, but the e-mail keeps bouncing. Include that the email might be getting caught up in their spam filter. Of course, bouncebacks have nothing to do with spam filters. But, when you do Step #5, and send your individual emails, a few of the emails will get through instead of bouncing back. Expect this and include a message in that initial email asking your recipient to do something easy and fast. Checking their spam folder is something most people know how to do and they can do it quickly. What I’ve found is that once you get people to “do something,” like looking in the spam folder for past emails, they become engaged in helping you to try to find a solution to the problem. You can then expect them to reply, “Well, I checked my spam folder but nothing is in there from you. What else can we do?”
- Send your email to bouncebacks – This is the labor intensive part. Sending manual emails to 20 or 30 subscribers is no big deal. But, when you have 500 bouncebacks, well, that becomes a bit of a chore. But, if you have that many bouncebacks, you are already having other problems related to email that you might not even know about. Getting these bounceback emails double checked and out of your system will pay for itself many times over. So, bite the bullet and get those manual emails sent!
For example, I’ll use my CloudNet360 account to send member announcements when I’ve added a new tool or updated resource to the members Lifetime FREE area. But, to send a bounceback letter, I’ll use my regular e-mail client rather than CloudNet360.
- Watch for Review manually sent emails – Remember, you are going through these manual steps so that you can be assured the bounceback emails really are either dead email address or fake emails that were entered into the system. If they are dead emails, and there truly is a bounceback from being a dead email, you will receive a reply in your inbox that an attempt was made to deliver the email but the email address does not exist. you will get an email whether to just dump the e-mail address or contact the subscriber by phone if you have a phone number for them.
7) Start another Excel file and audit e-mails that have been sent over the past 3 to 6 months (it’s easier if you do this part every quarter) and make a record of those that did not bounce but were not opened either. Most people will only read 1 of every 3 or 4 editions.
8) Craft another “very polite” e-mail letter that has the tone of “just checking-in” to see if they have been receiving all of the e-mails. Strongly urge a reply. Make sure to direct them to your archive section. You do have an archive section I hope.
9) Send this e-mail letter from a method other than how you normally send your e- zine from which they are not opening.
10) Let a week or two go by and if you still haven’t received a reply, consider calling them on the phone to find out if those e-mails are getting through. If there’s still no response, and no changes in open rates, you may elect to drop them from your list in the future. But, don’t take them off immediately. There could be a similar spam blocker related issue preventing e-mails from consistently getting through. After all, not all mail servers are setup to send a bounceback.
11) Document in your contact manager system (Goldmine, Act) that you have deleted an e-mail address from your broadcast e-mail system. That way if the person ever calls you on the phone, you can pitch the importance of receiving your e-letter and get them opted-in again.
In Summary, it would be great for me to recommend that you audit your bouncebacks and non-opens every month, but it’s more realistic for me to suggest you take action with this every quarter. And, at absolute least, once a year.
Take action with this now and you’ll have a nice clean list for the beginning of any year or seasonal promotion period.