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How to Untangle your Email List

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Untangle your Email List

Is your Email Marketing List in a complete mess? You did so much work creating a list and growing your subscriber base but now, it is so tangled with duplicates, spammy bot subscribers and no structure to your audiences. Do you even have any idea why certain subscribers are on your list?!

You know you need to grow your list, and grow your list you have, but now is the time to turn that list into a group of fully engaged subscribers. Keeping the motivation for your email marketing high.

When your list is in a complete tangle, you can often see your open and click rates start to decline. This is a clear indicator that it is time for some untangling.

It’s not the size of the list

So after all that effort to grow your list, it may be disheartening to hear that it is not actually the size of the list that matters. It is all about the quality in your list. Building your list for the sake of having big numbers is not the way to continue.

Yes, you want a big list, but you want that list to work for you. That means you need engaged subscribers who want to hear from you, even buy from you or use your services.

You are much better off having a smaller list of people actually invested in what you do. Having a smaller, more engaged list keeps open rates high. The higher your open and click rates are, the more chance you have of your list working for you, even making you more money.

With a fully engaged audience, there is less chance of your emails ending up in spam folders. It may even reduce the costs of your email marketing software.

Your stats will also be more accurate. Your open and click rates are based on percentages, but if you have an audience full of unsubscribes, your percentages will be skewed.

So, how do you get a more engaged list? Get rid of the crap and segment the rest.

Say Goodbye to some Subscribers

How many subscribers are on your list that are not part of your ideal audience? How many of them have never even opened an email from you?

This is why it is important to clean up your list every now and then. You may need to set aside some pride about how large your list is before starting this process. Yes, it’s fantastic that you could grow a list to that size, but it is really worth it if 90% of subscribers don’t even open their emails?!

Start with the easy ones. Are there any bot subscribers on your list? Trust me, it happens. You can usually tell due to their email addresses or names. There may be a bunch of numbers in the email address or the email provider does not actually exist.

Then have a look for duplicate subscribers. Is there anyone on your list that was added twice? Is there anyone on your list who you know changed emails, has a business and personal email on your list?

Move onto the unsubscribes. Do you have a massive amount of people on your list that have unsubscribed? These people are still counting toward your subscriber total, but are no longer getting your emails, remove them.

And don’t forget about the bounced emails. Some systems will remove these subscribers for you, others won’t. Have a look at any emails that have bounced and delete them.

Untangle your List based on Engagement

Once you have removed all the obvious subscribers that should not be in your list, start having a look at your engagement. Break your list up into certain groups; those that have had no (or very little) engagement; those that have some engagement; and those that engage with your emails often.

Obviously, you want to keep and nurture the ones that always engage with your email content. It is the other two groups we want to focus on right now.

There are two options with the list of those that have never engaged with your email content. You could just delete them from your list straight away. But if you would prefer to give them one last chance, send them an email. It may seem counter-productive to send an email to your subscribers that don’t open their emails, but trust me.

Send an email that tells this part of your audience that it looks like they do not engage with the emails you send. Let them know that you will remove them from your list in a week (or whatever timeframe you wish). If they wish to stay on your list, they must engage with your email. You could simply put a button in the email that links to your website or even a thank you page. In the back end of your email marketing software you will be able to tell who has clicked on this link and you then remove everyone else once the timeframe is up.

What if they used to engage?!

For the last group, they may have engaged with your content a long time ago and have simply become less interested as time has gone on. Maybe they signed up to get some super awesome lead magnet but are not as interested in your regular stuff. First thing – this is perfectly ok. Some people just want the freebie at a certain time and then they move on to other things in their life. Some people are just not as aligned with your content as they used to be. We are fluid creatures who change over time. Do not take this to mean your content is no longer amazing and life changing (unless of course, ALL your subscribers are in this group, then maybe try to change it up a little).

Again, the solution is to send an email. This is more of a re-engagement email. Instead of asking them to click a link or you will remove them, remind then why they are on your list. Let them know about all the cool awesome stuff they will receive in future. But also remind them that there is an unsubscribe button in the email if they do not wish to see any of your future content. Again, don’t be scared if people unsubscribe, these are not your people.

Untangle your List with Segmenting

The other way of ensuring your list is healthy is to segment the list into relevant groups. Depending on your software, this could be done as separate lists, groups, segments or tags. Once you have a clean list full of engaged subscribers, keep them that way by sending them content they are most interested in.

I’m a big believer in having a less complicated list, so if you are using something like Mailchimp, I would only have one list. This stops subscribers from being ‘doubled up’ on more than one list. As well as counting as more than one subscriber in your subscriber total. Having too many lists can get messy as you start to use more and more automation or send more campaigns. And in some programs, you need to duplicate the sequences for each list.

You do need to look at the software you use though as something like ActiveCampaign works differently with their lists. I still prefer the easier option of simply adding or removing tags or groups from a subscriber rather than having to move lists, but as I said, it will depend on your software.

Whichever way you segment your audience, make sure it includes some reminder of why they are on your list. You can also include what they may be interested in seeing in future. Then you can send more targeted emails to keep everyone engaged in your content.

Let your Audience choose their Segment

In some cases, you can even have your subscribers decide which lists/segment they want to be in. Something like Mailchimp uses a segment called interests. You can use this on your landing page to gauge what your audience is actually interested. Then you can send more targeted emails. You can even send an email asking what they are interested in. This also means that people can remove themselves from a particular list or segment without removing themselves from the audience as a whole. Basically, segmenting themselves without you having to do the work.

Now that you have a nice untangled list…

You will get better results from your email marketing efforts. It is always nice to know that what you are doing is working and with an untangled list you are much more likely to see better open rates with a more engaged audience willing to take in all your glorious email content.

If the thought of even starting to untangle your list brings on some shortness of breath, don’t worry, I’ve got you covered. Get in touch and let me help get your email list tangle free.

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