Today I had the pleasure of doing a surprise appearance on my good friend Ed Troxell’s daily “Ed Talk TV” live broadcast on Facebook. His topic was GDPR compliance, and I thought it was a great opportunity to talk about keeping your email lists clean and to share some of the tools that are available to help you with that task.
Many of you have email lists that you use in marketing your small business services, and you’ve undoubtedly spent lots of time exploring which messages to share with those lists and working on your email creative, but there’s another side to your email marketing that you may not be as familiar with – your sender reputation and list integrity. Before we go any further, go check your sender score. Think of it like a credit score – it’s one number that’s an indicator of the health of your email lists and the reputation you have with the ISPs and ESPs out there. If it’s less than 80, you’ve got some work to do. Aim for above 90 and start scrubbing those lists!
Multiple factors contribute to your sender reputation including:
- The volume and frequency of your sends (including the consistency of them)
- The quality of the content in your emails
- The code cleanliness and balance of content (image to text ratio)
- The number of recipients who mark your emails as spam
- Bad email addresses (spam traps)
- Bounce rate
And more! It’s a lot to comprehend, but there are some best practices you can start employing immediately to address all of these factors. Here’s your plan of attack:
- Stop sending to unengaged users – if they haven’t engaged in six months or more, remove them from your lists. You can either unsubscribe them or segment them out so you can market to them differently to try to re-engage them. You might try messages like the examples here. You don’t want your emails to fall into the “graymail” category of messages that ISPs funnel directly to the spam folder.
- Make sure you have good opt-ins. When a recipient gets an email and they don’t remember how they got on the list, the risk of them marking it as spam is much higher and that hurts your reputation. Get an opt in.
- If you’ve purchased lists or obtained them from trade shows or other sources that aren’t a clear opt-in for a specific purpose, run them through a list cleaning service like BriteVerify, or Neverbounce to make sure they’re all valid. After that, put some better practices in place to protect your list. If you manage it well, you shouldn’t have to rely on list cleaning services.
Managing your reputation is an ongoing task and this is just the beginning, but these practices will give you a good foundation for maintaining a good email reputation. No matter how great your creative is, it’s not doing you any good if it never hits the inbox!
It comes down to this: respect your recipients, send them content they actually want to receive, and listen to their feedback (silence is feedback too) and adapt accordingly. You’ll improve your reputation and reach more of your audience, which is what it’s all about. Happy emailing!