Ever thought about deleting your entire email list? No? Well, that’s exactly what pub chain JD Wetherspoon did in response to a data breach in relation to one of their email campaigns. As an email marketer you’re probably frightened at the thought of deliberately deleting your entire list, but at the same time, massive penalties for breaching email marketing laws are just as terrifying. While most of us won’t be deleting our lists anytime soon, we do have to educate ourselves about best email marketing practices - or face the consequences. By taking action now, you’ll dramatically reduce the risk that when tough data laws are passed, you’re streets ahead of the unprepared marketer. Not only does a clean list ensure that your data is compliant with strict data laws in the US and abroad, but it ensures that your message is reaching the people who are interested in hearing it. 1. Build Trust From the Get-Go Before you even start on the fancy list-cleanliness side of email marketing, you’ve got to make sure your fundamental email marketing building blocks are solid. It might seem like a basic thing, but you need to have a professional email address to send your emails from. Afterall 75% of customer believe that building trust starts with this basic building block “...a professional email address is the first step to prove you’re not a scam,” writes Jeremy Marsan, a business analyst from Fit Small Business. By establishing trust, you’ll be able to get and keep, the much coveted opted-in subscriber. If you want to avoid breaking laws such as GDPR, you have to make sure you’ve got the permission from your subscribers that they want to be subscribed to your list. This means ensuring that you’re subscribers have ticked an opt-in box that states they want to receive your emails. Double opt-ins are the best way to go for this. By having this in place, are you not only on the right side of the law, but you gain the trust of those on your list because they know you won’t be sending them unrelated emails, or selling their information on. 2. Integrate Your Apps Many businesses are using more than just an email marketing app, like Benchmark, to run their business. Your sales team probably has a CRM, marketing has another marketing automation tool, and customer care has a ticketing app. All of these apps contain prospect and customer data. But how can your email marketing list be up to date (and compliant) if say for example a customer emails customer care to unsubscribe, and customer care logs this but the data stays in their app? You could manually import/export this data, but that’s loads of manual work, and your lists are never really up to date. This is one reason to integrate your existing cloud business apps using a third-party platform such as PieSync, so that customer and prospect data are up to date and consistent across all business apps that you’re using. 3. Remove Duplicates Duplicates are truly a blight on any customer database. They deflate your email open rate and skew lead conversion metrics. Now, with new strict laws you need to be able to keep track of every record of your customers, but if you have “Robert Brown” in your email marketing registered as “Bobby Brown” in your CRM, you’re dealing with duplicate data, that’s difficult to detect. The best course of action is to dedupe your customer database. After you’ve finished integrating your apps together, it’s a good idea to take advantage of native deduping software. Most CRMs can detect duplicates, and Benchmark Email also has this feature. 4. Keep Data Fresh The days of keeping your legacy customer database to use for reactivation marketing campaigns forever and ever are over. Spring clean your customer database and remove old contacts. This will improve email deliverability, open rates, and reduce spam complaints. There are four types of customer emails you should prune from your email marketing list so that’ll it will stay healthy: confirmed bounces, soft bounces, hard bounces and contacts who have stopped opening your emails. Luckily Benchmark email has features in place that can help you easily cut these contacts out, so you can work with a clean email list. 5. Email List Verification You can use a service, such as Kickbox or BriteVerify, to send your list through list verification. While there may be an initial cost to doing this, you\'ll save in the long run. It will help you to reduce bounce rates and remove bad email addresses. It may also help you stay on a list plan longer without having to upgrade to the next level ... even while your list grows!
Fun fact: every day more than 200 billion email are sent all over the world. Long considered the granddaddy of digital marketing, the astonishing number of email sent every day just goes to show how relevant is email in this day age. There are many reasons why email is so effective. First of all, everyone in digital has an email address. More than Facebook or any other social media platform, email is the most ubiquitous digital platform for users. In fact, you cannot sign on to Facebook without an email address. Think of the potential reach you can have. Next, you are sure that the message is received and delivered. On other platforms, your paid advertising efforts depend on its ability to attract that audience. Email is a direct shot to hearts and minds of your users. Email is also an open platform. Nearly everyone can shoot out an email to a person. No one entity controls the ebb and flow of email, unlike Facebook or Instagram which are governed by algorithms that change on a regular basis. Finally, email is here to stay. Social media has a lifespan. Think of how many social media platforms have come and gone. Friendster and MySpace have gone the way of the dinosaur, forgotten relics of a bygone age. Snapchat and Twitter are both fighting for survival. Only one constant remains - the email. Given that, why is that most email marketing schemes fail? Most of the email you send to your email list are left unopened, contributing no clicks and no conversions. The biggest mistake email marketers fall into is sending their email with their offer to all the people in their list. They rarely tailor fit their email to their target audience, making the message lost in the hundreds of email received by a potential customer every day. The secret therefore to a successful email campaign is the concept of segmentation. You divide your email list into specific segments, and tailor fit your content for their consumption. This requires you to know your audience more. The great Sun Tzu once said that you must know your enemy as you know yourself. The more information you have on your target market, the better you can segment. There are many ways to segment your marketing. Here are a few: GEOGRAPHICAL 1) Location The most basic way to segment is by location. First of all, if you have a global market, then you can tailor fit your content by country, city and area to regional and culture idiosyncrasies. For example, here’s an email sent by Spotify, to their subscribers who follows and listens to LANY, Zedd and more – about their concerts near your area. Moreover, the concept of time zones come into play. There usually is a best time to send an email and each time zone has its own best time to send. Demographical 2) Age Age groups are a great way of segmenting your market. Age groups have different backgrounds and a different mindset. Generation Z is swimming in tech and digital, millennials are flighty and restless, Gen Xers are hard-nosed and to the point, and Baby Boomers yearn for nostalgia. Each age group has certain world views where you can make specific appeals to purchase. Here’s one example from an email campaign sent by Adobe about their promotions exclusively for students. 3) Gender The gender spectrum has multiple segmentation opportunities. Each ray of the gender spectrum has specific needs and wants and can be addressed directly in your messaging. As more and more people are open to the gender spectrum, with platforms openly acknowledging different genders, it gives you the ability to tweak your message for maximum effect. Here’s an example of an email campaign sent by NIKE, catering to women, young adults and age ranges from 18-26 years old. 4) Job Function Email can also be sent via job function. Gatekeepers like secretaries and personal assistants are great targets for segmentation because they control the flow of information to the decision makers. Getting on the good side of gatekeepers through thoughtful email can do wonders for your business. Here’s an email sent by HubSpot indicating a link to an article that talks about neuroscience for marketing experts. Psychographics 5) Persona Personality is a broad term, but you could also segment via personality. People who identify as introverts could be open to content about activities that can be done indoors. Gaming and e-books are a great marketing play for the introverted set. On the other hand, more outdoorsy offerings can be sent to identified extroverts. 6) Lifestyle Lifestyle is also a big segmentation opportunity. Take, for example, flight attendants. Flight attendants fly in and out of countries every day. This allows you to make offerings that are tied to the jet-set lifestyle. Hotel offerings with discounts for short layovers can be sent to flight attendants who want to rest and freshen up. These are the broad segmentations. You could segment on a more granular level. 7) Interests Subcultures are a powerful niche marketing segmentation. For example, Star Wars fans are more likely to respond to Star Wars content especially if you send that out on May 4 (May the 4th be with you). Behavioral 8) Past Purchase An old e-commerce marketing technique is to create market basket analysis. People who purchase one product usually end up purchasing another product and patterns begin to appear. Analytics can be used to create a basket of goods where you can target users who purchased one product with an offering for another product. If they are in the same market basket group, more or less you could expect a bigger chance for a conversion. 9) Buying Frequency E-commerce platforms could usually track how much a user buys over a certain period of time. A frequent buyer would be a great person to send a frequent user discount while a user that has not bought in a long while can be sent a welcome back offering. 10) Website Behavior Even website behavior can be segmented. Window shoppers, people who just visit a website but do not make a purchase, are great people to send promotions that will nudge them into making a purchase. This example was sent by ZALORA informing their subscribers that their favorite brands are on sale and encouraging them to make a purchase, again. 11) Email Engagement Email engagement is also a great segmentation opportunity. Non-openers and people who do not click are a good segment to cull from your email lists. If you have likely gotten emails from brands saying, “We’ve missed you!”. These were probably the brands whose email you have not opened in a while. A great example would be the email sent by Uber, to those riders who were not booking lately. Conclusion Email is one of the most powerful ways to engage your audience. But it will all be for naught if you do a shotgun approach to marketing. Segmentation with market-specific content will go a long way to improving your open, click through and conversion metrics. Are you having trouble dividing your email lists into more specific and unified segments? Does this article help you to overcome it? If so, let me know in the comment section below. We would be happy to hear from you!
Do you know the difference between Customer List Management and Customer Relationship Management? Did you even know there was a difference? For a long time, it’s been our job to show you the practical strategies to grow your email list, the best ways to maintain them and the benefits of doing both. Great marketing is customer-centric. The ability to do that comes from having the right tools for the job. Customer List Management plays a role but doesn’t include what happens outside of the inbox. That’s where CRM becomes so important. Benchmark CRM’s Project Manager, Paul Rijnders, spelled out the difference between Customer List Management and Customer Relationship Management on the Benchmark CRM blog. We’ll be introducing some of the posts from the CRM blog in this space that we think may help our email marketing audience as well. Check them out!
Your list is your most valuable asset in email marketing. Having a good quality list plays a huge role in the success of your campaigns and your deliverability, and you should make sure that you do everything you can to send only to valid email addresses. To help you understand the quality of your list before you send a campaign and make sure you don’t damage your reputation in the meantime, we run checks on every single list uploaded to our platform. What does this mean for you? Read on to find out. What are the benefits of list verification? Lower bounce rates. If you send to an invalid email address, it will bounce. The more bounces you have, the lower your sender reputation will fall, and a low sender reputation has a very negative impact on whether or not your emails go through to the inbox. You might not have considered how important your bounce rate is but ISPs, anti-spam groups and corporate email protection services all set thresholds for bounces, spam complaints and unsubscribe requests and they use this info to prioritise emails in the inbox. Additionally, if you get too many bounces, your ESP may suspend your account. Better sender reputation. It might help if you think of your sender reputation a bit like a credit score. If the results of a campaign aren’t very positive, then this will leave a negative mark on your sender history. Also, just like a credit history, once your reputation drops, it can be tricky to build it up again. Clearer campaign results. Verifying your list means that you’ll no longer be sending to undeliverable emails. With these removed, your open and click-through rates will be more meaningful. Save money. Verifying your list might mean having fewer subscribers on the list, but they weren’t valid email addresses anyway. Having fewer people on your list may mean being able to move to a smaller plan and this saving will help you make back the investment made to verify. What happens when I upload a list to Benchmark? When you upload a list to Benchmark, our system runs a statistically significant sample of it through email validation software to understand the quality of the list. From this sample, results are grouped into four categories: Valid: emails marked as valid have a valid account associated, and it’s safe to send campaigns to them. Invalid: It is not possible to deliver emails to these addresses. It may be that this address is no longer in use or that the format of the address is incorrect. Accept All: Sending to email addresses marked as Accept All is risky because the server has been set to receive all emails sent to a specific domain making the address seem valid at first. The company will have a firewall or other spam filtering tool in place though which may cause emails to bounce when you send your campaign. Unknown: The email looks ok, but the domain isn’t responding. We don’t know whether it’s not responding due to a temporary or permanent issue so sending to these addresses is also considered risky. Once the sample has been taken, your list with then either be accepted or rejected based on these results. If your list is rejected, it will be because too many of the addresses were marked as invalid, risky or both. If your list is rejected, then you will not be able to use it without verifying it first as, in its current state, you would receive an amount of bounces that would be damaging to your sender reputation. How can I verify my list? All customers on paid plans can verify their list with us. The process is extremely easy and hassle-free. All you have to do is send your list to your account manager or our support team, and we will do the rest for you. If you do not have a paid account, then we strongly recommend that you use BriteVerify, Kickbox, QuickEmailVerification or one of the many other good options out there to verify your list. There are many companies that offer email validation, but the quality of the technology used to determine the state of the address varies a great deal between companies. Your provider will determine if the syntax of the email address is correct (e.g. firstname.lastname@example.org) and it will then verify the validity of the email domain for the email address. Finally, it connects to the email server directly to see whether the email address exists on the server. What does list verification cost? The price we charge for list verification is very affordable at just $3 per 1000 emails. So I just verify the list once and then I’m done? Not exactly. It’s smart not to just clean your list and then leave it until you’ve got a sky-high bounce rate again. Verify your list at least once a year and use our in-platform clean list tools at least every 3 or 4 campaigns. Our clean list tool is included in all accounts and allows you to choose what you’d like to clean: confirmed and hard bounces, or people who haven’t opened a campaign of yours in X campaigns for example. To find this tool, click on the list that you’d like to clean and click clean list as shown in the image below: List verification is easy and makes both financial and email marketing sense. I hope this helps answer some of your list related questions. If you have any others, leave a comment below or contact your Customer Engagement Specialist.