A healthy email list is vital to any business. Thanks to bounces, unsubscribes and address changes, you can lose upwards of one-third of your list each year. If you’re not replacing churned email addresses with new active ones, your business can feel the impact.

Here are 15 tips to help you clean, maintain and grow your email list.

Remove or win back inactive contacts

Many email list guidelines recommend waiting for a full year of inactivity before removing a subscriber from your mailing list, but many providers now advise removing inactive email addresses after just six months of inactivity.

That said, it’s important that you try to engage a subscriber before removing him or her from your list. There’s a variety of ways you can win subscribers back or at least learn from their behavior before they go.

Tip No. 1: Send a “we miss you” email with a special offer or discount code to see if you can incentivize the customer to make a purchase.

Tip No. 2: Send a polite “fish or cut bait” email asking if they’d like to confirm they want to stay on your email list before you remove them.

Tip No. 3: Find out why they’re inactive. When you give your contacts a way to unsubscribe after a long period of inactivity, give them a one-click survey on your unsubscribe page to find out why they’re leaving. Too many emails? Irrelevant content? Not enough discounts? Use the information to keep the next contact from leaving. You can also include a similar survey on your unsubscribe confirmation page.

Maintain the working parts of your list

Tip No. 4: Mail your list at least once a month. It will keep your readers engaged, increase the likelihood that they’ll make a purchase or donation, and let you know (via bouncebacks) which accounts are no longer active.

Tip No. 5: There are some great tools to help you maintain a healthy email list. Kickbox helps eliminates bounces before you launch your email campaign by “scrubbing” your list and replacing it with a squeaky-clean version. Kickbox uses a real-time API to verify email addresses before it adds a subscriber to your list. It also detects disposable email domains, role-based email addresses (e.g., webmaster@, info@, support@) and low-quality addresses. All Kickbox users get 100 free verifications every day. What’s more, VerticalResponse users get a 10 percent discount for additional verifications.

Tip No. 6: You’ll also want to take a cue from your open rates. If 99 percent of your list isn’t opening your email, you’ll need to do some work on your subject lines and the timing of your emails (day of the week and time of day). Dasheroo allows you to instantly view key stats from your VerticalResponse emails alongside your other apps like Facebook, Twitter, Google Analytics and many more, all in one easy-to-understand business dashboard! And it’s free.

Tip No. 7: If you’re not already doing it, consider segmenting your emails based on purchases or links clicked. If you sell clothing and certain customers only purchase men’s clothing, they may not want to receive your emails promoting sales on children’s apparel. Likewise, if you sell pet supplies, you can divide your list into categories based on the animal(s) they buy for or are interested in.

Grow your list

Tip No. 8: One of the simplest ways to collect email addresses is with a sign up form on your website or blog. It’s easy to set up, and you don’t have to think about it once you created it. VerticalResponse offers sign up forms for free with every account.

Tip No. 9: You can also collect emails at expos or brick-and-mortar locations. Encourage visitors to drop their card into a fishbowl for a chance to win something. People understand that by doing so, you will include them on your email list.

Tip No. 10: Some retail stores have great success obtaining emails at the register when customers pay. You can offer incentives, such as discounts and promotions, for signing up.

Tip No. 11: Tatango allows new contacts to add their email address to your list with a simple text. Customers text your business’s unique word to 33733, and they’ll be asked to reply with their email address. You can add up to 250 contacts each month to your VerticalResponse email list.

Tip No. 12: Run a contest on Facebook, Twitter or Pinterest requiring participants to supply their email address to enter. Remember to follow contest guidelines for each social network.

Tip No. 13: Justuno is a tool that allows you to build email lists with incentive-based promotions. Using an instant offer widget, you can offer site visitors a coupon code or free download if they join your email list.

Tip No. 14:  Include a link to your sign up form in your personal email signature.

Tip No. 15: Collect contact information with Twitter Lead Generation Cards, which requires the reader to do nothing more than click on the call to action and then hit submit. The beauty of these cards is that the person’s name, Twitter handle and email address is automatically filled in for them. You can see how to set up a Twitter Lead Generation Card in this short video.

For more marketing tips for your business, subscribe to the weekly VR Buzz Newsletter.

Wendy Burt-Thomas is a full-time freelance writer with four books and thousands of published articles to her credit. Contact Wendy at WendyBurt@aol.com.

© 2015 – 2018, Contributing Author. All rights reserved.

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