If you’re like most professional speakers, your goal is to add as many email addresses as possible to your email list. After all, it stands to reason that more email addresses mean more prospective gigs. So, the thought of actively removing contacts from your list might seem completely counterproductive.
But it isn’t.
In fact, cleaning up your email list — otherwise known as “scrubbing” it — is a necessity. It can boost the impact of your marketing efforts and help you book more gigs.
Here’s why it’s important to scrub your email list and seven simple steps to do it.
The pitfalls of a deteriorating email list
Over time, the quality of your email list will deteriorate for a number of reasons such as:
- Your email subscribers will stop opening your emails
- Recipients stop clicking your links
- Contact information is outdated or inaccurate
- People decide to unsubscribe from your list
In fact, some statistics indicate your email list can deteriorate by as much as 30% each year. By that math, nearly a third of the new contacts you acquire this month either won’t want to hear from you or will be out-of-date by this time next year.
Why is this important?
Unengaged subscribers can have a negative impact on your marketing efforts.
Major email providers actually “score” your emails and assign you a “reputation” in their algorithms. The lower your reputation, the lower your score, and the more likely your emails are to end up being automatically flagged as spam.
Not only that, but you also run the risk of irritating people with unwanted emails.
By scrubbing your email list from time to time, you can ensure you’re actually reaching your target audience, leading to an increased open rate, a better reputation, a higher score, and more emails landing in inboxes.
And most importantly, you’ll have higher conversion rates and a more engaged community, which equates to more gigs, higher revenue, and increased overall customer satisfaction.
6 steps for scrubbing your email list
Scrubbing your email list doesn’t have to be complicated. You should make it into a simple process so that it’s easy to implement on a quarterly or biannual basis.
An email list scrub can be done in a few simple steps.
1. Watch for the telltale signs
The first thing you need to do is determine when it’s time to scrub your list. Keep an eye out for a few things:
- Decreased open rates — Your open rates are calculated based on the number of people that open your email divided by the number of people you sent your email to. Track your email marketing analytics and keep an eye out for a drop-off in open rates.
- Lower click-through rates — This term refers to the percentage of people who clicked on at least one link in your email message. If you see this decrease, that’s a good indicator that your engaged subscribers are decreasing.
- Spam complaints — People will often let you know if they don’t want to be receiving your emails, asking to unsubscribe or otherwise indicating they no longer want to receive your emails. If the volume of spam complaints you receive is getting higher, this is a sign that you need to scrub your list.
- Bouncebacks — When you get a notification that an email can’t be delivered, that’s called a bounceback. There are a number of things that can cause this, including typos in email addresses, inactive email addresses from people who have changed organizations or contact information, or spam subscriptions.
In karmaSpeaker, you can check the analytics of individual email campaigns and filter by contacts who didn’t open it, spam complaints, or bouncebacks to help you identify opportunities for scrubbing.
2. Prioritize your mailing lists
If you’re like many speakers, you probably have multiple different email lists. In this instance, start with your most active email lists but don’t neglect the others.
3. Remove duplicate email addresses
When you start scrubbing your email lists, the first thing you should look for is duplicate email addresses.
Believe it or not, people sometimes subscribe multiple times by accident. Having duplicates not only means you could be sending your email to the same person multiple times, but it can also skew your metrics by providing you with inaccurate data.
4. Look for email addresses that look fake
Spambots are automated computer programs that are built to find signup form code on your website or blog and submit fake information to your signup form. They can even click links inside emails.
People use spambots to gather information from the internet in order to build mailing lists for sending unsolicited emails. For a quick example, check your own spam folder. There’s a good chance that a lot of what you see there was sent as the result of a spambot.
To identify spam email addresses, look through your mailing list for email addresses that look fake.
While there’s no defined formula, you can probably intuitively spot them. They’ll often consist of a jumble of letters and numbers or look blatantly suspicious (like “[email protected]” or, for a real-life example, “[email protected]”).
Give your email list a thorough review for anything that doesn’t look right and remove it.
5. Remove people who have unsubscribed
This is critical. If people opt out of your mailing list, make sure to get rid of them immediately. If you continue emailing people who have explicitly indicated they don’t want to hear from you, not only are you wasting your time and efforts, you may also run the risk of irritating people and damaging your reputation.
In karmaSpeaker, email addresses can be added from multiple different sources. So, to combat the risk of a duplicate getting merged into one another, we recommend handling people who have unsubscribed as follows:
Add “no email” to the beginning of the email address
Change the status of the contact to “DO NOT CONTACT”
Tag of “do not email”
This way, in most cases if one of the fields is overwritten during a merge or added by accident, you’ll still have the other fields in place as a precaution.
6. Look for obvious typos
Check your email list for typos.
This might seem a bit silly and obvious but that’s exactly why you need to make sure you’re not falling victim to it.
This could be a missed or incorrect letter in a person’s name, a company name, or an email service provider. Even minuscule typos can cause email bouncebacks from people who actually want to hear from you, so it would be a terrible reason to miss out on that opportunity.
7. Consider sending a re-engagement email
If you’re not ready to give up on subscribers who simply haven’t been opening emails, you can try sending a re-engagement email before removing them from your list permanently.
Consider a title that inspires action, such as, “Do you still want to hear from us? Let us know!”
That way, if they don’t want to receive emails from you anymore, you’ve provided an opportunity to opt-out. On the other hand, if they do still want to hear from you, this might inspire them to get re-engaged and start opening emails again.
While it might seem like a tedious housekeeping task, scrubbing your email list can make your email marketing initiatives significantly more effective. By focusing your efforts on communicating with people who are engaged with what you’re saying and interested in what you’re offering, you significantly increase your chance of landing gigs.
If you have questions about how to get the most out of your karmaSpeaker account, just get in touch with our customer support team.