E-newsletter list quality – what it is and why it matters

List quality

So, you’ve decided to do some email marketing.  You’ve got 5,000 opt in email addresses built up over 10 years. You’re ready to send out your first issue.

Oh no you’re not!

Unless you check and clean your contacts frequently it’s likely the quality of your list will be very poor. The results from your email marketing are very likely to be disappointing. With poor list quality you will waste money by sending it to people who have no interest in reading it or because their email address no longer exists.

It’s far better to have a high quality, smaller list of 1,000 emails than a low quality list of 5,000. A high quality list means your subscribers are more likely to be engaged by your content and do business with you at some stage.

Here are some simple steps to clean your list:

1. What is the age of each contact record? Ie. When was the record created?
A good rule of thumb is not to send to contacts which are more than two years old unless you can definitely say they are still active contacts. Most decent contact management / CRM packages automatically log a record creation date which will help with this task.

2. What is the relevancy of that contact?
Some small and medium-sized businesses I talk to don’t have an effective contact management / CRM system in place. For example they just pile all the contacts together into Outlook – business contacts, former work colleagues, relatives and friends.  If this is you, check if that contact is relevant for your e-newsletter before using it.

3. Personal knowledge.
Having actioned (1) and (2) above, scan the list and use your personal knowledge to decide if the contact stays or goes. Do they still work for that company? Are they still trading? Have they retired?

4. The final stage – having cleaned the list and before you send your e-newsletter.
When you first send the e-newsletter to your newly cleaned list, explain to people in the header why they’re receiving it and include at least two unsubscribe links. One in the header and one just below your sign off.
If they unsubscribe from your first newsletter that’s OK. It makes your list even cleaner and ensures you’re only sending to interested recipients.

Ps. As well as the explanation of why they’re receiving the newsletter in the header, another useful technique for your first edition is to include an engaging opening greeting.  Here’s an example from a recent client’s first newsletter.

We’re sending you this newsletter because we’ve met at some point in the past. Perhaps you’re an existing professional contact or we’ve met you at one of the many business networking events we attend.  Whatever the reason we’ll never knowingly send spam and hope you benefit from receiving this newsletter. Please unsubscribe here if you no longer wish to receive it.

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