By: Kimberly Lynch
Kimberly Lynch

The Secret to Email Marketing: List Hygiene

email marketing, list segmenting, inbound marketing

When it comes to email marketing in today's world, there is a fine line between spamming your audience and sending the right email at the right time. We all know sending personalized emails are more effective (actually, six times more effective). But what you probably didn't know, is that despite this fact, almost 70 percent of businesses are still failing to use them. 

As someone who spends a lot of time behind the scenes drafting all variations of emails and newsletters, and often being on the receiving end of any negative backlash from an email send - I'm going to share a little secret with you. 

If you want your emails to be successful - start by sending them to the right people.

Here are four ways you can make sure you are hitting the right audience at the right time, without creating any extra work for yourself or spamming the inbox. 

Identify Your Audience

Start by identifying your persona or target audience. Often, an email is drafted with the intention of hitting a certain audience at a certain time. Your audience will determine the day and time of the send as well as what type of messaging you'll want to use.

Free Resource: If you don't have any buyer personas yet, use this template to help you get started.

Then, the classic follow-up question is, "What is the best day and time to send my email?"

The short answer is there really isn't one. The average email inbox has become so inundated over the last decade that the best way to determine the day and time of your email sends, is to do some A/B testing and figure out exactly what your persona responds to the best.

In the mean time you can do some research and be sure your first email send is executed with your best educated guess.

Segment Your List

Pop quiz readers: By now, you have your email drafted and ready to go. You know who you want to send it to and when. Do you include everyone on the email list and just hope for the best?

I sure hope not.

One of the key components of a successful email send is pulling out - or segmenting - the people you absolutely want to make sure you reach. This can be executed a number of different ways, but I find the most common way is to do it by persona. 

Scrub Your List

I'm sure you have all heard the old adage, "You put in crap, you get out crap" - or something to that extent. Well, that same concept holds true in email marketing.

Before you make any attempt to send an email, take a hard look at the intended recipients and get rid of contacts that you know won't convert, such as family members, competitors and past employees. Not only will you save yourself from a terrible email send, but you'll also improve your open rate and click rates.

As a note, always remember that your first email send is another way of weeding out bad contacts. So, don't be disheartened if you have a good number of hard bounces or unsubscribes from your first send.

Look at Your Data

Once you've gotten through your first couple of email sends, look at the data associated with those sends. By doing this, you'll be able to identify which emails had high open rates and high click rates and performed well overall.

You'll also be able to see which emails didn't perform well, and have a chance to go back and determine what might have cause a low performance. Was it the time of the send? The day? Maybe you need to clean your list up a little more?

Once you've identified your "winning metric" for the personas you are reaching, and keep in mind they will be different for each persona, you will be able to keep using that approach in future email sends. 

Final Thought

Email marketing can be a little daunting, especially when it's your first go around and you don't want to spam your contacts. But if you follow these four steps, chances are you'll feel much better about your first email send and all the sends following. Good luck!

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