#1 The Dirty List
This week, I took on the unusual job of "cleaning" a client's email list.
At a glance, you'd think nothing was wrong with it. He has over 5,000 susbscribers, after all!
But when I dug into the analytics, I found that only 413 of those 5,000+ subscribers had opened ANY of the company's last FIVE emails.
What does that even mean? And how did this happen?
Well, like so many things, it doesn't happen overnight. No, it happens slowly and unexpectedly. But as surely as the tiny sips of bourbon during a really good conversation ... it can go south REALLY fast.
Like one's bourbon and the dishes in the kitchen, you've got to stay on it. I'll tell you HOW in just a minute.
But first, this kind of thing makes me REALLY question all the fancy stuff "experts" recommend we do for our opt-ins. Giveaways, contests, quizzes .... LOTS of throwaway emails just to get the "free thing" ...are these the emails we really WANT?
Put aside that all those emails were costing the client $75 more per month than a clean list would.
They were also seriously skewing his data! Because our email list is the foundation of ALL our social interactions. It's like the flour in your cake. It doesn't really matter how much vanilla you add, if the batter's bad, you're in trouble.
#2 The Sick List
And then there are the lists of every size - big & small - that are just unused.
First of all, the SPAM laws are pretty intense these days. If you haven't emailed your list in a while, you may have trouble even USING it.
And even if you get past that hurdle, it's more likely to end up in a Spam folder. Or, more likely, the recipients won't remember who in the world you ARE (Felicia).
Think of your list as that gallon of milk in the fridge. You gotta use it... or it'll make your list sick.
How often, you ask? AT LEAST once a month. Depending upon the nature of your business - I recommend weekly or every two weeks. If you're reviving a dormant list, start with bi-monthly and increase mailings according to the response.
#3 The MEH List
Now this may shock some of you, but if you're not getting Unsubscribes, you may not be emailing content that matters to your subscribers.
I want your emails to be so full of YOU that I either want to stay on or get off. And I want to be able to make that decision pretty quickly.
If I'm not engaging or unsubscribing, I'm not interested enough in your content to do either (and these actions are EQUALLY valuable, I promise!). In sum, I'm ignoring it. And that's pretty much the same as not being on it. See?
How To Clean Your List
A. THE PURGE.
Run a report for any email address that hasn't opened ANY of your last 5 emails (In MailChimp, for example, this is done via Segmenting). Wish them well as you delete them, and do your good deed for the day - liberate their inbox and YOUR data.
Do this every 3 months. It feels like having a freshly-mopped floor.
B. CHECK YOUR OPT-IN.
C. LOOK AT IT.
There is SO much information in your list. I am NOT kidding. Look at who's opening every email. Twice. Tweeting & sharing it every time. They like you. Your next sale, testimonial, affiliate or best friend is as simple as reaching out to them.
Every list has an analytics/reporting function. Devote an afternoon to it... and do more for your network in an afternoon than you could ever do chasing the viral Instagram post.
No matter how excited and creative I get about everything else online, my email list remains my #1 priority.
It's not flashy, by any means. But it's a serious barometer on everything I'm doing. The quality of my email list tells me WAY more about the health of my business than response to any GIF I could ever make.
The Really Important Part:
Write the Way You Speak. There is NO reason or advantage to putting on airs when you email. If I were buttoned-up online, I would attract people who would be HORRIFIED with my sailor mouth, tangential analogies, and the you-need-to-hear-this thing I do when I'm actually working with you.
More Awesome Email Reads:
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