By Ryan Gravatt, February 26, 2019
When it comes to an email list, you need to look beyond size to determine if your list is healthy. A healthy list provides a good Return on Investment. By that, I mean the outcomes of the actions in your email messages outweigh whatever you spend to send email and add people to your list.
Think about your email list as a garden or an ecosystem. Ask yourself questions like:
- Does our list produce anything that works for the bottom line?
- What do we need our email lists to yield?
- What are we doing to maintain or improve the yield?
I believe that email is the most valuable connection you can have with an individual. So that’s why having a clean and healthy list is important. Digital marketers consistently rank email as the top ROI for themselves, and they shape entire digital media budgets around email list health and productivity.
Email list maintenance is simple and often overlooked. Here are the simplest steps:
- Remove people who don’t want to be on the list
- Engage people who want to be on the list
- Find and add people to the list.
Those steps will help you realize all the benefits of a healthy email list. These steps will also help you sidestep the pitfalls of an unhealthy email list.
A clean, healthy list has a predictable engagement rate across the board. That means outcomes, opens, clicks and all the rest of your analytics are trending in the right direction. This also means your engagement volume is at a stable level.
Inbox providers are listening to their customers. When someone on your list flags a message as Spam, that dings your reputation. And your message to that person will continually land in the Spam filter. Think of all the filters that Gmail and other providers now have as native tools for your subscribers. All of these are tools for the customers to manage their Inbox into messages they want to read and messages they don’t want to read. When customers use these tools, they send Inbox providers a signal about you, your messages and your list.
So remove people who don’t belong on your list or who don’t want to be on your list. It’ll help increase your deliverability rate.
An unhealthy email list will have email list issues. Probably the clearest sign that you have an unhealthy email list is low engagement. The single biggest cause of low engagement is messages missing the Inbox. You have to earn your way into the Inbox. Never assume that’s where your message goes when you send it.
Start measuring engagement by the simple things people can do when they get your email – open and click.
Perhaps the biggest harm is hampering future ROI. If you have a bad list and bad engagement, you’ll be missing future opportunities to engage your audience and get any traction to build an ROI from your email list. Turning to social media or other avenues won’t work because the costs are too great and you’ll lose more money than you justify spending.