The effectiveness of every email marketing campaign is dependent on a variety of best practices. Catchy subject lines, appealing incentives, high-quality material, and so on. However, there is one aspect that is frequently forgotten and that every campaign suffers from. That is, your email marketing lists must have correct and up-to-date information. Some believe email hygiene to be the most important aspect of any effective email marketing.
Keeping a clean email list is key to making sure all your connections a legitimate and active. If you don’t practice good email hygiene, you are missing out on potential reach and overall growth for your business.
ESPs are watching
There’s good reason why email hygiene is considered to some the most important aspect of any email campaign. It entails removing any inactive subscribers from prospective email campaigns and verifying that your list only contains active subscribers. Regular email hygiene will help you ensure that you are only sending emails to those who want to hear from you, which will help you avoid having your communications designated as spam.
This is significant because email service providers (ESPs) are becoming smarter and more in tune with what their consumers want to see in their inboxes. As a result, maintaining a clean email list has never been more vital when it comes to ensuring that your emails get delivered and opened. ESPs are paying closer attention to the emails you send and how they are received. ESPs not only check for spam signals and track spam complaints, but they also calculate openings, clicks, inactivity, and unsubscribes to determine if a message reaches the inbox or is routed to spam.
Deliverability is the marker
Keeping a clean list requires an understanding of hard and soft bounce, and list suppression.
A soft bounce indicates that an email address was authentic and that the email message was sent to the recipient's mail server. It was returned, however, since the service was unavailable or the message was too large for the recipient's mailbox. It could be that their inbox is full, but this is rare.
When an email is sent to an old or non-existent address, it results in a hard bounce. The emails are eventually placed on a suppression list. Email addresses on a suppression list have been permanently restricted from receiving future communications.
As ESPs are becoming more sophisticated in screening for spam, a clean list is essential for getting emails delivered to the intended recipient. By sending emails to the wrong addresses, or the wrong audience on a regular basis, your total email deliverability rate will steadily deteriorate.
Once someone has opted in for your content, it is critical to track and update data over time. Opt-ins are not guaranteed to last, and even the most enthusiastic subscriber can lose interest over time. Even if your list is entirely generated on opt-ins, 20-30% of email addresses will expire within a year.
Other than monitoring your bounce rates and tracking your deliverability rate, here are a few best practices for good email hygiene.
Engagement - Like deliverability, your engagement rate is an important metric when it comes to maintaining good email hygiene. Perhaps the number of opens, click-throughs, and recipients responding to your CTA (Call To Action) is decreasing with each passing week. In this case, sending a re-engagement email is a great way to find out if your subscribers are still interested in receiving your content. This method can also assist you in avoiding an unneeded spam complaint from a subscriber who does not wish to hear from you. A business that re-engages with its subscribers will also positively boost its sending reputation.
Clarity - Permission is required if you wish to ensure consistent deliverability. Sending your campaign to people who haven't agreed to hear from you puts you at risk of spam complaints. By making it simple for a subscriber who is no longer interested to unsubscribe, you can reduce the possibility of a recipient complaint and possibly prevent legal ramifications.
Content - Because the quality of your email content can trigger a spam filter, you must clear your emails of what could be considered spam content. This can include excessive, consecutive punctuation, especially exclamation marks, and all caps. It is also important to note sending your campaign to "Dear Reader," etc., is not a good idea. Personalization is essential for developing relationships with your subscribers. Although content is not the deciding element in whether or not your email is delivered to the inbox, it is still crucial to ensure that your communications do not get marked as spam.
Regular email hygiene ensures that you are only messaging people who want your communications, which also helps you avoid having your email designated as spam. By maintaining an active mailing list, you can ensure your marketing campaigns reach their targets to help your business grow organically.