Improve Your Email Marketing With a Clean Prospect List

If you’re a regular reader of CrazyEgg, you already know the importance of building an email prospect list. But, did you know your list needs cleaning occasionally? It’s true, a clean list means fewer complaints, a better return on your marketing dollars, higher engagement from your list, and even a better brand image for your company.


Before I get into how to clean your email prospect list, let’s make sure we’re on the same page…

What do I mean by a “clean” list?

I’m talking about removing the people on your prospect list who no longer read your emails. If you’re trying to build a list, it may seem odd to remove anyone, but hear me out.

4 Reasons Why You Should Clean Your List

The quality of your prospects is more important than the quantity of prospects for many reasons. Quality prospects on your list mean:

  1. Better results! Because a higher percentage of your list is interested in your company, a higher percentage will click on your offers.
  2. Lower email marketing costs since many email service providers charge customers based on the size of their list.
  3. You’ll get fewer complaints because people receiving your emails want to receive them.
  4. A better connection with the remaining leads because it’s easier to understand customers who engage with you.

Now that you know the importance of a clean prospect list, let’s go on…

When To Clean Your List

When you should clean your list depends on several factors, like size, creation date, date of last contact, and more.

If you purchased a list—or your list is older than a few months—it’s due for a cleaning.

Clean your list often—even as much as once a month—if you:

  • Have a massive list – especially if you purchased it.
  • Get a ton of new leads every day – The faster your list grows, the more often you need to clean it. Think of it like pruning a tree.
  • You offer the coolest opt-in you know of. If this is the case, good for you! But, keep in mind that people may opt-in just to get your offer. These can add up fast so you might need to clean your list more often.
  • Use “free” as a tool to get email addresses. (Unqualified leads are attracted to ads with the word “free.” Avoid it to avoid freebie-seekers.)

Otherwise, cleaning your list a few times a year is good enough.

Just how clean is your data? Identify where your data requires attention, allowing you to choose which areas to improve.

Get Free Email Append Test from AverickMedia

Start With A Clean Prospect List

The best way to keep your list clean is to start clean. Here are four ways to make sure you’re building a clean list:

  1. Don’t buy a list or add people to your list. Instead, make sure they actually want to be on your list by offering a killer offer. They give you their email address; you give them a PDF, a report, or access to your newsletter.
  2. Require a double opt-in. To make sure people on your list really want to hear from you, send an email after they opt-in asking them to confirm their subscription. Note: Many email service providers already require this or offer it as an option.
  3. Give away something relevant. When creating your opt-in offer, spend some time considering your target market. If you’re selling lotion, you wouldn’t want to give away a report about how to sell lotion. You’d only attract competitors who want to learn how to sell their own lotion! Instead, you’d want to give away something your potential CUSTOMER finds valuable.
  4. Value your list. Create and follow a schedule for sending emails so your readers know what to expect. Make sure your emails provide value, not just a sales pitch. Also, send from a real person’s email address, NOT from your company or someone named “info.”

How to Clean Your List

Once you have everything set up and your list is growing, it’s time to start cleaning. Here are some great ways to clean up that list:

Manually Remove Stale Email Addresses

One way of cleaning your list is to go through it and remove “bad” emails manually. These could be duplicates or improperly formatted email addresses. They might also be email addresses beginning with words like, “spam,” “junk,” “info,” or “support.”

This process is time consuming, but many email service providers offer tools to help with the process.

Or you could try a reactivation campaign…

Separate Your Qualified Leads

No autoresponder series goes on forever, so what happens to prospects who reach the “end” of your campaign? Do you consider them “not-interested”? What if they just didn’t like your first offer but do want to hear from you and may buy something else?

There’s only one way to find out. Ask them!

Send an email asking your readers to click if they are still interested in hearing from you. Be sure to tell them who you are and how they got on your list. Also, mention what’s in it for them if they stick with you.

The people who respond are likely highly qualified prospects! Engage with them more often and offer them other products or services they need.

For the remaining names, keep them for now. Try other offers periodically to see if you can get them to take interest. If they don’t respond after six months, give one last “get off the fence” push and then let them go.

Survey Your Prospect List

Email prospects stick around because you give them something of value—usually information. But, how can you provide this value if you don’t know what they want?

Again, the best method here is to ask them. Set up a survey or prompt them to reply directly to you.

Try asking, “What is your biggest question about ____?” (The blank should be your topic.)

Look forward to finding out what your readers want to read about, but also what you can sell them! If the majority of your readers have the same question, why not create an information product answering it in great detail?

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