When it comes to the B2B industry, email marketing is thriving. This type of communication is still one of the most lucrative strategies to acquire new clients. Email marketing is undoubtedly crucial to the growth of a B2B company. So let’s understand the importance of email list hygiene.
Today, many B2B brands are struggling with email deliverability. This phenomenon can be affected by a wide variety of factors.
What is one of the most significant factors that affect the business’s bottom line in the long run? Email list hygiene.
Now, it is not uncommon for a B2B marketer to wonder if list hygiene is such a big deal. There are already many challenges marketers face when it comes to lead generation, social media, sales and other day-to-day operations. So why bother about something as seemingly insignificant as list hygiene?
Are B2B Email List Hygiene Practices Required for my B2B Business?
Well, B2B email list hygiene is one of those activities that are traditionally overlooked by most marketing teams. After all, most of us believe that the hardest part of email marketing campaigns is obtaining email addresses. Obtaining prospect and customer email addresses is indispensable to the process. However, list hygiene practices are just as important.
Such hygiene practices might simply remove invalid or irrelevant email addresses from your email lists. They might perhaps include something more complicated. B2B email list hygiene is an integral part of long-term marketing success.
Directly speaking, email hygiene refers to the process of removing inactive (cold/unresponsive) contacts from your future email marketing campaigns. It also includes keeping the remaining (warm/responsive) list actively engaged through healthy email sending habits. Regular email hygiene practices are critical. Such methods ensure that your B2B company only emails those who genuinely wish to receive your messages. This step eventually helps you avoid getting marked as ‘spam’.
Why Should I Care about Email List Hygiene?
An inferior quality email list can directly impact your sender reputation. Most B2B marketers have learned that reputation is everything when it comes to long-term success. With a good-quality, clean email list you are assured better deliverability. The assurance of delivery helps your sender reputation in the long run.
Average email addresses have a value of £84.50 (that’s USD 100.32). However, when it comes to value, only the customers who receive the email you send have something to offer to your efforts. Moreover, if your reputation has taken a hit, your emails might be diverted into spam. This results in lower engagement and conversion rates.
How Email List Hygiene Helps You
Email service providers (ESPs) are only becoming smarter. Providers are more attuned to recipients’ preferences on what they wish to receive in their inbox. By digging into the emails that you send and evaluating the engagement of those emails, ESPs also assess your brand.
This means that when it comes to getting your emails delivered, a clean list is essential.
ESPs try to control spam and unwanted email. They achieve this by tracking and quantifying the number of emails opened. They also monitor the amount of unsubscribes, and general engagement rates to determine inbox placement.
Once a recipient opts to receive your content, it is essential for you to monitor and track the way they respond over a period. Permissions to send emails do not last forever. Interest gets lost over time, and even the most engaged of subscribers can become a dead weight over time.
Removing old, irrelevant or inactive email addresses from your email list is an excellent place to start. By doing so, you can reduce overheads. Moreover, the emails you do send out to such a cleaned list will be more effectively received.
Getting rid of old and inactive addresses from your marketing email list has another benefit. It can save on the expenses of your email provider. By including addresses that don’t even receive your emails into marketing lists, you are also inadvertently growing the cost of the entire campaign.
In this article, we will dive into the habits you can adopt for a healthy email list. However, let us first understand what constitutes a clean email list.
What Is A Clean Email List?
In simple terms, a clean email list is one that has valid email addresses. These are addresses of people who have engaged with at least one of your emails within the last six months. Such users are considered active. They ensure that you are not blacklisted as a spammer since they engage with you.
In short, if you don’t regularly operate with a clean email list, it can damage your reputation. Let’s look at the most critical factors that might damage your brand’s reputation.
Spam traps ensure that no sender misuses their access to customer inboxes. ISPs monitor email senders who reach their customers through the use of ‘spam traps’. Such traps are those email addresses that are owned and operated by ISPs and blacklist providers. These addresses are used to ensure that senders are following best practices.
If you do not wish to damage the reputation of your brand with ISPs, ensure that you don’t fall prey to using spam traps. These traps might label you as an untrustworthy sender. There are a variety of spam traps that exist. However, let’s look at some of the most common spam traps that you may encounter:
These include the email accounts that never opted-in to receiving emails from a sender. If an email sender targets these accounts, it indicates that they may have obtained their email list using questionable methods. These usually refer to purchasing bulk email lists from third-party service providers.
Domain Typo Traps
Email accounts typed without much care or attention to detail are bound to have mistakes. Domain typos are very similar to actual domains except for a character or two (gNail.com, hotNail.com, hotMALE.com). While these may lead to a chuckle or two, it is necessary to be very careful not to make domain typos. Even a small number or these misspelled domains are enough to jeopardise your email reputation.
Email accounts that were once used by a real person, but are not in use any longer get repurposed by ISPs. All the email accounts you have owned but haven’t accessed in years get repurposed in such a manner. Such recycled addresses usually become recycled spam traps.
In short, ISPs are continually acting as gatekeepers and guards of inboxes. They regularly reassess a sender’s right to connect with a user’s mailbox. If you are targeting people who are constantly unengaged, ISPs will take this as a sign that you are forcing your communication onto people who don’t want to receive your emails. There is no quicker way to have your emails get diverted to the spam folder.
How Do I Keep My Email List Clean?
By now, you understand the importance of maintaining email list hygiene. We also spoke about how it can make or break the reputation of your brand. Now let’s learn how you can get started.
Email Validation at the Sign-Up Stage
When it comes to email list hygiene, it makes sense to start at the source. By implement email validation in your sign-up forms, you can save yourself a lot of grief. Email validation helps you look out for obvious human error – like typing gmaEl.com, instead of gmail.com. By implementing this validation at an early stage, the instances of incorrect emails entering your marketing lists go down significantly.
The element of human involvement can help tremendously. The basic principle of having humans involved is the edge they have over machine intelligence. This is also why manual data mining services will always yield better results than outmated ones.
Remove inactive customers
Many B2B companies have begun practicing the purging of ‘dead’ or inactive subscribers. Companies remove customers who haven’t opened or clicked on their emails or made a purchase in a given period. Some companies do this cleaning every six months, others do it on a yearly basis, and others take a longer time. However, they almost always send a ‘this is your last email’ communication to salvage the few customers that they can.
While shearing away inactive customers might result in higher deliverability and engagement; it is necessary to be calculating and careful. After all, these inactive customers were once active and might become active once again in the future.
Segment, don’t merely delete
Purchasing habits like many other things related to marketing occur in cycles. This means that customers who were active once but are dormant now might be active again in the future. While removing inactive customers is extremely important, don’t be cut-throat with this. Instead of deleting customers and their information, minimize the communication you send to you.
For example, a previously active customer can still be on your email list in you reduce your frequency of communication. For instance, if you sent weekly emails earlier, try posting fortnightly or monthly emails. Additionally, throw in an attractive offer, discount coupon or content that is relevant to them. This segmentation will help you capture a customer’s invaluable attention with a personalised approach.
Avoid the spam filter
Once your subscribers or followers have opted-in to receive messages, it is essential to ensure that your words reach them. There are a few important things to consider to avoid the reputation-damaging spam filter:
A) The subject line.
Email subscribers are not naïve. Often, they can tell whether an email is worth their time just by reading the subject line. This is why subject lines that are well-crafted, intriguing or attractive will always see a higher engagement rate.
Too many exclamation points, bad grammar, spelling errors are all tell-tale signs of spam. Using all CAPS, ‘click here’ buttons and shoddily crafted subject lines will raise red flags among your audience. All in all, if you don’t carefully craft your subject lines, you’re on the dangerous highway to the spam folder.
B) Address them right.
One guaranteed way to identify whether an email is genuine or spam is to evaluate the way it addresses the recipient.
- Does the email make use of the customer’s name or does it start with a bland “Hi” or “Hey there!”? Emails with a generic opening are more likely to be dismissed as spam.
- Does the message get the customer’s name wrong? Online forms filled out too fast might end up with errors. However, if you have set-up email validation, the chances of this happening reduce.
C) Correct audience targeting.
When you send an email to a customer, it is necessary that they belong to the right target group for that communication. For example, a customer who speaks Spanish and English will not respond to German or Dutch emails. They are more likely to send the email over to the spam folder.
Be it by product preference, age, language, political beliefs or any other deciding factor, be vigilant in your communication. It is better not to send an email at all than to send it to the wrong target group.
Acquire Email Lists From Trusted Sources
Whether you have your own in-house data collecting team or you rely on vendors, email lists from trusted sources are paramount.
If you make use of purchased email lists from third-party organizations, it is necessary that the data is customized to target the intended audience. Moreover, it is essential to ensure that the information is current, relevant, verified and accurate. If you choose to go with bulk email list providers, you are not assured any of these. For best results, select a data cleaning expert like BizProspex with experience and expertise in bringing you the data that you need.
Learn when to consult an outside expert
Not all companies have the budget, resources or even need for a specialized in-house data team. However, all companies do require regular access to new, updated, clean, relevant data that can propel their marketing campaigns ahead.
Not just the acquisition of data, but data scrubbing and data appending services are integral to ensuring email list hygiene. While you can certainly put some tips into practice at your organization’s level, you can’t possibly take care of all ends of the spectrum. This is where experts come into the picture.
B2B Data Cleaning and How it Can Benefit your B2B Business
First things first – data that make up your email marketing list is a perishable item with an expiry date attached to it. What customer information was valid and correct in 2015 may not be of any use to you today. The main reason for this constant data decay is the dynamism of human life. Jobs change. New people get hired. People get promoted. People change companies.
Whatever may be the reason for the change, data is never static and needs to be tracked, verified and validated at regular intervals to ensure that your communication is the right fit for the target audience. Moreover, your in-house staff doesn’t have enough skilled training to do these tasks by themselves.
This is where a data cleaning expert such as BizProspex comes into the picture. Back by over 6+ years of experience in the data cleaning industry, we are adept at expertly cleaning, verifying, appending, scrubbing and refurbishing email lists along with our other services.
Through our meticulous process, we check and verify every record on your email list to bring you an updated version of contacts that will propel your marketing efforts upwards. With an expertly cleaned list, you can enjoy augmented ROI, response rates, conversion rates and click-through rates that eventually translate to increased profits and revenue.
If you have not yet opted for an email list and data cleaning service, you should waste no time in contacting us! Backed by our money-back guarantee, you can assure your B2B marketing efforts are more fruitful with us at BizProspex.