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Update Your Email Mailing Lists

Image Update Your Email Mailing Lists
Email mailing lists have become the preferred vehicle for distributing affordable, targeted marketing messages. But because of these assets, email has also become a misused tool. Markets have sprung up allowing business owners to buy (sometimes for very high prices) lists of email addresses.

But, the best sort of mailing list to use is a permission-based one. This means that everyone on your list gave their permission for you to contact them. They might have given permission by signing up on a list at an event, or by entering their information electronically on your site. These people have told you that they want to hear what you have to say, and every time you send out an email, theyíre interested in receiving it.

The flip-side of permission-based email is that you will have people opting out as time goes on. People will inevitably unsubscribe themselves from your list, or their email address will change. If you donít manage your list, then over time youíll be sending emails out to addresses that bounce back as undeliverable, or to people who no longer wish to receive your emails for whatever reason. This can cause a host of problems over time, even for business owners with small mailing lists. Letís take a look at some of the benefits of responsible list management.

PROS OF LIST MANAGEMENT

Avoiding Spam
If customers keep getting emails from you that they donít want or didnít request, they can report your emails as spam. Of course, some customers might report your email as spam by mistake, or because they are too lazy to unsubscribe. Letís hope this doesnít happen to you, but sometimes it does.

Whether your intention is to send spam or not, getting a number of messages reported as spam could block your email services completely. Avoid a lot of potential hassle by making sure that every address on your list is active and has opted in to your services.

Happier Customers
If customers have requested to get emails from you about new products or special promotions, theyíll be much happier when they see the email arrive. If they didnít ask to be added to your list, thereís a good chance that they will either delete the email unopened or report it as spam.

Reliable Delivery
If you have 100 people on your mailing list, maintaining a clean list means that you can be fairly certain that 100 people will get your email. If youíre not sure how many people on your list have unsubscribed, or have addresses that no longer work, the effectiveness of your email campaign will be a guessing game.

Pay Less For Your Email Service
Most email services charge you based upon the number of email addresses in your contact list. So if you have 1000 email addresses, youíre charged at the 1000-contacts level of service. But say you havenít cleaned your list in a while and you have only 850 active addresses, you could be paying a higher rate than what you should be.

PROS OF SEGMENTING

Most email marketing providers allow you to group your contacts into targeted email lists for more powerful results. These groups are called ďsegmentsĒ and segments can be based upon interest or shared characteristics such as birth month. Depending on what sorts of emails you send out, segments can result in significantly higher open rates.

For instance, a typical small eCommerce business could send out:
1. A monthly newsletter
2. A weekly email about new products
3. A seasonal email about promotions and clearances
4. Special offers based on birth dates
5. Special offers for first time customers to return
6. Special offers for customers who havenít ordered anything in more than six months
7. Special offers for customers who refer you to other new customers

At HEROweb, we have different segmentations as well. Our customers receive our monthly SiteBeat Newsletter, as well as our weekly Marketing Bites, and any important business-related announcements we need to make. We also have people who arenít our customers signing up for our Marketing Bites. As a result, we want to make sure that people who arenít our customers (but who get the Marketing Bites) donít receive other notices that we send out that donít apply to them (such as when our offices are closed for holidays).

As you can see from these examples above, there are numerous ways in which a small business could send out emails with very different marketing messages. Unless you segment your subscriber list in some way, everyone in your contact list will be getting the same messages as everyone else. Thatís not always or necessarily a problem, but if you want to target your messages to different customers (for instance, customers with December birthdays) list segmentation is the only way to do that. When you need to send to everyone on your list in one big store-wide mailing, just choose each list and send to everyone.
 
Send Out a Year-End Email to Ask for Updates

The beginning of a new year is always the perfect time to send out a quick email asking for people to share with you any updates.

Not only is it an opportunity for a ďtouchĒ (perhaps to thank people for their end-of-the-year support), but it's a chance to make sure your lists are up-to-date as you enter the New Year, and perhaps find out a little more about what information people want to receive.

Consider sending an email questionnaire that explains that you want to reach out to them to make sure they only receive information from you that they actually want to get. Include a question asking them if you are using their preferred email address. List the different types of emails you send out and ask them to check the ones they want to continue receiving.

The time it takes you to sort through the responses will be well worth it, because you can rest assured that your list is up-to-date and populated by people who actually want to hear from you.


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