Statista estimates that people send more than 300 billion emails daily—that's a billion, with a "b" And that means it's harder than ever for marketers to make their messages stand out in their target audience's inboxes. But it isn't impossible.

Maintaining a healthy email list helps you nurture leads and support their growth into loyal customers. And the better you are at managing and maintaining your email list, the better your email campaigns will support your overall marketing strategy.

What is email list management?

Email list management is a very important aspect of email marketing. It involves carefully planning, creating, and managing a list of email subscribers who are interested in the content you have to offer. This process includes creating targeted emails that are tailored to appeal to the audience's interests, as well as building better customer relationships that can lead to better retention rates.

Benefits of email list management

  • Increase Reach: A well-managed email list helps you reach more people and boost engagement by helping you identify and re-connect with unengaged subscribers.

  • Boost Engagement: Managing email lists allows you to send out email content that will better engage readers, leading to increased click-through rates on the emails.

  • Improve Data Insights: A well-managed email list provides valuable data such as open rate and other metrics, which can help marketers make informed decisions about things like how they design email templates.

5 email list management best practices

Managing an email list is challenging because it requires a strategic approach to reach, engage, and retain users. But by following email list management best practices, you can get ahead of potential problems and take advantage of the benefits of email list management.

1. Collect data proactively to avoid a dropoff in engagement

Collecting data about your customers is essential to successful digital marketing. And if you want to maximize the impact of your email marketing strategy, you can't wait to start tracking the impact of your efforts. You'll need to start monitoring important metrics like the ones we discuss below before you even send a welcome email:

  • Using the sign-up form on your website's landing page to collect information like the customer's name and date of birth.

  • Implementing a management tool like a CRM or dedicated email list management software with functionalities to help track and store customer information as well as generate performance reports.

With the right data, you can create targeted emails that are tailored to your audience's interests and build better customer relationships. But without data, you won't have insight into what messaging is driving the most engagement. And you'll have limited information to inform and optimize your future email marketing campaigns.

2. Personalize communication so your message doesn't get ignored.

Personalization isn’t just a common tactic, 71% of customers expect it. Personalizing the emails you send to customers helps ensure that your message stands out in their inboxes. It will also give subscribers a better experience because they're more likely to relate to content when it is tailored to their interests.

By personalizing the subject line and body of your email with details like the customer's name, you can increase open rates and engagement levels. And that means you'll send more targeted content that resonates with each individual user. For example, by collecting data about customer shopping habits, you could target customers with special emails to notify them when a product they're interested in is back in stock.

3. Use segmentation to send targeted messages.

Segmentation is a powerful tool for email marketing. It makes it easier to send your audience messages that will have the most impact. This isn't just a good idea to avoid overwhelming subscribers with too many emails. Since sending irrelevant emails can hurt the sender's reputation, segmentation also helps you maintain strong relationships with your subscriber list.

Using segmentation allows you to divide subscribers into smaller groups based on their interests, demographics, and other criteria. A few ways to distinguish subscribers include using contact tags and dividing them into groups like:

  • Customers and non-purchasing

  • Highly-engaged and moderately-engaged

  • Regular buyers and irregular purchasers

SMS segmentation is actually such a common (and successful) practice that we've already mentioned it—sending emails about restocked products to customers who sign up for notifications is a perfect example of how you can target customers and drive sales with segmentation.

4. Keep your email list clean to prevent failed deliveries.

It's important to remember that maintaining an email database is an ongoing process. You should implement email marketing tools to help you monitor your subscribers. Regularly review your contact list for inactive emails or ones that have bounced, as well as those that have unsubscribed. This helps you ensure that your messages are reaching the right people and addresses, as well as minimizing bounce-back emails and failed deliveries.

Identifying inactive subscribers in your list can also provide a great opportunity to reengage customers. By identifying subscribers who haven't engaged in a while, you can send out targeted re-engagement campaigns to these individuals in order to re-capture their business. For example, you could offer a coupon code or discount for any purchases done within a certain amount of time.

5. Keep track of how customers become email subscribers.

It's important to identify where leads come from because it helps you to track the effectiveness of your marketing campaigns and determine which channels are driving the most growth. Understanding how people become subscribers also allows you to tailor your campaigns more precisely and focus on the most effective strategies.

For instance, a lead who subscribes after visiting a blog that talks about a particular product is likely more interested in that product than someone who signed up through a general newsletter subscription form.

To make this tracking easier, set up tags for each source so you can quickly identify new subscribers and make it easier to analyze different sources of traffic. This is particularly important if one of the ways you drive sign-ups is by sending out targeted content to customers depending on how they subscribe, like emailing content related to the blog post they first found you on.

Track these 6 email marketing KPIs to boost performance

If you want to know whether subscribers are actually reading your emails or learn which messages are driving the most engagement, you need to monitor these standard email marketing metrics:

1. Delivery Rates

The delivery rate is a broad measure of how many emails are successfully sent and received by your contact list. And it helps you understand if there are any email deliverability issues with your email campaigns that need to be addressed.

2. Open Rates

The open rate measures how many subscribers opened the emails you sent out, and it's a great way to track how effective your campaigns are. Knowing your open rates can help you understand which messages are resonating with customers and what kind of content they're most likely to engage with.

3. Bounce Rates

Bounce rates measure the number of emails that were not delivered or received due to an invalid email address or other technical issues, like ending up in a spam folder. They're similar to deliverability rates, but it differs because it is more specific and focuses only on technical issues.

There are two types of bounce rates:

  • Hard bounce rates: The measurement of emails that have been permanently rejected, meaning they won't be delivered to the recipient.

  • Soft bounces: Emails that have been temporarily rejected, meaning the email address is valid, but it cannot accept emails at the moment.

These metrics are important because a high bounce rate can indicate a problem with your email list, such as outdated or incorrect contact information, which can lead to decreased deliverability and lower engagement from subscribers.

4. Click-Through Rates

Click-through rate (CTR) indicates how successful your emails are by tracking how many recipients clicked on a link or opened the email. And paying attention to which links get the most attention will help you understand what content resonates with your subscribers and increase engagement.

5. Conversion Rate

The conversion rate measures the number of leads that convert from subscribers to paying customers. Monitoring conversions helps you identify the combinations of text and media within your emails are most effective in generating conversions.

6. Unsubscribe Rates

The unsubscribe rate measures the number of people who opt out from receiving your emails. And it's vital to monitor and keep low—a high unsubscribe rate is an indicator that your emails aren't just missing the mark. They're actively driving customers away from your brand.

Enhance your marketing strategy with SMS

Email list management helps you maximize the value of your marketing efforts. But it isn't the only tactic in your toolkit. SMS marketing allows you to reach customers that don't check their emails or rarely open branded messages.

By leveraging both tools in tandem with each other and learning more about how they work together, you'll be able to take your marketing strategy up a notch and drive even more sales.

Learn more about how you can use email and SMS marketing together to support your small business!