Maintaining Your Email Marketing Database: 4 Tips

To ensure your email marketing stays effective, you need a tidy, clean and fresh subscriber database. The quality of subscriber data decays fast but by following some best practices you can keep your list in good condition.

But firstly, what do we mean by subscriber data? To be clear we’re talking about your list of email marketing contacts, including their email and any other data you have gathered about them. This is the data you may have gathered through a sign-up form on your website for example.

So once we’ve got the data, how do we keep the quality high? 

Here’s four solid tips.

Welcome Subscribers

It’s good practice to set up auto-responders for when new contacts join the list. This communication should thank them for subscribing and suggest that they add your sending email address to their safe-senders list. So you can reduce the amount of emails you send that end up in junk or the promotions tab. Our advice is to keep this email simple to improve your chances of landing in the primary email tab. Try to provide value in this first exchange so that you give the contact a good reason to keep your email and add you to their safe-senders list. For example, if you are an e-commerce brand you might deliver a 10% welcome discount in this email.

Engage consistently

Now, make sure your brand doesn’t go quiet. Regular emailing, say once a week, keeps your chances of engagement high. Your contacts likely receive hundreds if not thousands of emails each week. If you go quiet for a few weeks, it’ll be easy for your contact to forget you.

Database spring-cleaning

People change jobs, addresses and interests quickly. Email accounts get closed, or forwarded. It happens surprisingly quickly – over a year you can expect that upto 25% of your email list will drop off. So what should you do?

A growing number of contacts might produce an impressive number, but if they aren’t active contacts anymore then there isn’t much point in emailing. In fact, emailing contacts who have lost interest in your brand can actually damage your overall deliverability.

You should schedule time to regularly review the state of your email marketing database. When you review the list, you should:

  • Amend incomplete or incorrect data.
  • Improve or update contact information.
  • Remove irrelevant or non-active contacts.
  • Standardise the formatting of your data.

Have a strategy for unsubscribes

It’s a legal requirement to offer a way for contacts to unsubscribe. And in your best interests to make this easy, like with a link at the footer of an email. However not all contacts who are hovering over the unsubscribe will be ready to fully part with your brand. Consider providing some other options, like an “opt-down” allowing people to opt into receiving slightly less emails from your brand, or into receiving emails about a specific topic they are interested in. We think Jack’s Flight Club do a really good job of this in their email footer, where they offer a chance to take a temporary break from receiving emails from them.

Jack's Flight Club Email Footer
Jack’s Flight Club Email Footer

Of course, we recommend that you keep your options simple, so you don’t end up confusing subscribers who genuinely want to end receiving communications from your brand – as this could seriously backfire.

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