spam email list hygiene

List Hygiene Practices Can Kill Your Domain Authority

We often come across clients who think they can buy, scrape and borrow trade show lists and enter them into their email systems. These same clients are usually shocked when their email accounts get frozen or shut down when recipients report them for spamming. This doesn’t mean that you can’t make good use of email lists. You just have to use them properly. These are considered best practices for using email lists and maintaining your domain authority.

Why Should I Care?

First of all, domain authority is a metric that email service providers and search engines use to determine the legitimacy and “usefulness” of your online presence. It’s kind of like a credit score for email marketers, but instead of measuring credit worthiness, it measures your reputation. Send a bunch of untargeted emails to a random list you purchased and you may get away with it. Send such broadcast emails multiple times and your reputation or domain authority will suffer. And, like your credit score, it’s much more difficult to regain ground than it is to lose it. Why is this important? Emails from senders with poor domain authority will generally get automatically forwarded to the recipient’s spam folder…and you know how often people check those!

Beware CAN-SPAM Addresses

By now, everyone knows about CAN-SPAM Compliance, but not everyone follows the rules. They Federal Trade Commission knows this and has a large number of “honey trap” emails scattered throughout the internet. If you scrape one of these addresses and try to pass them off as a legitimately acquired your email provider will probably flag it and possibly freeze your account. That’s actually the best scenario. The worst case would be if you actually send multiple emails to that address and the FTC flags you. Then, your company might be hit with fines of up to $43,280. And just because you think you’re a “little guy” don’t think the FTC will be kind. SMB’s usually don’t have the legal leverage to fight them and are a favorite target. You’ve been warned.

Email List Hygiene Strategies

Good email hygiene is necessary so that you don’t aggravate the very customers you are trying to attract, and in extreme cases, so that you don’t have your email accounts closed or frozen. Like personal hygiene, it involves keeping your email list clean. It also means grooming your list so that you are only emailing the people who want to receive your messages. How can you accomplish this? Below are a few maintenance tasks you should perform regularly:

  1. Clean your email lists of garbage contacts. Cleaning your email list means weeding out the contacts that bounce and emails that never interact with your email marketing campaigns. If a contact has never opened your email after several attempts, it’s time to retire that contact. Email service providers are pretty savvy and watch your percentages. Too many “undeliverable emails” and your domain authority will suffer. Plus, most email providers charge by the contact. Why would you want to pay for contacts that you can’t reach?
  2. Keep in regular contact with your email marketing list. Good content marketing practices include sending your email list regular communications. We don’t mean spamming them with multiple “hard sell” messages every day. Best email marketing practices mean sending them useful, original, well-written communications at a frequency that makes sense for your audience and sales cycle.
  3. Segment Your List. If you are sending blast emails to your entire list you will annoy a good portion of them. Today, even the least sophisticated customer knows that marketers can send personalized content. If you are not sending personalized content, you are going to lose their attention to a brand that respects their inbox.

Change The Way You Think About Your Email List

Get over your preoccupation with size. Yes…I just wrote that, but you are the one who “went there”. Huge lists are highly overrated and probably cost you a lot of money with your email service provider. Pair down and segment your existing lists and put process flows in place when they convert and enter your list. This requires working with your website developers to tag new leads based on last-touch attribution.

Have a Plan. Work Your Plan.

Just spraying emails isn’t a plan. You need to know what you will send, to which contacts, when, and how frequently. Plus, you don’t want to over or under-send or you will miss opportunities. It’s a delicate content balance that needs a good plan that you will work over time. Also, checking the results monthly, testing new campaigns, and adjusting your plan are all part of successful email marketing.

Good email hygiene takes knowledge, experience and practice. It’s not enough to simply acquire contacts. You need to know how to make the most of it and keep it clean and healthy. At Pollock Marketing Group, we understand the importance of good data hygiene, content strategy, and campaign management. We can help you get the most from your email marketing.