We all want to grow our mailing lists. The more people getting our message in their inbox the better, right? Well not necessarily. I believe it is vital to carry out housekeeping when it comes to your email list. Look after it and it will look after you. In this week’s blog, I’m going to deep dive into why you need to pay attention to who is on your list, how to make sure they are getting the information they want to receive and avoiding legal pitfalls.
You don’t want to have just anyone on your list
How many unread emails do you have in your inbox? Are there newsletters you signed up for, perhaps they offered you some information you really wanted at the time, which you no longer read? You want people on your email list who genuinely want to hear from you. People who look forward to reading what you have to say or what you are going to share each week.
It’s much better to have a smaller, super engaged, cleaner list than a bigger one that never opens your emails, or worse feels annoyed every time your name appears in their inbox.It’s much better to have a smaller, super engaged, cleaner list than a bigger one that never opens your emails, or worse feels annoyed every time your name appears in their inbox. #Youpreneur Click To Tweet
People who aren’t opening your emails are just dragging you down. Hubspot did some research on email open rates a few months ago which found the average open rate was 32%. Now if you’re not checking what your open rate is, you absolutely should be. How does it measure up?
If people aren’t consistently opening your emails, there’s probably not much point in continuing to send them to them.
Are you sending material people want?
If you only have one email list with everyone on, you are unlikely to be serving your customers well. There are some cases where everyone wants to get everything you send out. But most of the time, people will have different needs.
Let’s say you run a recipe site. You send out handy recipes with a ready-made shopping list for meals people can cook in less than 15 minutes. Everyone wants everything don’t they? No. Vegetarians do not want to receive your recipe for beef stir-fry noodles. Someone with a nut allergy does not want the email telling them how to make satay sauce.
You need to segment your list. It sounds technical but it’s very easy. You tag people with their interests. The quickest way to do that is to ask people about their interests when they sign up. Ask them to tick the boxes and your email marketing service, if you have chosen well, should automatically apply these tags. When you are sending out an email for 5 speedy vegan lunches, you only send it to the people who have told you they would like to cook vegan food.
Another useful thing to do is understand where people are on their journey. Are they just browsing? Are they intending to buy? A way to find this out is by offering lead magnets or opt-in magnets which allow them to self-identify.
You don’t need to go crazy here. I would create three offers for people at different stages of the journey. That’s manageable. You can easily see what’s getting most interest, which is helpful for market research, and then serve people the content most appropriate to them.
GDPR hasn’t gone away
If you have been in business since before May 2018, you should have heard about GDPR: the General Data Protection Regulation. If you started your business after this or perhaps you have an email list which you have been sitting on and you’re now going to dust off and start mailing people with, you need to pay attention.
GDPR is about making sure people’s details are being looked after properly. For anyone sending marketing emails, it means that people are only on email lists they have personally signed up to (no buying lists of email addresses of people who have never heard of you before) and they know what you are using their data for.
Now GDPR is an EU regulation but that doesn’t mean you can ignore it if you’re outside the EU. It will still apply to Britain, regardless of Brexit. And if you are marketing in the EU and you are selling goods and services here, you need to comply. There are pretty hefty fines which can be imposed for breaches.
People get tied up in knots over GDPR and it is a little complicated. I had a very useful chat in episode 298 of Youpreneur.fm with Suzanne Dibble about this so do go and listen to that. But one of the key points is if someone is on your list because they are interested in your personal finance business, you can’t then assume it’s ok to send them emails about your bookkeeping business. People have to decide for themselves to go on your list and say what emails they do and don’t want to receive.
Prune your list
I review my list regularly and remove all cold, bounced or unconfirmed subscribers. I don’t want to send emails to inboxes of people who aren’t interested me. I can easily see which addresses I’m not getting any engagement from. By removing them, I can get an accurate picture of what messages are resonating with my engaged audience.
Make time to look after your list. It’s crucial to your business success and remember, everyone on it is a real person. Focus on serving your customers and keeping the people you want to have a relationship with happy.
Chris founded Youpreneur® in 2015. He is a serial entrepreneur, keynote speaker and author of the bestselling books “Virtual Freedom” and “Rise of the Youpreneur”. He hosts our weekly podcast, Youpreneur.FM, as well as our annual conference, the Youpreneur Summit. Chris is based in Cambridge, UK.