While there are many best practices to see success in any ongoing email marketing plan, one very important way to improve email deliverability, open rates and your overall return on investment is making sure you are sending to a clean list of email contacts. Think of the last time you had to clean out your inbox … I can guarantee it wasn’t a pretty sight, was it?

Now apply that to your subscribers. Yikes, right? Your subscribers are a fickle bunch, so from time to time it is important to groom your list and take a long, hard look at who you are emailing in order to improve your email campaign results and make sure your emails aren’t getting reported as spam down the road. (It may even save you money too!)

These four quick tips will leave you, and your emails, feeling fresh throughout the year:

1. Remove MIA Subscribers

Once you’ve collected a new email subscriber it is important that you begin contacting that individual as quickly as possible (see #3). Missing that opportunity opens up the chance that these subscribers might forget they signed up by the time you get to them or have become less interested in receiving emails from you at that point. A good rule of thumb is to email at least once within the first month after they’ve signed up.

If your list is established that doesn’t mean there still isn’t work to be done, too! Take a look at your email campaign reports from the last four to six months, and create a list of all subscribers who opened an email within that time period and a list containing those who did not. It is safe to say that most of those “did not open” emails can be automatically discarded which removes any bloating your list may have and could even bring the price down on your email campaigns if you reach a certain threshold. Rinse and repeat at least twice a year!

2. Are You Even Listening?

A great way to make sure your list is clean and allows you to spend your time talking only to those who want to hear from you is to send a re-confirmation email to all your subscribers.

Some email marketing services offer a tool to automatically send emails for your contacts to reconfirm their subscription, but luckily doing it the old-fashioned way can be just as easy. Simply start by creating a new list through your email marketing service and copying the link to the new list’s subscription form. You can then email that link out to your entire existing list. When you send the email it is important for you to put your best foot forward and give your customers a taste of why they want to continue to be a subscriber. Once this email is sent you should only use this newly created list for future mailings.

3. Develop a BFF Relationship

Engaging new subscribers from the beginning of their subscription is a great way to push your results even higher and will make the cleaning process less cumbersome over time. Create a compelling welcome series campaign to trickle out to a new subscriber over the first few weeks of being subscribed to your list. In three to four emails you should include messages which are are important to you and and will resonate with your subscriber. These emails can help orient a subscriber on what they’re likely to receive from you in the future and give them some insight into what makes you and your business so awesome.

4. Put a Filter on it

Once your subscribers have become active on your list you can begin to look into their interests and make sure you’re aware of what they do and don’t want to receive. This can be done through past behavior like click-throughs or opens based off particular content within previous email campaigns. Although, if you have dramatically different customer groups doing business with you, you may want to consider providing options for these interests on your sign-up form to make sure you’re able to target only customers who are interested in that email’s topic.

We’re curious to hear how you manage your email marketing list and what results you’ve seen after spring cleaning. Let us know what your tips are for making your email marketing list cleaner and more effective!