No matter how strong your marketing message is, it won’t matter if your email never reaches your subscribers’ inbox. And if too many of your emails are bounced or marked as spam, it can hurt your sender reputation – eventually impeding your ability to send marketing emails at all.
This is why it’s so crucial to regularly scrub your email marketing list and ensure all the email addresses you’re sending to are active, valid, and owned by people who want to receive your messages. Here are some signs that it’s time to scrub your list:
Deliverability Rates Are Struggling
Your email deliverability rate is calculated by dividing the number of emails that are actually delivered to your subscribers’ mailboxes (deliveries) by the total original send size (sent or addressed). Of course, the ultimate goal is for emails to be delivered to all of your subscribers (100%) – but 95% and higher is considered a good industry standard to follow. Anything lower should be addressed by cleaning your list.
FYI: Average delivery rates will also vary between mass email service providers, so it’s a good idea to ask your provider for this information before choosing a platform.
Open Rates Are Down
Generally, a “good” email open rate is around 20% to 30%. If your open rates are averaging below 20%, it could mean you’re sending your emails to a lot of people who aren’t interested in receiving them. It could also mean you’re sending to inactive emails that aren’t being checked anymore.
In addition to scrubbing your list, it’s essential to ensure you have a robust opt-in system to add recipients who actively want to receive your emails.
Click-Through Rates Are Low
The click-through rate is the rate at which people click through one or more links in your emails after opening them. If people open your emails but rarely click through, then they’re not really engaging with your content. This could be a sign that you need to overhaul your messaging: maybe your copy isn’t pulling hard enough, your offer isn’t appealing enough, or your design components could use some work to increase readability.
Once you’ve given those elements an overhaul and raised your engagement rates, it’s possible that the percentage of people who still aren’t engaging with your content should be scrubbed from your list—as they are less interested, and more likely to filter your emails to spam.
Bounce Rates Are Too High
Generally, your average bounce rate should be at approximately 2% or less. Most ESPs will demote your sender reputation if your emails are bouncing at a rate higher than 5% or so.
If your bounce rates are rising, it could be a “hard” or “soft” bounce. Soft bounces are usually due to temporary technical issues – like if the email inbox is full, or there’s something wrong with the email server. Hard bounces mean the email is inactive or invalid, or the domain name is incorrect. Those emails should be scrubbed off your list.
A large email marketing list isn’t necessarily a good thing – in fact, it can hurt you if those email addresses are inactive, invalid, or belong to users who aren’t interested in what you’re selling. Practice good list hygiene, and you’re likely to see your deliverability and sender reputation improve.
Kristen Nevins, CDMP, has over a decade of experience in marketing and communications. She joined Direct Connection in early 2018 and leads the team with her extensive digital marketing expertise.
For additional information, contact Kristen at email@example.com or 707.410.7254.
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