While I generally don’t love crowds, the one thing I do really LOVE is New Year’s Eve parties. You get to go out, maybe have the chance to see some people you haven’t seen in a really long time, and you get to go home to a clean house….unless you happen to be the one hosting the party. In that case, you wake up to what can only be described as a total disaster. How did your house get this way? Why is your floor damp and inexplicably blue, and where did those ping pong balls come from? More importantly, how do you fix it moving forward, and how do you remind yourself to never host a party ever again?
And…how does this relate to email?
All that, and more, will be covered in today’s post!
If you think about it, this is scarily similar to coming into a new company and finding a giant, completely untamed database. Is that really a ten-year-old list? Have you honestly been sending that many emails to email@example.com? Yikes. The first thing you want to do here is…
1. Invest in some cleaning supplies
You probably should have done this before you had the big party, but it’s a good idea to figure out how you plan to clean up the inevitable messes that are going to happen post-party. Do some research into some list-cleaning services, so you can make sure you’re sending emails to valid, verified email addresses. That’ll help keep your bounce rate low for future sends, which is always a good thing!
2. Assess the damage
It’s not going to be pleasant, but it’s extremely important to take stock of what’s going on with your existing database. Take a look at some of your current prospect records and see if you can find any common threads. For example, is the “Source” field referencing a list purchase or a trade show? When were the prospects last emailed or updated? Evaluate what your automation rules are doing, whether you have any drip programs running, and what your list names are. Take stock of what you currently have, so you can….
3. Prioritize and execute
Okay, so you have a pretty good idea of what happened. That blue stain was just a spilled drink, and someone found your collection of artisanal ping pong balls and thought they were ice cubes. Now it’s time to figure out what’s most important and move from there. Start with small, easy tasks that can make the bigger task a little more manageable. Run a search for abuse@ or “spam” in your database, and delete those prospects. Segment out your super old or questionably opted-in prospects. Take that segmentation list and run a permission pass to verify and document opt-in status on those prospects. Get a good handle on a well-documented, curated database with interested prospects, so you can focus on marketing to the people who truly matter.
Once you’ve cleaned up the existing mess, how do you make sure it never happens again?
4. Don’t pay for friends
I think we can all agree, it’s pretty sad to pay for people to come to your party. Similarly, it’s pretty sad to purchase an email list and expect to get any kind of real value out of it. It also goes against our permission-based marketing policy, and puts you at significant risk for blacklisting and increased spam complaints. It just doesn’t make sense to put yourself in that kind of risky situation for no real reward! There’s no substitute for building your prospect list the right way.
5. Don’t invite EVERYONE to your party next year
It’s totally natural to grow apart, and it’s okay to not invite everyone you’ve ever known to your New Year’s Eve party. Similarly, it’s okay to give up on old, unengaged prospects that just aren’t interested in your email marketing. It’s better to focus your energy on people who are interested in your product and engaged in what you’re doing. A good, quality list of prospects is significantly better than a large list of prospects that just do not care and won’t be interested in what you’re providing. Verify people are interested in you by implementing COIL, or confirmed opt in, to keep your friends list down to the people who actually care about you.
6. Be aware of messy friends…and don’t invite them
Stay up to date on what’s being added to your database. Make sure you are routinely going through (or run an automation rule!) to make sure any abuse@ and spam@ addresses do not make it through to your main database. Consider setting up an automation rule to opt out your competitors, so you can make sure you’re only focusing on real, legitimate prospects.
That’s it for today’s post! What are your top tips for celebrating the new year and cleaning up your house afterward? Tweet me @holobachgirl!