Marketing Strategy: Keep your subscriber database lean and mean

Posted on January 29, 2018 at 4:30 pm Written by

A healthy and well-maintained subscriber database will produce the best results for your marketing. But how do you keep on top of all those subscribers, culled from sources as varied as database imports, website sign-ups and networking events? And how do you ensure you’re not throwing away good money on below-par email marketing campaigns?

Keep your database lean and mean

Like an Olympic athlete, the best performance comes from ensuring your subscriber database is clean and of the highest quality. This is in terms of what addresses you feed it and how it’s kept organised – no deception or trickery required!

Quality not quantity

Tempted by a dodgy ‘bought’ email subscriber list? Shame on you! You could be wasting money sending to addresses that are incorrect, don’t exist or worse, who will report you to your ISP. This could lead to you being ‘blacklisted’ and forced to sit it out on in the locker room for a while.

Good email addresses are won from people who are relevant to your business. That is, those subscribers who are actually interested in your product. These include regular customers, those working in the same industry as yourselves, people who have actually signed up from your website or your Social Media channels etc.

Target people who are actually interested in what you have to offer

Drop all the rest, you don’t need them! Sending to people not interested in your business only serves to annoy, and you don’t need the bad reputation this brings!

Be aware though – an ‘@’ and some dots doesn’t a legitimate email address make. To make sure all your subscribers have a clean bill of health, you need to ensure that you have a ‘bounce threshold’ set in your account. This allows you to set how many times an email to a subscriber can reasonably ‘soft bounce’ and still receive emails from you before it becomes a ‘hard bounce’ and is unsubscribed from your account.

This gives you the chance to check the spelling of all emails from these ‘soft bounces’ for obvious mistakes e.g. would need correcting to If you intend to personalise your campaigns then you also need to check the spellings in things like First Name, Last Name, Company Name.

You will start to find you are better able to keep control of the size of your subscriber database and thus your email marketing budget, and have more success with opens and click-throughs from all of your campaigns. Surely the goal of any world-class Marketer?

Order not chaos

“Tidy desk, tidy mind” as the saying goes.

Tidy desk, tidy mind...

But potential-serial-killer tendencies notwithstanding, keeping your subscriber database and thus your email marketing account tidy and well organised not only makes it more manageable on a day-to-day basis, but makes it clearer who to target, with which campaigns, and when to send them. Keeping your database trim also helps your email marketing software run as smoothly and quickly as possible.

Another top tip: split your data! Why keep a database of subscribers ‘ungrouped’ in one long, unmanageable list when you can split them into easy-to-manage Groups instead?

Using key common credentials (you will find this blog post on filtering comes in handy for this), each subscriber can then be part of one or more groups. This in turn ensures that they receive every email campaign that is appropriate to them – never miss a business opportunity again!

Any stragglers that are still ungrouped? Don’t let them miss out on your email goodness – make sure these are in a Group of their very own too.

For the Gold standard, organise your Groups into Folders to further optimise your email marketing account. It saves a lot of scrolling and allows for faster loading times.

Consider creating dynamic Segments instead of Groups as described in this blog. This can actually reduce the number of Groups and Folders (not to mention your workload) even more by targeting your subscribers according to their behaviour – so you can go by their actual performance rather than guesswork!

Keeping up quality and organisation – if it’s good enough for Team GB, then it’s certainly good enough for your email marketing!

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Mike Nicol

Digital Designer & UX Craftsman at NewZapp


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