With an ROI of $42 for every $1 spent, email marketing is the best way to nurture leads and close sales. It lets you perform cold outreach using a process that’s both smart and efficient, all without interrupting a prospect’s daily routine.
But even the perfect cold email means little to someone who has no use for your product.
That’s why you need to have a great email list — one made of people who have a clear need for your product and business. After all, you don’t want to waste precious hours chasing down the wrong leads.
How to build an email list that’s guaranteed to convert? Learn that and much more as we take you through the best practices for using email list management to develop a successful sales strategy. You’ll also learn to identify the best tools for the job and view our picks for the best email list management software currently available.
What Is Email List Management?
Simply put, email list management is a way of organizing your prospect emails by dividing them into lists and segments. It helps you personalize your emails by tailoring them to the needs of each prospect.
Clearly, your email list can make or break your sales campaign. It can impact how effective your cold emails and marketing newsletters are. It can even change how many of your emails make it past the spam filters to your prospects’ inboxes.
Signs for Spotting a Bad Email List
A poor-quality email list can really hurt your business. Incorrect emails and uninterested prospects can increase your email marketing expenses, reduce your sender reputation, and even get you in trouble with the law.
That’s right. Thanks to CAN-SPAM, your company can actually be fined for sending emails to people who don’t want them. That’s a whopping $16K for every unwanted email!
So, how do you spot a bad email list? Look for these warning signs:
- Borrowed or purchased emails: Buying email addresses from a third party can reduce the quality of your list. The best way to grow a good email list is to build it from scratch using original research.
- Old and outdated lists: Email lists degrade with time as people change their email addresses or lose interest in a topic. You should regularly update your email list to preserve its quality.
- Unreasonable growth: A sudden rise in subscriber count can happen from bots filling out your sign-up forms instead of real people. That’s why you should always use CAPTCHA verification in your sign-up forms.
- High bounce rate: A high bounce rate means your emails aren’t getting delivered properly. That can often result from a deeper problem, such as lots of incorrect emails in your list.
Best Practices for Managing a Successful Email List
Now that you know how to spot a bad email list, let’s talk about how to build and maintain a great one. Here are the best practices for managing a successful email list — one that’s full of engaged subscribers who go on to become loyal customers.
Build a Transparent Opt-in Form
An opt-in form is something new subscribers can fill out if they want to sign up for your email list. It can be a fantastic way to collect new emails for your list, usually by making a targeted offer.
But you don’t want to attract the wrong people, either. That’s why you need to be transparent about what you offer your subscribers. Making a false offer is an excellent way to attract new sign-ups… only to have them promptly unsubscribe or report your emails as spam.
To make sure that your emails always get delivered to the right address, use a double opt-in. A double opt-in requires users to verify their email address by clicking on a link in their inbox before they can start receiving your emails.
Verify and Validate Every Email
Here’s a pro tip: use tools to verify and validate every email in your contact database. Email verification is a complex process that lets you root out invalid or risky email addresses. It works by making sure that the email address you’re sending to is active and in use.
Email validation is much simpler. It doesn’t check if an email is active but still makes sure that it’s correct and valid. Both verification and validation can reduce your email bounce rate and improve your sender reputation.
Send Powerful Welcome Emails
“There’s nothing like a first impression.”
When you add someone to your email list, make sure to send them a friendly welcome email to introduce them to your company. Use this email to link them to your best content or grab their attention with a great deal or offer.
For the best results, though, personalize your welcome emails. Greet your prospects by name; it’s a feature supported by most email marketing software. Use what you know about each prospect to send them targeted content and offers.
Use Segmentation and Targeting
Most email marketing tools let you segment your subscribers based on available data. You can filter them by age, gender, location, industry, and more. Use this feature to build more targeted campaigns by creating separate emails for different subscribers.
Advanced segmentation lets you take this even further by filtering subscribers by their behavior. You can send timely and relevant emails to prospects who click on a particular link or perform a specific action on your website.
A/B Testing Is Your Best Friend
A/B testing, also called split testing, is a marketing practice where you create two variations of the same campaign to see which one performs better. You could, for example, create two variations of your weekly newsletter and send them to two different groups of prospects to see which one gets the most clicks.
A/B testing is a great way to figure out what works best for your audience. When combined with targeting and segmentation, you can use it to create really engaging sales emails that tug at the heart of your prospects’ needs and desires.
Analyze and Track Your Audience
Most email marketing tools come with built-in analytics. While the reports they generate are very useful, they can also be a bit scary if you don’t know what to look for.
But don’t fret! Here are the key metrics to keep an eye out for when looking at your periodic email marketing reports:
- Churn rate: An overall measure of the number of subscribers who stop interacting with your emails after signing up. You’ll want to keep this as low as possible.
- Bounce rate: This is the percentage of emails that never get delivered to your recipient’s inbox, either due to a temporary issue (soft bounce) or a permanent failure (hard bounce). An abnormal bounce rate indicates lots of incorrect emails in your list.
- Unsubscribe rate: This represents the percentage of prospects who’ve unsubscribed from receiving your emails. To prevent subscribers from leaving, keep them engaged with valuable content beyond promotional offers.
- Open rate: This is the percentage of emails that get opened and viewed by their recipients. The higher it is, the better.
- Click-through rate: Sales emails drive conversions by getting prospects to click on a specific link. The click-through rate measures the number of people who click on at least one link after opening your email.
Check your stat reports regularly to gauge the effectiveness of your campaigns. That way, you can make sure that all the effort you’re putting in through list segmentation and split testing is making a real difference.
Remove the Inactive Subscribers
It’s hard to say goodbye. But sometimes, you just have to.
If a contact never interacts with your emails, try to bring them back into the fold with a strong re-engagement campaign. Use custom offers to grab their attention or send them links to your best content.
But if nothing works, it’s time to remove that contact. Remember, email marketing tools charge you for the number of emails on your list. Having contacts who don’t add value to your email list can cause you to lose money every month.
Make It Easy to Unsubscribe
If your subscribers feel trapped, they may stop interacting with your emails and simply weigh down your email list. Worse still, they may flag your emails as spam, causing your sender reputation to take a hit.
Make it easy to leave your email list by including an unsubscribe link in a disclaimer at the bottom of every email you send.
How to Find the Best Email List Management Software?
Of course, you can’t build a great email list without the right tools for the job. The best email marketing software comes with advanced email list management features. It allows you to segment lists, target campaigns, and personalize emails — all from one place.
Having trouble making the right choice? Here are the qualities you should look for in email list management software:
- CRM Compatibility: If your company uses tools like Salesforce or Hubspot, you can use the data they already have on your leads to take email personalization to a whole new level. Just choose an email marketing tool that can easily import data from your company’s CRM.
- Detailed Analytics: Good email marketing tools come with built-in analytics to help you track the success of your email campaigns. You can get detailed reports on opening activity, click-through rate, bounced deliveries, and more. Some of these tools even let you integrate with Google Analytics to expand the scope of your reports.
- Tagging and Segmentation: Segmenting your email list lets you send targeted emails based on a prospect’s job title, product interests, and more. You can also add custom tags to separate your contacts. Just look for email list management tools that support these features.
- A/B Testing: With split testing, you can quickly try different subject lines, messages, call-to-action buttons, and images to see what works best for your email list. Look for email marketing tools that support A/B testing.
- Marketing Automation: This feature lets you set certain emails, like welcome messages, to trigger automatically when a user performs a specific action. If your email marketing tool is compatible with Zapier, it can help you unlock even more advanced automations by connecting with other apps.
- GDPR Compliance: Since 2018, GDPR regulations have completely transformed how data is managed on the internet. You can be fined for non-compliance even if your business isn’t EU-based. GDPR-friendly consent forms and double opt-ins, if supported by your email marketing software, can help you avoid unnecessary legal complications.
The Best Tools for Managing and Optimizing Your Email List
Choosing the right email marketing software can be tricky, even when you know what to look for. Hate spending hours poring through online reviews? Check out our recommendations for the best email list management software below:
Mailchimp is the most well-known name in the email marketing industry and dominates 73.01% of the market share. It’s a one-stop shop for startup founders with data segmentation, marketing automation, and split testing. Thanks to its readymade email templates, it’s also a huge favorite among beginners.
Mailchimp has a free version that limits your email list to a maximum of 2,000 contacts. For enhanced features and more subscribers, paid plans start at $9.99.
Hubspot is an inbound marketing platform famous for its CRM software. It comes with a range of solutions to help you draw new leads to your business, one of them being email marketing. You can design everything from opt-in forms to sales newsletters, then automate them using custom workflows and split testing — all from a single interface. B2B providers swear by Hubspot, thanks to the detailed reports offered by its analytics tool.
Hubspot’s email marketing platform is free with basic features for up to 2,000 email sends per month. If you need more functionality or emails, premium plans start at $45/month.
Constant Contact has been around since 1995, with its email marketing platform geared towards small businesses and nonprofit organizations. It features email automation, list segmentation, and a drag-and-drop email editor that’s a great hit among beginners. You can also import existing contacts from Outlook or Salesforce.
Constant Contact doesn’t have a forever-free plan but comes with a 60-day free trial. If you want to keep using the software after that, prices start at $20/month for 500 contacts.
Sendinblue is an all-in-one business communication platform that supports everything from emails to texts to CRM. Where it really shines, though, is transactional emails and marketing automation. There’s also a collection of more than 60 responsive templates.
Sendinblue’s free plan sadly limits you to just 300 emails per day. But, premium plans start at just $25/month and let you send up to 10K emails a month.
Campaign Monitor is a comprehensive email marketing solution for all users: new and advanced. It’s focused on marketing automation and campaign analytics, with a very beginner-friendly email editor. Campaign Monitor works with 250+ third-party integrations, including Zapier, Salesforce, and WordPress.
There’s no free plan, although you can set up an account and try out basic features without entering your payment details. Paid plans start at $9.99 and let you manage up to 2,500 emails.
Ready to Start Managing Your Email List?
And that’s everything you need to manage a successful email list for your next sales campaign. Verify your contacts, research every lead, and send targeted emails to make the most of your marketing efforts. Use list segmentation and split testing to send personalized emails that drive tons of conversions. But above all, be completely transparent and ask for proper consent to avoid making your subscribers feel trapped.
But what if you’re starting your email list with a blank slate? Looking for new leads can be intimidating, especially when you don’t have anything to go on.
Datanyze’s Google Chrome extension can help. It can capture high-quality B2B leads ethically through LinkedIn, providing you with detailed reports on their professional background, job history, contact information, and more.