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Problems with Your Email Subscriber List? Try List Cleaning!

list onboarding

At various times during conversations with eCommerce entrepreneurs, we hear them complain about “huge bounce rates”, having emails stuck in folders other than the inbox folder, even getting blacklisted, or registered as spam. This normally happens because the email list is not clean and healthy!

Why Isn’t My List is Clean and Healthy?

  • The list is old – Having a relatively old list (older than 3-5 years) means a lot of email addresses that are defunct (not used by anyone), shut down (someone used their business email to register, then quit their job), or just hijacked by spambots and other dreaded nuisances of the Internet. This can, in turn, mean bad news for your email marketing channel.
  • The list is bought – We at Essence of Email never recommend buying a list, and we avoid bought lists altogether wherever and whenever possible. You can’t guarantee their source, and the email addresses might be plagued with all the issues we already spoke about. A big no-no, if you ask us!
  • The list was generated from Amazon/eBay order data – These are also not recommended, especially in Europe, since with GDPR in force you need a double opt-in to make sure you have full permission to collect data. Otherwise, at least a single opt-in would be preferable, rather than just extracting the order data from these platforms.

These are just the more frequent ones we’ve come across – there are many more reasons why your list is generating a lot of bad news for your channel.

What is List Onboarding?

At Essence of Email we have a well-developed process called List Onboarding. This is actually a mix of list verification, deliverability monitoring, SPF/DKIM authentication, segmentation and initial email sending to ascertain proper onboarding parameters, and finally the list migration to a brand new Email Service Provider (ESP). Here’s an overview of these processes:

  1. List Verification – This is normally a very simple process, which is performed by uploading the list to a verification software, which then singles out the invalid or defunct addresses. These are promptly deleted, and what’s left is an almost 100% healthy list ready for further processing.
  2. Deliverability Monitoring – Using our inbox benchmarking software, we track the deliverability metrics for the verified addresses, making sure your emails are going exactly where you want them to – inboxes.
  3. SPF/DKIM Authentication – We want to make sure both your onboarding (i.e. current), and main ESP (i.e. the one we are migrating you to) are authenticated since this means there will be no spam complaints in the future.
  4. Segmentation and Email Sends – By segmenting your list based on recency (most recent clients first), and sending them each a three-email blast until they fall outside our established onboarding parameters, we want to make sure the list is reliable and healthy for the first email marketing activities that will soon follow.
  5. List Migration – Finally, after we’ve ensured full list health, we switch ESPs from your onboarding to the main ESP, where you can start exploring the unlimited possibilities email marketing can offer!

This entire process, despite being a bit technical at first glance, is actually aimed at making your life easier. After a completed List Onboarding, you no longer have to think whether or not your emails are being delivered, or spammy, or if the content will trigger blacklisting. You can focus on creating strategies for your email channel growth, or you can work with Essence of Email to be able to completely sit back and watch how your emails earn you money.

That’s what our client Pyle Audio did – they started off with a very old, chaotic list of more than a 100,000 people, which went significantly down in number after we put it through List Onboarding. It then started generating more engagement that translated to more customers, all while pumping out beautiful emails that captured the attention of their client base. You can bet the results were good!


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