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When to Send

Cleaning House: How to Build Healthy Email Lists

Find the Right Frequency
Effective list hygiene is more than just identifying inactives and removing email addresses. A lot of it is based on your actions. How often do you send out that newsletter? How often do you rely on an autoresponder to convey your message when you don’t have the time to send something more personal? How many times per week are subscribers receiving your sales offers in their inbox? This is something you need to think about because it could be the very reason why your numbers are down. The right frequency is tough to nail down because it varies from marketer to marketer. A bi-weekly newsletter might be perfect for your business partner but alienate the members of your audience who feel as if you are contacting them too much. Likewise, providing daily updates may be necessary to keep some subscribers interested, yet a disastrous strategy for others. There is no way to determine what is too often or too little without testing. Once you have your results, adopt a sending schedule that works for your audience, and stick with it.
Stay Relevant
Today, email marketers must work harder than ever to stay up to date. In addition to the brands they regularly communicate with via email, consumers are locked into their connections on Facebook and Twitter. To make matters worse, both your direct and indirect competitors are ramping up their efforts in attempts to win the consumer's attention in the inbox, a tactic that has resulted in many of them being viewed as spammers. The perception of spam has gone from being unsolicited email to any email the consumer does not want to receive. This is why the importance of relevance has increased tenfold.

Consumers are so fed up with irrelevant content that they would often rather reach for the convenient "This is Spam" button than bother with unsubscribing from a marketer's mailing list. Sending messages that address them by name is no longer enough to get their attention. They want content that is tailored to their needs and preferences, quick to tune out those who are not able to deliver. Needless to say, failing to provide your audience with relevant content can make for a very unstable list.

So how does one solve the relevance dilemma? This is a question that can be answered in a number of different ways, yet it all equates to knowing your audience. More than likely, you already have a wealth of data on your subscribers in the form of profiles and the information logged in your reports. Anything else you need to know can be obtained through email surveys, polls, and conversations. When you deliver relevant content on a consistent basis, maintaining a healthy list is much easier for the simple fact that you are giving the people what they value.