Staying connected with your audience is important for every industry, including the manufacturing sector. Email marketing remains a powerful tool, offering a direct line to clients, suppliers, and partners. But to harness its full potential, regular email list maintenance is essential. Without it, you risk diminished engagement, increased costs, and damage to your sender reputation.

Let’s take a closer look at the importance of email list maintenance, as well as some best practices you can put to use for your manufacturing business.

Why Email List Maintenance is Crucial

A well-maintained email list is a sign of a healthy email marketing strategy. It ensures that your communications are reaching those who find them relevant, thereby improving engagement rates and your overall return on investment (ROI). For manufacturers whose products and services often require significant buyer education and long sales cycles, having an engaged list can be the difference between a lead that goes cold and a fruitful, long-term business relationship.

Best Practices for Email List Maintenance

Don’t worry. There are things you can do that will not only ensure your emails make it to the inbox but will also keep your email deliverability and sender reputation high. Here are some best practices that will keep your list clean. 

Regular List Cleaning

Periodically review your email list to remove inactive subscribers. Inactivity can be defined based on your email sending frequency – for instance, no engagement in the past six months. Before removing these contacts, attempt a re-engagement campaign to win back their interest.

Benchmark Email’s Smart Send automatically removes inactive email subscribers from your email sends. You can add them back in later campaigns, too. 

Segment Your Audience

Not all subscribers are interested in the same content. Segment your list based on criteria like job title, industry, engagement level, and past purchases. This allows you to tailor your messaging to different groups, increasing relevance and engagement.

Implement Double Opt-In

Use a double opt-in process to ensure that those who sign up for your list are genuinely interested in your content. This extra step can significantly improve the quality of your list and reduce bounce rates.

Here’s a typical example:

  1. Initial Subscription Request: A user fills out a form on a website to subscribe to an email list or newsletter. This form might ask for basic information like their email address and name.
  2. Confirmation Email: After submitting the form, the user receives an email asking them to confirm their subscription. This email typically contains a link or a button that the user must click to verify their email address and consent to receive emails.
  3. Final Confirmation: Once the user clicks the link or button in the confirmation email, they are officially subscribed to the email list. They may receive a final welcome email acknowledging their successful subscription.

Keep an Eye on Bounce Rates

Monitor your email campaigns for bounced emails. A hard bounce is a permanent failure, often due to invalid recipient details, while a soft bounce is a temporary issue, possibly resolvable without changing the recipient’s email address. Managing these bounces effectively is crucial for email campaign effectiveness and sender reputation.

Hard Bounce: 

  • The recipient’s email address doesn’t exist.
  • The domain name doesn’t exist.
  • The server has blocked delivery.

Soft Bounce:

  • The recipient’s mailbox is full.
  • The email server is down or temporarily unavailable.
  • The email message is too large.

Monitor Engagement Metrics

Pay close attention to open and click-through rates, as well as conversion rates. These email metrics can help you identify which subscribers are most engaged with your content and which are at risk of becoming inactive.

Survey Your Audience

Regularly survey your subscribers to understand their interests and preferences. Use this feedback to refine your newsletter content strategy and ensure you’re meeting the needs of your audience.

Automate the Maintenance Process

Use email marketing tools that offer automation features for list maintenance. These tools can help you identify and segment inactive users, manage bounces, and automate re-engagement campaigns.

Provide Value in Every Email

Ensure that every email you send offers value to your audience. Whether it’s industry insights, new product information, or how-to guides, your content should help your subscribers and reinforce their decision to stay connected with your brand.

Educate Subscribers on Whitelisting

Encourage your audience to whitelist your email address to ensure that your communications land in the inbox rather than the spam folder. You can include instructions on how to do this in your welcome email.

In email systems, whitelisting prevents specific sender addresses or domains from being marked as spam. When an email address is whitelisted, emails from that address bypass the spam filter and go directly to the inbox.

Keep It Legal and Compliant

Always comply with email marketing laws and regulations like CAN-SPAM, GDPR, and CASL. These laws require you to have consent from your subscribers to send them emails and to provide an easy way for them to unsubscribe.

The Impact of Maintaining Your Email List

By implementing these best practices, manufacturers can expect to see a range of benefits:

  • Improved Engagement Rates: Clean lists mean your emails are more likely to be opened and clicked by those who are genuinely interested in your content.
  • Increased Deliverability: Regular maintenance helps to avoid spam traps and reduce bounce rates, which can improve your sender reputation and deliverability.
  • Lower Costs: Many email service providers charge based on the number of subscribers. By keeping your list lean, you can reduce costs.
  • Better Insights: A clean list provides more accurate data, helping you to make informed decisions about your email marketing strategy.
  • Enhanced Customer Experience: Subscribers receive content that is relevant to their needs and interests, improving their perception of your brand.

The New Gmail and Yahoo Spam Prevention Requirements

Speaking of deliverability, Gmail and Yahoo have introduced new requirements for email senders, effective from February 2024, to combat spam and enhance email security. While these don’t necessarily have much to do with a clean list, they can affect your deliverability, so we feel it’s important to mention them. These changes are significant for both large and small email senders and focus on several key areas:

  • Email Authentication: Both Gmail and Yahoo require senders to authenticate their emails. This can be achieved through standards like SPF (Sender Policy Framework) or DKIM (DomainKeys Identified Mail). Email authentication is a technical solution to verify that an email comes from the domain it claims to come from, thus helping to prevent spoofing and phishing attacks.
  • Easy Unsubscription: Senders must provide a simple way for recipients to unsubscribe from their emails. This typically involves including an easily accessible and straightforward “unsubscribe” link in emails, ensuring that recipients can opt out of receiving future communications with minimal effort.
  • Spam Report Threshold: Gmail has set a specific threshold for spam reports. Email senders must maintain a rate of spam reports in Google Postmaster Tools below 0.3%. This means that senders need to be vigilant about the quality and relevance of their emails to avoid being marked as spam by a significant number of recipients.
  • Domain Reputation and Content Scrutiny: Yahoo is placing a stronger emphasis on domain reputation and sender authentication. Emails originating from domains with poor reputations, often associated with spam or phishing activities, will be subject to stricter scrutiny. Additionally, Yahoo will conduct a more rigorous evaluation of email content to ensure compliance with their standards.

For manufacturers, an updated and engaged email list is a critical asset. It not only facilitates effective communication but also strengthens relationships with your audience. Regular email list maintenance is not an administrative chore but a strategic initiative that can lead to higher engagement, improved deliverability, and greater ROI. With these best practices, your email marketing efforts can become a driving force in your company’s growth and success.

Author Bio:

by Natalie Slyman

Content Marketing Manager