I moved mailing list systems from Mailchimp to Active Campaign about a month ago; I’ll go over the why’s in another post, but as I began migrating folks, doing the quick excel sheet dump and upload, I realized that I hadn’t cleaned the list in a while. Like in over a year. Maybe two?
Why is it important to clean lists? Because you have no idea who’s actually there until you do. You may be experiencing a drop in open rates or click throughs and you don’t know why. Well it could be fake accounts or disinterested readers of the past.
Here are some observations from my recent list clean up at igotkat.com that may help you consider and plan your list clean up:
1. You need a realistic gage of who’s actually reading and listening to run any business
It’s exciting when people sign up for your stuff. We love it. But do we look at the person’s open rates, origin, engagement? It might not matter that much when you’re on a free mailing list plan or if you’re just emailing for funzies, but it begins to matter when you pay per user and are sending emails to nobody (you’re paying for this) or when you’re trying to run a business and run email tests to see what people click on and what they’re interested in purchasing from you.
Besides it potentially being costly, it’s annoying. You open rates literally skyrocket with a list full of real humans. Not only is this an ego boost (“People care!” ) But you actually have real engagement which can give you a real sense of what people want.
2. Fake Users will appear as real and real users will appear as fake
Frankly I don’t know how bots do the former. I saw a bunch of accounts with gravatar pics, a real sounding email and a name… Let’s just say I just deleted over 50 users like this, who had never, and I mean EVER opened 1 email from me.
While this happens, some emails appear bogus but are NOT like in the following two examples:
1 – my client and list member has four 1’s in the end of her address and I was getting bounce errors from the system until I contacted Active Campaign’s help (who are awesome.) Apparently repeating numbers will trip a system (and person) into thinking the user is fake when they’re not.
2 – I just almost deleted someone with the following ending in their address: …101xxx@live… To me this looked like a fake account or a p0rn account. But when I opened the person’s record, it was a real person, who had been engaging with my emails for some time. I even googled her name and found her. We just never know
Be careful mass deleting.
3. People were once interested but are no longer interested, and this is OK
I dug up subscribers from 2009 who were avid readers and then stopped opening my email. This is totally cool. My message has changed over the years. Don’t be surprised if this happens. We evolved and need the space to do so.
Open rates vary from industry to industry, so check out Mailchimp’s open rate lists and compare to your own. Then clean your list and see if this changes.
4. Watch the list regularly to keep the BS accounts to a minimum.
Active Campaign counts your contacts whether they are active (confirmed subscribes) or not. This is fine, but again, if you’re paying per user, you really need to keep an eye on those who fill out your form but never confirm their subscription. This is very common, and most of the new bogus signups I’ve getting are that. They never confirm and sit there in your list taunting you. Mailchimp also tracks these people and charges you in their premium accounts.
What’s a good way to engage folks and clean your list without deleting active but somewhat dormant users?
I will be posting an article on how I cleaned my list soon.
Sign up below if you’re not already getting news updates, and I’ll keep you posted.