The holidays are upon us, and like every year, we can expect our email inboxes to become as full as everyone’s bellies after Thanksgiving dinner, but for weeks to come! And as overwhelming as it can be, I have to admit that I don’t mind, because many retailers – ahem, I am talking to you, J. Crew and Sephora – do such an impressive job with their promotional emails that I practically throw my credit card their way without blinking. But I’ll refrain from talking about my spending habits and get back to the topic at hand. For all I know, my parents might read this and lecture me as if I am still a teenager whom they still support.
While heaps of holiday email will make it into inboxes this time of year, there will be some that won’t reach their final destination after send-off. The reason? One significant factor could be deliverability issues caused by not maintaining a clean email list.
And in today’s world of one-on-one brand communications and authentic brand experiences, it’s especially important to practice good hygiene by managing your subscriber lists year-round – or as soon as possible, if you have holiday messages that are ready to send – to ensure successful delivery when transmitting a high volume of email.
So if you haven’t managed your subscriber list in a while, it’s not too late. Here are some best practice quick tips to make your list fresh and clean, just in time for sending your holiday email.
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Even though most email service providers automatically remove unsubscribes, it is always good to double-check that all requests have been granted. Trust me, there have been many occasions where I continued to receive email from a list I unsubscribed from. And yes, I was one of those spiteful people who hit that nefarious “Spam” button just to make it stop. Harsh, I know, but I had no choice.
Do you have subscribers who haven’t shown engagement in two or more years and are pretty much hanging around collecting dust? If so, then it’s time to sayonara to them. Inactive subscribers forgot about you a long time ago. You don’t need people like that in your life.
However, remember that not all inactive subscribers should be eliminated. Many are worth keeping because there still is a chance that you can bring them back to life. For those who have not engaged with your emails in three to 24 months, the best practice would be to send them a re-engagement email before the holidays to re-establish a relationship with them.
If you haven’t cleaned your list in a while, chances are it contains hard bounced emails which are emails that don’t exist, are misspelled or the domain doesn’t exist. Kick those to the curb right away! Keeping hard bounced emails for a long time will only bring you closer to getting blacklisted, which we all agree is pretty much considered email jail.
Change Soft Bounce Rules
Increased send volume will usually cause an Internet service provider, or ISP, to experience traffic jams and keep your emails in limbo. To prepare for the holiday email sending frenzy, you can adjust the maximum number of retries for soft bounces within your email service provider settings. This prevents bouncing out a valid email address that could potentially be categorized with the hard bounces.
Don’t Be a Spammer
I can’t stress enough how bad rented and purchased lists are. Seriously, anyone who is planning to send emails to either one of these lists should be slapped on the hand and sent to timeout. It’s not worth it.
So keep it clean, folks. Happy sending this holiday season!