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When it comes to email marketing, virtually nothing is more important that the contact list. This is, after all, what determines who learns about your latest sale, giveaway, product release, event or other item of interest. If the right people don’t hear about your promotional efforts, then those efforts are going to fall flat.

What follows are three critical email list cleansing tips that can help maximize the number of people who receive your messages and minimize the time you spend reaching them.

Process opt-outs immediately

This step is critical not just to optimize marketing campaigns, but also to maintain email compliance standards. The 2003 CAN-SPAM Act requires all organizations that utilize email marketing provide a clear, easy means of opting out of receiving future messages and those consumer opt-out requests must be acted upon within 10 business days. Failure to abide by this regulation can result in monetary penalties and other sanctions.

However, email compliance is also beneficial in ways that extend beyond the legal requirements. If an individual opts out of receiving messages, it is clear that he or she is not interested in the company’s products or services. Any future emails are therefore a waste of the marketer’s time and resources. They can also turn consumers who simply aren’t interested in your offer into annoyed consumers who are even less likely to ever engage with your company in the future.

By using effective email campaign management tools, an organization can process opt-outs quickly, ensuring compliance, improving efficiency, and improving overall consumer satisfaction.

Remove inactive accounts

This same logic applies to the removal of inactive email accounts. A smaller email contact list that features only those individuals who are more likely to respond to promotions is more effective than one that features these people as well as those who ignore all messages they receive from the company.

With a smaller list, it is easier for the marketer to determine the effectiveness of individual promotional efforts. Email campaign management tools can be used to identify non-responders, based on a lack of email opens, website visits and purchases, and then remove those individuals from the contact list. Part of the key here is to understand that identifying non-responders depends largely on the sales cycle or typical purchase frequency of the company. A company with customers that only purchase every six months on average may want to have different guidelines for defining non-responders than a company that has customers re-purchasing more frequently.

Save inactive accounts

However, it would be a mistake to permanently purge those inactive email accounts from your database entirely. Instead, marketers should consider placing them in a separate database and periodically send them a message that may encourage them to become active once more.

This reactivation message should feature a call to action, such as a special discount for returning customers. Those who respond can then be re-added to the primary email contact list.

By: Tom Wozniak, Executive Director of Marketing