The Big Mistake Most List Owners Make
You go to a lot of trouble to collect email addresses. You create tantalizing email captures, customized according to user behavior and equipped with compelling offers. You may build email address validation into your form to guard against typographical errors or misguided privacy zealots. You use an opt-in strategy to ensure that no one is signing up by mistake.
So wouldn’t it be nice if all these carefully vetted list members consistently opened and read every email with interest? After all, they came to you. They asked to be on your list, right? But your email servers aren’t located in the Land of Oz. The reality is that people change their minds, forget they signed up, become too busy or any of a thousand other things, and at the next exit they step off the Yellow-Brick Road and stop opening your newsletters and promos.
Yet most store owners act like this fait accompli simply never happens. As a result they send their campaigns to their whole list, committing a huge email marketing mistake. The revenue starts off strong but falls off rapidly.
Why? Because when you email everyone, even non-openers, your overall open rate drops to critical levels of less than 10%. Low open rates for more than a few days trigger both the spam filters of most inbox providers as well as Klaviyo’s own deliverability algorithm. Inbox providers quickly demote you from the inbox to the promotions tab to the spam folder.
Meanwhile, to protect their more conscientious customers, Klaviyo quietly demotes you from a strong IP pool of senders with high deliverability to a weaker IP pool of senders with more dubious offerings. This only accelerates your descent into spammer status. The worse your deliverability, the lower your open rates, the fewer prospects who see your offer and the less money you make.
This is why list hygiene is crucial. Consistently cleaning your list is the key to achieving and maintaining healthy open rates of 20% or more.
🧼Topline Online Hygiene Routine
1) Employ a List-Cleaning Flow. Many will be interested in your store only once and then disappear forever. Segmentation usually doesn’t exclude these people soon enough, so a list cleaning flow is a more proactive solution.
1️⃣ Start by creating a segment that includes list members receiving campaigns weekly.
2️⃣ Set inclusion in this segment as a trigger for a new flow.
3️⃣ Add a conditional split: bounced email of at least 2 in the last 30 days. Bouncers are usually very inactive, so even the low number of 2 is enough.
4️⃣ Set a new Profile Property for all recipients that meet this condition a Delete (see picture below). (Yes, these people should just be purged from the list.) Those who fail to meet this condition (have not bounced twice) should be tagged to enter your re-engagement flow.
5️⃣ Next, the flow filters recipients through a second conditional split asking if they have opened emails zero times. A third conditional split determines if their received emails total more than ten sends. Anyone who has received but not opened any of ten emails is not going to buy any time soon and should be removed from your list.
2) Send Compelling Content. Promos should not dominate your campaigns. Quite a few should be informative, provide tips or examples relevant to your audience that establish you as a Subject Matter Expert (SME).
3) Research Audience Preferences. Ask your list what kind of information would be most helpful. Recipients can reply, complete a survey or agree to be interviewed, perhaps in exchange for a premium of value.
4) Give Cold Recipients Several Last Chances. Reconnect using enticing offers, such as an invitation to a webinar in which you provide exclusive training or sneak peeks at upcoming products. Use a truly valuable give-away, mouth-watering descriptions and social proof to back it up. If they are still not opening your email, connect with them through another channel, such as a letter, postcard, text, phone call, push notification, one-off email from your personal address, social platform or website pop-up.
5) Keep Timing Predictable and Content Unpredictable. Email at a consistent frequency, but always keep recipients guessing content-wise by alternating between offers, information, humor and personal, relatable stories of how people have gotten the most out of your products and services.
6) Don’t Bury Your Unsubscribe Link. Clean lists want the uninterested to become the unsubscribed. Anything else is a waste of resources, theirs and yours, so make the link prominent enough to be found easily and used readily.
What list-cleaning tips have worked well for you? Comment below with your wholesome hygiene habits to let us know!
Rokas Raskevicius and Thomas McClintock