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Email List Management: Best Practices for Growth

April 15, 2022
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Email marketing is a powerful tool. It allows you to connect directly with your target audience and establish an ongoing relationship with them. Even so, your email marketing campaigns are only as valuable as the quality of your email list. 

If you’ve been taking steps to grow your email list, you may have hundreds to thousands of subscribers who have opted in to receive your emails. That’s amazing! A growing contact list is a great accomplishment. However, quality is just as important as quantity.

In this article, we’ll explain why email list management is so important. We’ll also explain how you can optimize your email list management strategy to promote business growth through your email marketing strategy. 

What is Email List Management?

Email list management is the process of cleaning up your mailing list and optimizing your email campaign strategy. Yes, you heard that right—you’ll most likely need to remove some subscribers from your email list during this process.

Let’s examine why:

  • Disengaged users don’t add value to your email list – If a subscriber stops opening your emails for months on end, they’re no longer a valuable member on your list. They aren’t engaging with your emails in a meaningful way. Instead, they’re just dragging down your open rates, click-through rates, and conversion rates, which could end up hurting your sender reputation with the Email Service Providers (ESPs).
  • Inactive or invalid email addresses can increase your email bounce rate – Invalid or inactive email addresses won’t be able to receive your emails. When your emails don’t get delivered to a recipient, they “bounce” back to you. A high bounce rate can harm your email deliverability. If your bounce rate gets too high, your emails may even start getting sent to the spam folder for active, engaged recipients. 

As you can see, curating the perfect email template and having an extensive email list isn’t all that if a large percentage of subscribers don’t receive or engage with your emails. It’s much better to maintain a streamlined email list that’s full of engaged, high-quality recipients. Email list management can help you do just that. 

email marketing services

Email List Management Best Practices

Now that you know why email list management is so important, let’s review a few tips and tricks that can optimize your email list. These strategies help to maximize clicks and conversions while avoiding bounces and spam complaints. 

#1 Send New Subscribers a Welcome Email

New subscribers are a sign of a healthy email list. If you want to secure their patronage, however, you need to make a positive impression from the very start. 

You can do so with ease by sending Welcome emails to new subscribers as soon as they sign up. Compared to other types of emails, Welcome emails are incredibly well-received. They boast impressive metrics too. Compared to other marketing emails, welcome emails have:1

  • Four times higher open rates
  • Five times higher click-through rates

Your Welcome email will get new subscribers used to seeing you in their inbox. If you want to make your first “hello” extra special, you should employ personalization and include an exclusive welcome offer or discount inside. You can also ask recipients to whitelist your email address so you never end up in the junk folder. 

#2 Remove Inactive Subscribers Regularly

Many people may sign up for your emails, only to have their email addresses become inactive down the line. Your subscribers may have inactive email addresses for the following reasons:

  • They changed emails due to a job transition
  • They lost access to an old email address
  • They closed their email account

A crucial aspect of email list management is removing inactive email addresses from your list on a consistent basis. This way, they won’t end up increasing your bounce rate and harming your sender reputation with the ESPs.

Luckily, removing unengaged subscribers is a breeze. Just unsubscribe anyone who hasn’t engaged with your emails in the past few months. Doing so will keep your email list in tip-top shape at all times.

#3 Create a Re-Engagement Campaign

Not ready to say “goodbye” just yet?

Before deleting all of your disengaged subscribers, you can craft a strategic re-engagement campaign to see if you can win any of them back.

During a re-engagement campaign, you simply send your least engaged subscribers a re-engagement email asking whether or not they want to stay connected. To get them to open this email, you should:

  • Write an extra-compelling subject line
  • Use personalization
  • Ask them what you can do to optimize your emails
  • Let them know you will unsubscribe them if you don’t receive a response

You could even consider crafting a multi-email re-engagement sequence with promotional discounts designed to get opens and clicks.

If you don’t get a response, you can safely go ahead and unsubscribe them on your end. Doing so will streamline your email list and upgrade its value.

#4 Make it Easy to Unsubscribe

“It’s not you, it’s me.” Having people on your mailing list unsubscribe may feel like a breakup, but don’t take it personally. Some people just lose interest in your offerings or want to simplify their inboxes.

Allowing these unengaged subscribers to part ways is actually in your best interest too. It saves you the time and effort of manually removing them from your email list after they’ve become disengaged. You can make unsubscribing easily for recipients by: 

  • Including an unsubscribe link at the bottom of every email you send
  • Making sure this link is easy to find and easy to click

Not only will allowing people to unsubscribe reduce the email list management burden on your end, but it will also lower your chances of getting marked as spam when frustrated unsubscribers can’t figure out how to opt-out of future communication with you. If you wanted to, on the unsubscribe page, you could suggest that they follow you on your social media channels to stay in touch in the future. 

#5 Set Up Customized Email Subscription Options

Determining the optimal frequency to send emails to your recipients can be a balancing act. You want to stay fresh in their minds without becoming overbearing. Finding this sweet spot is tricky, especially since some recipients may want to hear from you less often than others. 

Additionally, subscribers may prefer different types of content. Some prospects may enthusiastically welcome your promotional emails each week, while others may only want to stick around for your monthly email newsletter. 

Giving your email list recipients the ability to customize their subscription settings can keep them happily on your list. Let your recipients select the email type and frequency of communication they like best. You can ask them to share their subscription preferences: 

  • Within the original email signup form
  • On a separate landing page that you link to in each email
  • In an email directly
  • Before they confirm they want to unsubscribe

#6 Segment Your Email List

Engagement is the cornerstone of a healthy email list. One way you can stimulate more is by employing segmentation. Segmented emails earn significantly more revenue than general emails, largely because they’re better at capturing readers’ attention and engaging them long enough to guide them to your CTA.2 

So, what is segmentation? It simply means sending different emails to various sub-groups within your contact list rather than blasting everyone with the same, generic email. In doing so, you can tailor your message with greater precision and include more personalization, which should ultimately lead to more engagement and conversions. 

Depending on the makeup of your email list, you may want to segment by:

  • Engagement level
  • Business size
  • Location
  • Age
  • Gender
  • Interests
  • Actions taken on your website
  • Location within your lead funnel

#7 Play Up the Personalization

Most email campaigns include the standard “Hi, *first name*” personalization at the beginning. However, you don’t have to stop there. The more personalization, the better. Personalized emails produce six times more transactions.3

Here are a few ways you can personalize your emails to perfection:

  • Place the recipient’s name in the subject line
  • Include their name throughout the email, rather than just at the beginning
  • Ensure your email’s content and design is tailored to your segmented audience
  • Address your readers’ pain points
  • Write your email so it feels like there’s a real person on the other end

Sending a targeted email  can enhance your email list management by transforming more subscribers into valuable, converting customers. 

How to Track Your Email List Management Progress

By implementing these best practices, you can improve the health of your email list in no time, driving enhanced success to your email marketing campaign. 

You’ll know your hard work is paying off when your:

  • Bounce rate has gone down (ideally below 2%4)
  • Open rate has increased
  • Click-through rate and conversion rate are improving

Enhance Your Emails with Power Digital Marketing

When you successfully manage your email list, you can extract more value from your marketing campaigns going forward. 

However, we know that email list management can require significant analytic and strategic resources. If you’d prefer to leave this to the experts, Power Digital is at your service. Our digital marketing agency can help you with all of your marketing efforts, whether you’re trying to grow your email list or optimize your campaign’s metrics. Most importantly, we can take email list management off your hands entirely. 

Find out how our  email marketing services can improve your business today



  1. Experian. The welcome email report: Benchmark data and analysis for engaging new subscribers through email marketing. https://www.experian.com/assets/marketing-services/white-papers/welcome-email-report.pdf
  2. HubSpot. The Ultimate List of Email Marketing Stats for 2022. https://blog.hubspot.com/marketing/email-marketing-stats
  3. Experian. Experian Marketing Services study finds personalized emails generate six times higher transaction rates. https://www.experianplc.com/media/latest-news/2014/experian-marketing-services-study-finds-personalized-emails-generate-six/
  4. NeverBounce. How to Prevent High Bounce Rates from Impacting your Sender Reputation. https://neverbounce.com/blog/email-bounce-rate

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