Have you ever gone through the contacts on your cell phone or your list of Facebook friends? If so, it's likely you found people that you haven't spoken to in ages, or can hardly remember where you met in the first place. When you went through these people, did you find yourself deleting irrelevant contacts?
Just like updating personal contacts, it's important to review the Contacts in your ROI account regularly. Keeping this data updated helps ensure that you are sending permission-based emails to engaged Contacts that are the most likely to be responsive to your brand. Sending to email addresses that are stale, no longer valid, or no longer interested in your content can hurt your overall deliverability to all subscribers.
Below are some best practices to manage your Contact data:
How often should I send to my Contacts?
- All Contacts need to be emailed at least once every six months. This is because email permission goes stale after six months. If you don't email a Contact within those six months, you will need to re-ask for permission to send them emails.
How do I re-confirm my Contacts?
- Re-confirming your Contacts means that you are reaching out again to ask if you still have permission to email them. This can be done through a one time email send in ROI to any Contacts that haven't been sent an email in the past 6 months.
- To create a segment in ROI of all Contacts that haven't been sent an email in the past 6 months, you will need to create two segments. The first is the segment below to use it as an exclusion segment on a second segment of all Contacts. This will result in a Segment that only contains Contacts that have not been sent an email in the past 6 months. **However, it is important to note that these Contacts might not have been sent an email due to a bounce or unsubscribe event. When you send an email to this segment, those with a hard bounce, or unsubscribe will be automatically suppressed and will not receive the email.**
- While you can send a re-confirmation email from ROI, it is recommended to reach out through a personal email address utilizing a BCC send to any Contacts that do not have a bounce event or unsubscribe and haven't been emailed in the past 6 months. This increases the likelihood that the recipient will recognize the sender, and the email will make it to the inbox.
- In a re-confirmation email you might want to include:
- The link to your ROI email sign up form, to allow Contacts to stay subscribed
- Updates on your newsletters/email communications
- Most popular newsletters or blog posts
- The benefit of receiving your emails
- What you can offer the recipient
- How often they can expect to be emailed
- The ability to unsubscribe or change email preferences
How should I initially gain email permission?
- ROI supports permission-based email sending. When creating a list, it is important to gain leads organically through inbound marketing, website forms, social media, etc. Lists should not be bought (even from reputable sources), rented, scraped from websites or public data, or email addresses gained through a data append. Gathering email addresses through these methods is risky because they are likely to contain bad email addresses that lead to high bounce rates, and potentially can get you blacklisted or caught in a spam trap.
- Consider a double opt-in program for all new Contacts, where they must confirm via email after filling out a form to state that they would like to be on your mailing list.
What should I do with inactive Contacts?
- If you remove or delete an unsubscribed Contact, they cannot be re-added to your Contacts due to anti-spam laws. Please contact email@example.com if you are considering deleting any Contacts you currently have in ROI.
- We recommend creating a segment of inactive or unengaged Contacts and using it as an exclusion segment on all future email sends. This will increase deliverability, as you are sending only to Contacts that have previously engaged with your emails.
- To create this exclusion segment, you will need create a segment with criteria of everyone who has opened or clicked an email. For our purposes, I choose to represent "didn't engage" as didn't open or click, however, you could adjust this as you see fit. Then, you will use this segment of opens and click as an exclusion segment of everyone that has been sent an email. This will leave everyone in the segment who was sent an email, but did not open or click. This segment can then be used as an exclusion segment to future sends. You can also add a time frame to this segment to exclude anyone who has not opened an email in the past "x" months to not be sent to again.
- If you are intending to send to Contacts that have been recently imported, keep in mind that they likely haven't had the opportunity to engage with an email if they've never been previously sent an email. For those email sends, you would not need to add the exclusion segment.
What should I do if my Contacts are stale?
- Stale Contacts are those that have not been emailed in over six months and are unengaged. The first step in working with these Contacts is to send them a re-confirmation email (see above). If you have Contacts that have been previously sent emails, but never opened them, consider a "Goodbye" Campaign. This can include a tempting offer, an extremely personalized email, a final call to engage before being unsubscribed or excluded from future sends.
- To avoid email addresses going stale, send at least once every six months, but avoid sending too frequently so as to not be marked as spam.