How to handle Email List Management more effectively in 2021

In email marketing, in particular, a low engagement rate isn’t just bad because you’re not using your audience to their full potential. It’s bad because it affects your email deliverability – the overall ability to reach your subscribers’ inbox and meet your revenue goals.Naturally, it’s not possible to keep everyone engaged in what you do or say. That is why your email marketing strategy should also lay out the rules for what you’re going to do, e.g. with those who are no longer engaged in your email communication.This is where email list management comes into play.

Best practices for managing an email or contact list

Here aresome best practices you can use to get started and improve your existing email list management processes.

1. Ensure your opt-in forms are set up properly

Although you likely already have an email database, it makes sense to start at the top of the funnel and ensure your signup forms are set up properly.

What I mean by that is that not only your signup forms are secure and add new contacts into your email database in real-time, but also that you collect the user consent the right way.

Doing this, you’ll save yourself the trouble later filtering subscribers who aren’t interested in your offer or never intended to join your list in the first place.

Here are the general rules you’ll want to follow in your signup forms:

  • Be specific and fully transparent about what your users are signing up for. You don’t want to trick people into joining your subscription by making false promises.
  • Ask your visitors only for the absolutely essential personal information, like name and email address. In most cases, that’s all you need to send relevant content to your audience and you can gather any additional information (like company name or birthday) later.
  • Get explicit consent if you’re planning to send marketing emails to your contacts. You can do this by adding an optional checkbox that’ll let users choose if they want to join your list.
  • Provide additional information about how you’re going to process user data, how subscribers can edit or have their data removed, and how they can access your privacy policy information.
  • Ideally, use confirmed opt-in to verify the new email subscribers and filter out invalid email addresses right away.

In addition, on your website or landing page, you may also want to add extra security features that’ll help you filter out bot traffic and avoid the so-called mail bombing. With free services like Google’s reCAPTCHA, you can ensure that your forms will not be compromised and no bots will be automatically added to your email list or customer relationship management system (CRM). And rest assured, with reCaptcha installed your page will still function properly and let real users submit your forms.

Pro tip: GetResponse Signup Form Builder lets you set up signup forms that’ll help you capture leads and transfer them into your database automatically. On top of that, thanks to the consent fields feature, it also helps you stay GDPR-compliant and manage your user consents properly.

2. Verify new contacts with confirmed opt-in

We’ve briefly touched upon confirmed opt-in a.k.a. double opt-in in the previous point, but it’s worth going over this in a bit more detail

Especially given that it’s considered the gold-standard of email marketing by numerous organizations

With proper email list management, you’ll be able to filter out the unengaged email subscribers no matter where or when they start to become unresponsive. However, confirmed opt-in can help you ensure that only quality contacts join your list in the first place.

Here’s how it works:

Step 1. In your signup form, you notify the new contact that in order to fully join the subscription they need to verify their email address by clicking the link in the confirmation email.

Here’s how Further does it on their newsletter signup thank you page:

Newsletter signup thank you page informing users that they need to verify their email address.
Thank you page informing users about the need to confirm their subscription

Step 2. They receive a confirmation that contains a single link that verifies their submission. If they successfully click it, they get added to your list. If they fail to click it, they’re not added to your list.

3. Greet your new contacts with welcome emails

When new subscribers opt into your contact list, their engagement and interest in your brand are at the highest level.

After all, they’ve made a deliberate decision to fill out that form and provided you with their email address because you’ve caught their interest. And now they’re eagerly expecting your next move.

The best way to make a good impression on your new subscribers is to send them a stunning welcome email – or even a whole onboarding email sequence.

Example of a well-designed and engaged welcome email from Magic Spoon.
Example of a well-designed and engaging welcome email from Magic Spoon.

5. Reactivate unengaged subscribers

Do you have unengaged subscribers? You know, people who haven’t opened any of your emails or didn’t click any of the links in, say, 90 days?

Therefore, what you should do is make sure that you regularly reengage your unengaged subscribers either through manually sent campaigns or, better yet, automated sequences.

Here’s an example of a marketing automation workflow inside GetResponse that’d help you run this type of campaign on autopilot:

Reengagement marketing automation workflow.
Reengagement marketing automation workflow

In every email, remind subscribers they opted into your email list

The average email subscriber on your contact list receives 416 emails per month from other lists they’re subscribed to. So you can imagine how easy it can be for them to forget they even signed up to receive your emails. 

And if they don’t remember they subscribed, chances are they’ll stop engaging with your content or even worse, report your email as spam. This will damage your reputation with mailbox providers like Gmail, Yahoo Mail, etc.

This is where permission reminders come in. In every email you send, remind your subscribers that they chose to receive your emails by signing up on your website or landing page and that they can easily opt-out if they want to.

A permission reminder is a short, simple statement that reminds the reader who you are and how they ended up on your contact list. And they’re usually in the footer. Here’s a good example of a permission reminder from the New York Times:

Permission reminder in the email footer


Email list management is an essential part of any email marketing strategy. And with it, you will increase your ROI and improve your contact list quality over its quantity. 

Good thing you have this guide for free. Now, go on, use what we’ve shared here to get your email list organized. Keep sending relevant and personalized email campaigns to your subscribers! The improvement in the bottom line will make all your email marketing efforts worth it!

And if you’re considering switching to a new email marketing provider, you’re welcome to test GetResponse for 30 days completely free. Equipped with our tools, you’ll find email list management easy and enjoyable.Try GetResponse for free

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