How to maintain list hygiene?

List hygiene is a set of practices you use to ensure the good quality of your list. In your GetResponse account, it’s also the name for a feature that gives you the ability to remove and blacklist contacts from your lists.

Note: it’s best not to limit your list hygiene activities to the options that we offer in the List Hygiene feature.

Maintaining list hygiene means:

  • regularly removing inactive or non-engaged contacts from your list
  • blacklisting any undesirable email addresses and domains that can negatively impact your marketing strategy
  • making sure that you don’t send multiple copies of the same message to a single subscriber.

List hygiene starts even before contacts make it into your account. Before you import them, your list needs to be permission-based. Avoid adding contacts just to increase your list size. It’s all about quality, not quantity.

Taking care of the quality of your contact database improves deliverability, increases open and click rates, and fosters customer engagement.

What does it mean that a list is permission-based?

All lists that don’t require a double opt-in must be permission-based. This means that you need explicit, first-hand permission from people to add them to your list.

Additionally, keep in mind that contacts give their permission to the sender specifically, and this permission only applies to a particular type of mailings. If you start sending content your contacts don’t expect from you, they might mark your messages as spam.

Lists that aren’t permission-based:

  • “safe-lists”, third party lists, and co-registered lists. Purchasing a list from a third party doesn’t make it permission-based.
  • lists that include your friends and family. The fact that you know them doesn’t automatically mean they’ve agreed for you to add them to your database.
  • your LinkedIn contacts
  • lists that are over 6 months old. If you’ve had the list for this long and haven’t contacted them even once, the permission to email them is considered expired.

Check your list for quality before you upload it. Remove bounces, unsubscribed addresses, and invalid addresses.

What should you do to make sure that your list quality remains high?

Get rid of non-engaged contacts on a regular basis

Each and every list, no matter how engaged, contains some contacts that show no signs of activity. They don’t click links, don’t open your messages. There may be several reasons for this. One of them might be that the email address was abandoned, which means that they’ll eventually turn into user unknown bounces. Since more and more ISPs tend to focus on engagement metrics in order to classify messages, it’s crucial that your engagement is as high as possible so your messages don’t get filtered as spam. The bottom line is, if a contact remains on your list with no activity for more than 6 months, we recommend that you remove it. Make sure to do it every 6 months.

Never try to trick your contacts into staying on the list

You should avoid the following practices:

  • hiding the unsubscribe link
  • making the opt-out process harder than it should be
  • adding your own unsubscribe link to your GetResponse messages as they already contain one by default. Note: You may instead add an additional GetResponse unsubscribe link by including [[remove]] in the body of the message, preferably at the top.

If someone decides to leave your list, they will do this one way or another. For instance, if someone isn’t able to unsubscribe the regular way, they will most likely resort to reporting your message as spam in order to stop getting messages from you.

Fixing a stale list is sometimes possible through a reactivation campaign

If you’d rather not remove non-engaged contacts but you can still see signs of fatigue in your list, you might want to consider running a reconfirmation campaign.

You can leave all active contacts out of this send. It’s a good idea to offer some extra incentive for those who reconfirm. This can be a promo code, a freebie, anything that you assume would work for your contacts. After a few days, remove those who never confirmed.

Another thing that can improve the quality and effectiveness of the whole process is the resubscribe option. Simply add information to your message about how contacts can resubscribe to your list in the future, if they decide to do so.

Should I blacklist non-engaged contacts?

You should only blacklist those emails and domains that you want to prevent from re-subscribing, or from being added to your list. We recommend you use your own discretion when creating blacklisting rules. Non-engaged contacts should not be blacklisted, only removed after a certain time of inactivity. They might decide to re-subscribe, and this way they’ll be free to join your list again.