Renata Gajoch-Bielecka created edited
7 Clever ways to manage your subscriber listBack to list of articles
Subscriber list management is the most important part of your email marketing activities. How you build it, manage it and how quickly it grows are keys to the success of any campaign. We've put together 7 simple tricks to help you get the most from your subscriber list by boosting the rate of new signups and tricks for managing your addresses.
1. Consent to store subscriber data in an easy to use form
The goal of a well constructed newsletter sign up form, no matter where you place it, is to encourage subscribers to join. It’s up to you to explain the benefits that joining will bring and the frequency of the messages you will send. But even the best designed sign up forms won’t succeed if they don’t ask new subscribers to consent to:
- receiving mails from you,
- having their personal stored for commercial purposes.
Also always remember that you must always make it possible to unsubscribe from your mailing list through a resignation link that you should include in every mail.
Obtaining consent is not just good practice, it is a legal obligation in most jurisdictions. Consent in the context of email marketing means explicit agreement on the part of the subscriber to receive commercial messages.
By “explicit” we mean that the consent was given to a clear and easily understood request that wasn't bundled or hidden within the text for something else or separate. The best customers are the ones who understand the terms of your relationship to always be up front, honest and open about your intentions.
Remember that this consent must be stored electronically in the even that it is necessary to access it in the future for whatever reason.
Use of the double opt-in model in FreshMail takes care of this by making it possible to document exactly when and from what email and IP address new subscribers clicked in the link necessary to join a newsletter mailing list.
You can choose from various methods of obtaining this consent, like checkboxes, by modifying the source code on your website.
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You can also place the text regarding legal consent in a confirmation message that is automatically sent to new subscribers when you gather addresses with the double opt-in method. What does this mean? After signing up, new subscribers see a message informing them that they have been sent an email with a link that they need to click on in order to confirm their subscription. Only after clicking on the link are they added to your subscriber database. This process guarantees that the owner of the email address wants to receive messages from you.
This way is more convenient because you place consent in the confirmation message yourself. It’s easy to implement this procedure in Freshmail - just take a look at our guide.
2. Single or Double opt-in - which one should you use for your mailing list?
This is a decision you need to make early on when you start to create your subscriber database. You can always switch from one to the other later but it helps to know the differences between the two models:
- single opt-in,
- double opt-in.
We always advise our customers to use the double opt-in model because it requires new subscribers to confirm their intention to sign up to your newsletter by clicking on an activation link sent to the email address they provide. This is generally preferable because you can be sure that the given email address not only actually exists but belongs to someone who wants to be added to your mailing list. In the single opt-in model, email addresses are automatically added directly to your mailing list without such confirmation.
The double opt-in model gives you more control over the hygiene of your database. Using single opt-in may allow your subscriber list to grow faster in some circumstances but is more likely to result in the addition of addresses that will bounce. It also exposes you to spam traps - addresses that are used to identify and punish spammers by ruining their sender reputations in the servers of email service providers. The use of spam traps is a common weapon in the arsenal against the abuse of email and a useful way to verify that email marketers are acting in accordance with good practices.
The double opt-in model lets you maintain database hygiene as your list grows and doesn't make you spend time deleting bad addresses. It also helps to build your reputation as a sender, which is among the most important thing any email marketer has. Also, when you use a trial account from FreshMail or you choose the “Pay as a you go” model with a paid account, using the double opt-in model means you only pay for sending emails to addresses that you know exist and are expecting messages from you.
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When you use the double opt-in model, some subscribers will forget to click the link that you send them in the confirmation mail for joining your newsletter, which obviously slows down the rate of growth of your mailing list. This is, however, a feature in FreshMail that will automatically take care of this without requiring your additional time and attention.
Just set a reminder to be sent after a given amount of time has passed since the confirmation mail was sent. Go to Settings and the Contact Lists and click on Send the confirmation reminders automatically. Simply select how long after the first message was sent that new subscribers should get a reminder about clicking the confirmation link. Done!
3. Use your first contact for more than confirming the subscription to your newsletter
Don’t make the mistake of waiting after some time has passed after someone signs up to your newsletter to start communicating with them. The moment when they sign up is the best time to begin the conversion process and engaging them with your messages. A report from Experian shows that more than half of welcome messages sent after joining a newsletter get opened, which is a very high rate of response. FreshMail’s functionalities make it easy to take full advantage of the time when subscribers are most interested in your message and it’s all done automatically.
The #openrate for welcoming messages in #emailmarketing is over 50%. Click to Tweet
Do it smarter
Getting a standard confirmation message asking you to confirm a newsletter subscription doesn't make much of an impression. It’s just part of the process, part of a routine. Why not surprise and impress new subscribers with something a little more interesting and maybe even surprise them? Use FreshMail’s Sign-up Autoresponders for new subscribers to automatically send messages to every new subscriber as soon as they sign up to your mailing list.
These can be sent as a kind of one-message campaign immediately. Use them to give a discount on a first purchase, a code for free delivery or some kind of premium content that can’t be found anywhere else or is usually for sale. It’s important to keep this all a secret to maintain the impact on recipients - such unexpected bonuses can have a great influence on decisions like deciding to buy.
Or maybe you need more than one email to communicate your message. Something like a guide or multi-part training program might require a few separate mails. No problem! Just set up multiple autoresponders to be sent, for example, one, two or three days after signup.
Learn more about how to set up your Sign-up Autoresponders in our guide. Find it by going to Creator then select Autoresponder and Sign-up Autoresponder.
4. Effectively segmenting your subscriber list
FreshMail gives you a wide range of tools to arrange your mailing lists according to the goals you have for each campaign. You can create a group of subscribers of the same gender, same geographic location or who completed a certain action in your last campaign among many other things. Of course, you can combine rules that more precisely define who your target is for a particular campaign. This allows you to better personalize your message and increase the chances that your recipients will be interested in the offer and click on links you include in the mail. You can learn more about all the possibilities of segmentation in our guide, and how segmentation can drastically increase important metrics like your open rate.
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Segmentation can be used as a way to give recipients a second chance at opening your mail. Many of our clients ask what the best thing to do is when a campaign’s open rate is below what was expected. If you’re sure that the message was well designed and appealed to the needs and interests of your subscribers then other factors might be at work. Perhaps you sent it at an inconvenient time or allowed too much time to pass since your last campaign. Fortunately, there’s a great way to quickly and easily send the campaign again but only to those who didn't open it the first time it was sent. First use FreshMail’s analytical tools to be sure that the newsletter itself contains all the necessary elements and won’t be flagged as spam.
Now create a segment based on the behavioural data of your subscribers - in this case, whether or not they opened the campaign already or not. Start by clicking on Subscribers and then select the list where you want to create the new segment. Choose Segmentation and Add segment. All you have to do then is select the campaign you want to re-send and your new segment will be created.
Now send the campaign again only to subscribers from this group.
5. Adding new subscribers to a list
If you gather addresses in several places at once you may want to later manually import them to a current subscriber list in your database. No problem! Just prepare a file with the new addresses in CSV, XLS, XLSX or TXT format and add them to an existing list by following the steps in our guide. You can also manually add them by typing them in as well.
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Sometimes addresses can appear on multiple lists. An address that is marked as inactive or resigned from one list can appear as active when added to another. To avoid this situation, don’t forget to examine the status of recipients on a list when importing new data. This way you can keep the current status of all subscribers and no one will receive messages from you that has previously resigned from your mailing lists.
You can adjust these setting when importing new addresses to your database. Start by clicking on Subscribers. Select the list that you want to add to and click Add subscribers. Choose the method of importing data, add the addresses and expand the Advanced options and select Change status if subscriber appears on another list.
6. Use extra fields
FreshMail lets you automatically generate codes for newsletter sign up forms that can be copied into the source code of your website. In addition to the standard field for email addresses, you can also include extra fields where new subscribers can enter other information like their names. Remember not to create too many extra fields since too many of them can discourage potential subscribers from going through with the process. It’s about striking a balance between getting information that will help you personalize messages for subscribers and not making the signup process too cumbersome. Also remember that extra fields should be optional. All you really need to have is the email address and name - everything else is nice to have but not required.
To generate your own form, select Subscribers from the main menu and then choose the list that the form should add addresses to. Then click Sign-up Form and Sign-up Form Creator.
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You can put information that subscribers enter into the additional fields to clever use by using the targeting functions in FreshMail. Let’s say you run some kind of business with multiple locations. You can ask subscribers which location they most often visit and, using this information, segment your database accordingly. You will immediately learn:
- how many subscribers did not fill in the field,
- how many subscribers selected a particular location.
This information can be used to create a dedicated campaign with special offers for each location to personalize the message with something like “Check out our amazing offer for visitors to our _________ store!”
To use additional fields for a targeted campaign, select Subscribers from the main menu and choose the list where you want to create a segment. Click on Segmentation and then Add segment. Enter the name of the extra field and the conditions for its content. Remember that it can be an age, favourite colour or anything that might help you to make your campaigns more effective.
7. Monitor the frequency of your campaigns
If you use autoresponders in addition to your usual newsletters and other messages, it’s easy to lose count of exactly how many emails you are asking your recipients to open. How many messages did you sent to a particular subscriber in a particular month? If you don’t know, it’s possible that you are sending too many messages and perhaps making your subscribers think about resigning from your mailing list.
54% of #newsletter recipients think that they are sent too often. Click to Tweet
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Fortunately you don’t have to write anything down every time you send an email. FreshMail makes it easy to set limits on the number of messages, autoresponders and newsletters that each of your subscribers can receive. Remember that sending too many emails is one of the main reasons why subscribers decide to resign from mailing lists so always be sure you aren't testing their limits.
You can set the type of emails that you send to subscribers in the fifth step of the campaign creation process by clicking Enable advanced?
To limit the number of messages you send to addresses in your database, click Settings and then Contact Lists. Then go to How often do you want to send messages to your subscribers?
So now you see that you can either simply manage your subscriber database or work smarter to take full advantage of its potential. FreshMail supports you at every step in your email marketing to make it easy for even beginners to create campaigns like an expert. If you’re just starting out, don’t be afraid! Start a 14 days trial account today and see the amazing possibilities FreshMail puts at your fingertips!