Set Yourself Up For Success: How to Organize & Manage Your Email Lists
By Sean Tinney September 15, 2021
When it comes to email list management, organization is the most important part.
Whether you’re building your list from scratch or giving your lists a much needed overhaul, this guide should help you find an email list management strategy that works for you.
But what is email list management?
Email list management is the process of organizing your lists in such a way that ensure you’re sending targeted and personalized emails to the right people.
There are two ways you can organize your email lists:
- The single list model
- The multiple list model
Whether you prefer to keep your contacts organized on one list or multiple, there are pros and cons to either management system. We’ll walk through those points (and cover some of our best tips for each) below.
The single list model
Keeping your subscribers organized on a single list has its pros and cons.
- Only need to manage one email list.
- Send highly personalized emails with segmentation
- Reduce costs
- Apply automation
- Must be diligent with list hygiene
- Keep an organized tagging system
When using a single list to organize and manage your email contacts, segmentation is going to be a huge part of your strategy.
But first, what is segmentation?
Segmentation is the process of grouping your subscribers based on certain criteria. You can segment your email list based on demographics, location, level of email engagement, previous purchases, and more. Segmenting your list to send personalized content can increase your conversion rate by 760%.
Segmentation should be a critical part of your email marketing strategy if you choose to use a single list to organize your contacts.
Why? Because one size does not fit all
Every subscriber is unique and needs to be treated that way. Nobody likes getting generic “email blasts” with content that doesn’t satisfy their needs. Studies have shown that over 71% of people get annoyed if an email is not relevant to them.
Segmenting your list will:
- Increase open and click rates
- Boost conversions
- Keep people happy and build loyalty
Practically speaking, think of how you respond to irrelevant emails. Chances are you’ll either dismiss them or look for ways to unsubscribe. Use segmentation to send the right message to the right people at the right time.
How can you use segmentation?
You can use segments to send personalized broadcasts and set up campaign automations.
There are many ways to use segmentation but here are a few use cases:
- Send different email content to groups of people based on their interests
- Location specific content based on where a person lives
- Send emails based on how long they’ve been a subscriber
- Send specific content based on products someone buys
You can create segments by using tags in many email service providers.
Tags are customizable labels you can add to subscribers based on what you know about them or how they interact with your content.
You can use tags to efficiently organize—aka segment—your subscribers using just one list.
Here’s how you do it:
- Add a tag to your subscribers (There are tons of ways to add a tag in AWeber)
- Go to Subscribers. Search for “Tag” “is” then your tag name
- Click “Search” then save your search as a “Segment”
You can slice and dice your list any way you want using your custom tags and segments. You’ll be able to use these powerful tools to send hyper relevant content to your audience.
This will build trust, increase conversions, and reduce your unsubscribes which will ultimately help your business grow.
The multiple list model
Organizing your subscribers on multiple lists is also an option if your email service provider supports it.
- Keep customers and prospects organized on separate lists
- Run multiple businesses from one email marketing account
- Manually move contacts that convert from one list to another
- Additional cost to create multiple lists
Multiple lists are especially helpful if you run an agency. This is also true if you’re a virtual assistant or marketing consultant working with multiple clients. It’s a great way to save time and money, as you don’t need to manage multiple accounts for your clients — simply shuffle between lists from one account.
Additionally, if you run multiple businesses — or think you may want to pursue multiple endeavours in the future — it’s helpful to have a separate list for each project.
This will help you easily keep track of where people signed up for a particular project’s or business’s list. It’s much less likely to mistakenly email subscribers for different businesses or projects when your subscribers are separated on to different lists. This will help you ensure compliance with GDPR and give you peace of mind.
If you’re worried about getting your wires crossed, then the multiple list model may be right for you.
Let’s look at an example — say you run a nutrition coaching business. You have one list with everyone who has signed up for your ebook “The 10 Secrets to Eating More Fruits and Vegetables.” You frequently email your list with nutrition tips and the occasional promotion of your 1×1 nutrition coaching services.
But, you’re also thinking of beginning to sell health supplements. You may want to keep a separate list to ensure those people who want nutrition tips don’t suddenly get frustrated that you’re sending them information about supplements — because that’s not what they signed up for.
Keeping separate lists in this scenario will help you maintain your email deliverability (by reducing the number of spam complaints and unsubscribes) and compliance with GDPR as well.
The bottom line: best practices for email list management
However you choose to manage your email list, there are a few best practices to keep in mind:
- Never buy an email list
- Set expectations at the point of opt-in in your sign up form
- Send a confirmed opt-in email
- Make it easy to unsubscribe
- Maintain a clean list through regular list hygiene practices
- Re-engage subscribers who have not opened an email from you lately
- Maintain an inventory of segments and tags
How do you like to manage your email lists? Tell us how in the comments!
Content written by James Chun