Useful tools for managing your mailing list

Intro

If you’re keeping your email list in an Excel spreadsheet or database, you are far from being the only one. While a small list is easy enough to manage and keep track of, you do have to plan for the future. After all, you do wish to grow your business and with it your mailing list.

As your list gets bigger and bigger, you will have trouble to manage it. People may subscribe or unsubscribe at will. Email addresses become outdated as your readers change addresses. When huge numbers of these occur, you will have headaches to manually keep your list up to date. Failure to do so means you risk emailing people who have unsubscribed or are no longer reachable. That is a sure-fire way for you to be blacklisted as a spammer.

 

Consider the services of Email Service Providers (ESP)

If you’re worried about costs, some of these provides have a free tier where you can have full service for up to a certain number of emails on your list. This provides a great way for you to explore their services and see which one fits your requirement best.

Benefits of using ESPs:

  • Beautiful email marketing campaign templates

    • If you’re not a web developer, you will waste lots of time trying to get an email design right. With mobile viewers, your email must be a responsive design which requires a degree of technical knowledge and capability to create. You also have to worry about optimizing your design with Call-To-Actions that are strategically placed to maximize your open and click rates. Easier to just use a ready-made template that is gorgeous and able to display properly in devices of all sizes.
  • Double opt-in feature

    • When you add an email address to your mailing list at the ESP, they will usually send out a verification email to check if the recipient actually did sign up for the list. This double opt-in feature is great and a legal necessity due to the European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR).
  • Unsubscribe feature

    • As mentioned previously, if you have a large number of unsubscribes, manually updating your mailing list would be a super tedious affair. Sending emails via the ESP and using their templates, an unsubscribe link is normally included. Your recipients just have to click that and they are unsubscribed with zero effort needed on your part.
  • Email campaign metrics

    • Using the ESP to send your marketing campaign is better than sending the emails yourself. They are able to measure if your emails are reaching your audience. If you’re wondering if your readers actually read your emails (a.k.a. open rate), the ESP keeps track of that too. In addition, they can also measure if the recipient clicks (a.k.a. click rate) on any links in the email. Emails that bounced or marked as spam are also counted which provides a valuable hint as to any serious issues with your list or your email contents.
  • Auto unsubscribe if bounce

    • Most ESPs will auto unsubscribe an email from your list if the sent email incurs a hard bounce. This prevents you from continually spamming the bad email address, thus protecting you from being labeled a spammer.
  • Easy to segment your list

    • This feature is underrated but the ability to segment your list can easily boost your open and click rates. When you separate the emails on your list by what will interest the recipients, you are sending relevant materials to users who want to read about those things.

 

Which ESPs should I use?

If you’re new to ESPs, look for those ESPs with a free tier like MailChimp. It’s a great way to dip your toe into using ESPs.  Once you’ve tried out the free tier ESPs and you feel you want more, then you can check out other ESPs like Aweber, SendGrid, Mailgun, HubSpot, SparkPost, etc.  You could also choose to upgrade your MailChimp account to a paid one if you decide to stick with them.

While most ESPs will offer similar basic functionalities, you can decide on your own choice based on pricing, volume of your emails, advanced needs like API integration and so forth. Using the services of an ESP will give you lots of benefits and enables you to devote your time to building your business.

 

Bonus tool

Now that you’ve gotten a better understanding of what ESPs can do for your business, you should also keep in mind that even with double opt-in, emails can become outdated or no longer exists. Before sending any email campaigns, import your list into MailboxValidator to screen out invalid emails. MailboxValidator can automatically import your list and update the clean list back into your ESP account. With regular screenings like this, you can be sure your emails are reaching your intended audience. When your open and click rates go up, your revenue will follow.

List of supported ESPs for import into MailboxValidator.

 


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