4 Tips for Better Email List Management
Flawless execution. This is important for the reputation of your brand, the success of your campaign, and most importantly, for your customer’s experience. As you review your message content with a fine toothed comb for copy errors, link functionality, and HTML rendering, don’t ignore your list!
Dynamic, data driven content and advanced segmentation techniques have become widely used in email campaigns (and rightly so, as the results are proven). And, as technical capabilities advance, so does the need for strict quality control checks on your email lists. Execution mistakes caused by mismanagement of lists are more common than content related errors and are just as preventable.
Tips for list management quality control checks:
- Confirm list instructions upfront. Details of the list target for an email campaign should always be communicated upfront, in the early stages of the campaign management process. And, since content should always be created with the target audience in mind, this is already a part of the creative process. Be sure to bridge the communication gap by sharing this information with the person who manages your data to ensure that they fully understand the targeting requirements and goals for your message. Your DBA (Database Administrator) may provide additional value and insights at this stage – they know the data well and may think of additional data points and profile information that you could potentially tap into.
- Populating variables. When your message template designs are being finalized, be sure that all customer data fields required to populate in the message are included in your list request upfront. If required fields are not included in the initial list pull, there can be deployment delays while these are appended or the list is re-pulled.
- List Counts. If you’re not already, ask the person who processes your lists to adopt a standard waterfall format for providing list count details. Applying suppressions and segmentation in the same order for every list that is processed will help you to become more familiar with your list counts and when something is not right, it is more likely to stand out. Below is an example of a typical list hygiene waterfall worksheet.
In addition to comparing the counts to previous lists, always ask yourself if the counts make sense based on what you know about your database and the makeup of your customers. If you’re surprised that your prospect segment is so much larger than your customer segment, ensure that this is flagged and then double check.
The appropriate people should then review the counts sheet and approve all final counts. At each stage where the list is handled, the counts should always be checked back to this worksheet.
4. Check dynamic variables. You probably did this extensively while in test mode on your creative, but, when your final deployment list is ready, you should be sending one last round of tests with sample records from your deployment list. If something broke between template testing and finalizing the list, this will give you a final chance to catch it.
***Always double check variable values within your list to ensure that you don’t have any blank or malformed values to avoid errors in the populated message. A strict quality control checklist can ensure your campaigns are executed successfully.