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10 Email List Management Best Practices and Tools

kokou adzo




Do you know why you keep getting little to no results from your email campaigns?

It is because your email list isn’t properly managed.

Imagine sending new emails to targets that have yet to open any of your previous emails in months. What kind of results do you expect to get from that?

For better email marketing results, you need to adopt better email list management practices. In this article, we will go through a few of these practices, how to do them right, and the best tools to help maintain your email list as it grows.

What is Email List Management?

Before diving into these email list management practices, it will be in your best interest to better understand what email list management is. It refers to the strategies or methods of controlling and managing your email subscribers.

Email list management entails eliminating email duplicates, invalid email addresses, unsubscribed and unengaged contacts, and maintaining updated tags and segments of your list. This will allow you to easily send more targeted and personalized emails, which is essential for result-yielding email marketing campaigns.

Email List Management Best Practices

Below you will find the ten best email list management practices you can adopt to get the most results from your email marketing campaigns.

 1. Properly Set Up your Opt-In Forms

Although you may have acquired a long email list, you still need to ensure your opt-in forms are done and presented appropriately. Aside from adding new subscribers to your database instantaneously, opt-in forms also help to affirm users’ consent.

This practice will not only help save time but also the trouble of identifying subscribers who do not intend to join your list or those without an interest in what you are offering.


Below are some tips to adhere to when setting up your opt-in forms.

  • Be fully transparent and specific

Clearly state what your potential subscribers would be signing up for. Avoid offering false promises to trick people into becoming a part of your email list.

  • Only demand the necessary personal information

Email addresses and names are examples of such information. These are the only information you may need for your email marketing campaigns. For more personalized content, you may need additional information like birthdays and company names which can be collected later on.

  • If you plan on sending marketing content to subscribers you must get their consent. 

This can be achieved by providing a checkbox (make it optional) to allow users to indicate if they want to be getting promotional materials from you or your brand/company.

  • Let your users in on how their data will be processed. 

This often involves allowing users access to the privacy policy information on your site. Also, tell them how they can access, edit their data, or request it is removed.

  • Verify new email subscribers. 

This will require sending out confirmation emails immediately after a user subscribes. The purpose is to get rid of invalid emails and identify subscribers interested in your offer.


You can properly create an opt-in form using the GetResponse Forms and Popups Creator tool. Furthermore, you can avoid mail bombing and get rid of bot traffic by adding extra security features to your website’s landing pages. Google’s reCAPTCHA is an example of a free service that can help with this. This way, you can rest assured that your opt-in forms and CRM (Customer Relationship Management System) will remain uncompromised, allowing only real users to subscribe to your email list.


  2. Confirm and Verify New Contacts

In the first point, we briefly talked about opt-in confirmations. Here is where we will dive into it in detail because it is arguably among the fundamentals of email marketing and has also been recognized by renowned organizations such as M3AAWG and Spamhaus.

Although email list management helps with filtering and getting rid of unresponsive subscribers irrespective of when they started to become unengaged, confirming opt-ins or signups makes sure your email list is filled with quality contacts, reducing the possibility of having unresponsive subscribers.

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This is how to go about it:

  • Step One

Make it clear on your opt-in form that your subscribers must verify their email address to fully become a part of the subscription. And to do so will require clicking on the verification link that will be sent to them.

  • Step Two

If they go ahead and click on the email confirmation link after receiving it in their email, they automatically get added to your subscriber list. But if they don’t, then they won’t be added to your subscriber list.

This is a plus because, in case a subscriber provides a fake email address or makes a typo error, your marketing campaign won’t be affected as such a user won’t be added to your email list and won’t be getting future marketing content.

Aside from building a sound email list, opt-in confirmations signal mail service providers (MSPs) like Yahoo! or Gmail that you are an authentic sender with legit messages. This is how a strong sender reputation is built over time. Your email deliverability will be improved upon, and spam folders won’t receive your messages.


 3. Send Out Welcome Emails

It is a fact that subscribers’ engagement and interest in a company/brand are at their highest levels when they newly opt into your email list. This is true because you’ve caught their interest and their decision to fill out your opt-in form with their details is deliberate. Therefore, your next move will be eagerly expected.

There’s no better way to create a good impression on your latest subscribers than sending an attractive welcome email. Below are the things you stand to gain from sending a stunning welcome email to your new subscribers:

  • Notify new users that their subscription was successful and was well-processed.
  • Display a sense of gratitude to new subscribers for developing an interest in your brand/company.
  • Inform your new subscriber about the type of content they’ll be receiving and set the tone for future communications.
  • Provide the perfect opportunity to fulfill the promise of sending free content after signing up if you did make that promise.
  • Increase the likelihood of being added to their safe sender list, as they’ll be expecting to hear from you in the future.

Aside from the benefits mentioned above, an email marketing benchmark study proves that welcome emails get very high engagement, with open rates above 86 percent and 24 percent click-through rates. This also contributes to building a positive sender reputation in the eyes of ISPs (Internet Service Providers) like Yahoo! or Gmail.

Email management tools like Sendinblue, GetResponse, and Mailchimp are exceptional when it comes to providing stunning welcome emails.


  4. Tagging and Segmentation

Tagging and segmentation are other effective email list management techniques you need to adopt. The former allows you to allocate tags according to user actions on your website. Here is an example to help you better understand what we mean by tagging. If a customer makes use of a discount code that was sent through your welcome email, you can allocate a tag to them, such as “Converted through welcome offer.”

On the other hand, segmentation has to do with categorizing your subscribers with similar traits into smaller groups. This can be exercised when sending out marketing materials. For example, if you have a sales-driven website, you can categorize your subscribers or customers into two segments; customers who agreed to receive marketing materials and customers who didn’t.

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Being able to personalize your content and getting to know your audience better are the primary objectives of tagging and segmentation. This way, your email campaigns become more effective in terms of content deliverability and ROI (Return on Investment).

Examples of email management tools you can effectively use to tag and segment your email list are Moosend, Sendinblue, Mailchimp, and Hubspot.


 5. Launch Re-engagement Campaigns

The purpose of re-engagement campaigns is to reactivate unengaged subscribers. You will have certain persons who have yet to click any of your links or open any of your emails throughout, let’s say, ninety days.

Unengaged subscribers occur naturally due to several factors that may or may not have anything to do with you, and as such, you should not get worked up. However, it would be unfair to you if you ignore these unengaged subscribers and continue sending out content with the hopes of getting any kind of response. You should know that mail service providers monitor the engagement between their customers and your content. So, suppose a large number of your subscribers (recipients) continue to show little or no interest in the messages you send. When you send new emails to such people, such messages are automatically dumped in the “Junk Folder.”

To avoid your messages getting thrown into a folder no one touches, you must regularly make attempts to re-engage your silent subscribers. You can either make use of automated sequences or manually initiate this campaign. Email management tools such as GetResponse, Wishpond, ConvertKit, Mailjet, and MailChimp are great for launching automated re-engagement campaigns.


  6. Get Rid of Unengaged Subscribers

This should be the next step if your re-engagement efforts do not suffice. You can either delete these unresponsive email addresses or suppress them from receiving future content.

For small businesses where every single lead counts, this might seem like an extreme approach. However, you should consider the negative effects this could have on deliverability. Focus on the bright side of things; the ability to attract new contacts.

To carry out this process, you can either go the automated or manual way. The former involves an automated workflow, automatically deleting a contact after an unsuccessful re-engagement campaign. The latter involves searching for contacts who have been on your contact list for, let’s say, 90 days without opening any of your emails. Attempt a re-engagement campaign and if it becomes unsuccessful, delete them.

The above-mentioned email management tools for launching re-engagement campaigns can also be used to get rid of unengaged subscribers.


 7. Remind Subscribers they Opted into your Contact List and can Always Opt-out at any Time

In every email you send out to your subscribers, you must let them know that they are receiving that email because they signed up for it. This information should be displayed at the footer of an email after the main content. This is necessary because an average email subscriber gets around 400 emails in a month from other email lists they subscribed to. This gives you an idea of how easy it is for a subscriber to forget he or she ever opted into your email list.

If a subscriber does not remember subscribing to your content and isn’t reminded, they are more likely to report your email as spam. This is bad and will hurt your reputation with ISPs like Yahoo Mail, Gmail, Outlook, and others. To prevent such incidents from ever happening, it is important to always include a short statement at the footer of every email as a reminder that they consented to receive your content and can always opt-out whenever they feel like doing so.

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Irrespective of where your business is situated, there exist privacy laws companies and brands must follow. These laws have zero tolerance for spam and require outright permission from users for brands/companies to be able to send content of any sort. If a certain subscriber does not remember subscribing to your content and brands your emails as spam, you risk getting penalized.

Although you are not required by law to add consent reminders to your emails after gaining a subscriber’s consent, including these reminders will boost a subscriber’s confidence in your brand/company and the deliverability rate of your messages.

It does not require any special email management tool to remind your contacts of their consent. But you can always stick with renowned tools such as Mailjet, ConvertKit, Mailchimp, and whatever works best for creating and sending emails to your subscribers.

8. Auto-Delete Email Addresses that Bounce

When it comes to bouncing emails, we have two types – hard and soft bounces. Hard bounces imply that a subscriber’s email address is unreachable because it is invalid or non-existent. Soft bounces are temporary and mean that an email address isn’t available at the moment or that the customer’s mailbox is full.

Whether it is a hard or soft bounce you are experiencing, as a reputable sender, having high bounce rates is bad for business. It gives mail service providers the impression that your email management practices need to catch up. The outcome of such an incident is that these mail service providers will either temporarily block or postpone your mail delivery. In rare cases, they could permanently block you.

Fortunately, email list management tools are capable of dealing with bounce rate issues. Most of these tools automatically delete invalid or non-existent email addresses from your list. For example, GetRespone can automatically delete email addresses that cause a soft bounce after 4 attempts and addresses that cause a hard bounce after 2 attempts. Other tools include Mailgun, Mailchimp, Clearout, Neverbounce, and Hunter.


 9.Gauge Engagements by Using a Scoring System

The best way to measure subscribers’ engagement rates is by making use of a scoring system. There are only a few email marketing software capable of doing this, so yours is definitely a goldmine if it does. An email management tool like GetResponse is capable of allocating score points to subscribers that make certain actions on a website. It also lets you deduct score points from subscribers who do not perform certain functions.

Aside from being able to determine happier and healthier email subscribers by using score points, you can also organize reward programs for valuable contacts, redefine individual contact profiles, and build early warning systems that can be triggered by declining engagement.

Alternative email management tools to GetResponse that allows users to allocate score points to subscribers are Mailchimp, HubSpot, Mailigen, and AWeber.


10.Based on your Scoring System, Send out Personalized Emails

Let’s assume you’ve instructed your email management tool to allocate 20 score points to certain contacts for making certain actions on your website. You can have automated emails set up and ready to be sent to them once they reach the 20 points mark.

For example, when a subscriber gets 20 points for visiting the checkout page, you can send them a persuasive email for them to purchase whatever it is you are selling. If they end up not buying a product or service after a few days, you can then send them a follow-up email. If your follow-up email was not able to make them change their mind, do not send them any more emails. Instead, deduct their points.

Taking scoring points into consideration before sending out emails to subscribers will ensure you are sending these messages not just to the right people but at the right time which is more likely to increase conversion rates and engagements.

The same email management tools used to allocate score points to contacts on your email list can also be used to send out automated, personalized emails.


Kokou Adzo is the editor and author of He is passionate about business and tech, and brings you the latest Startup news and information. He graduated from university of Siena (Italy) and Rennes (France) in Communications and Political Science with a Master's Degree. He manages the editorial operations at

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