If you’re used to navigating a crowded inbox, it’s likely you’re familiar with how popular email marketing is for brand communication. Bulk emails are a way to build trust, encourage engagement, and, ultimately, boost sales. But the effectiveness of your bulk email campaigns rests on how well you manage your contact lists. This is why we’re sharing tactics to help you build subscriber list(s), maintain compliant contact databases, and practice list hygiene.

bulk email

How to Build Your Contact Database

The first step in your bulk email journey is to build your contact list(s). This is because you could have the most powerfully written and designed email, but your efforts would be wasted without an active and captive audience.

It isn’t always easy to attract email recipients. It takes time and commitment to gather interested contacts, and you’ll need to continue to build your lists on an ongoing basis.

One of the most effective ways to build a contact list is by creating a subscription form on your website, blog, landing page, or social media. You can use the form to gather subscribers’ contact details and the information you need to send effective campaigns.

Simply housing a subscription form on your preferred platform(s) is often not enough to entice people to sign up for your newsletter. There are some persuasion tactics you can use to encourage visitors to share their contact details with you and sign up for the content you’re offering.

Everlytic has a team of Client Relationship Managers who can guide you to create and send effective campaigns that deliver top results. One of these relationship managers is Kimberly Falcon, who shared her top tip for gaining email subscribers is by offering an incentive.

“The beauty of an incentive lies in the ability to persuade potential subscribers to take action and engage with your brand in a meaningful way. Whether it’s a special discount on their first purchase or access to exclusive content, incentives can entice potential subscribers to complete the subscription process and join your mailing list,” said Falcon.

It is, however, important to keep in mind that you are asking a lot of someone to hand over their personal information to you. If your incentive is a discount, you are asking potential subscribers to give you both their personal information and a sale. Therefore, the incentive you offer needs to be worthwhile.

Another approach is to run a competition. People will often sign up to a newsletter in a bid to win a competition. Be aware that often when the competition is over, subscribers either unsubscribe or are no longer engaged in your emails, which could damage your sender reputation in the long run.

The most important consideration of your subscription form is describing what your newsletter will give subscribers – for example, valuable and exclusive content – and how often. This is likely to persuade interested parties to sign up, and it’s also a legal requirement for data privacy regulations, like the Protection of Personal Information Act. You need to be clear about the intention of your newsletter, what someone will gain from subscribing, and how you aim to provide this value consistently.

Some marketers encourage replacing “newsletter” with a name aligned to the content you are delivering, such as diary, journal, or insider guide. You can also replace the common call to action, “Subscribe”, with wording that ties to your messaging, like “Sign Up Now”, “Give Me the Scoop”, or “Get Expert Tips”.

For best results, ensure the messaging on your subscription form is authentic and aligned with the content you offer in your bulk emails. You can take this one step further by giving your audience sneak peeks of the content you are sharing with your contacts. If you grip potential subscribers’ attention, they’re likely to sign up.

Bulk email is an essential communication tool. This is why we’re giving you a bulk email crash course, which you’ll find handy whether you’re a newbie or old hand.

Subscriber Data You Need to Collect

When building your subscription form, the key is to strike a balance between collecting enough information about your recipients to personalise your communication and not overwhelming them by asking too many questions.

The main information you need to obtain is the subscribers’ name and email address. You could ask them for information like their birthday – to send them well wishes or discount codes – or preferred type of communication they would like to receive.

For example, if you have a clothing brand that caters for men, women, and children, you could ask subscribers to let you know which information they would like to know about. We’ll return to this example in the next section to explain how to ensure you send tailored content to specific contacts.

Need a few more subscription form tips? We’ve got you! Learn 11 Subscription Form Tips for High-Performing Email Campaigns in this blog post.

The Benefits of Managing Your Database

Just as building your list takes constant practice, maintaining your list is an ongoing endeavour too. Falcon said it’s important to take an orderly approach to gathering and processing your data.

“Constant contact management, updates, and list management are crucial for the success of your digital marketing campaigns. This is because when your data is up to date and you know with whom you are communicating, you can send relevant messaging to your target audiences and ensure better open, click, and engagement rates,” she added.

Falcon also pointed to how you can segment your data lists to tailor communication for certain contacts. For this you can use filters. Falcon explained, “Filters are a powerful and smart database management tool that can help you group your contact lists into segments to target specific audiences that share similar characteristics or interests.”

She added using filters will ensure you send personalised and relevant emails to your contacts and, in turn, your engagement rates will increase.

There are a few filters you can use to segment your data, for example:

  • Geolocation
  • Custom Fields
  • ​Interest-Based Tags

In the example of a clothing brand that caters for women, men, and children, using filters to segment your database would ensure you send targeted communication to each subscriber to keep their interest piqued with relevant information.

The Importance of List Hygiene

Email deliverability is a key topic in 2024, especially as Google and Yahoo implement new email authentication protocols to enhance inbox security for those who send more than 5 000 bulk emails a day.

While email delivery isn’t a straightforward process, one action you can take to limit the chances of your recipients marking your emails as spam is employing list management or hygiene. This is the process of implementing a list-cleaning policy to remove invalid or dormant data from your contact lists.

Sometimes marketers pride themselves on having a big database, but it’s far more productive to focus on a captive audience that engages with your emails than having many contacts who don’t open your emails.

If you don’t maintain your contact database, you impact your engagement and risk damaging your sender reputation, which could result in your emails being placed in spam folders or on the radar of Internet Service Providers (ISPs). You want to ensure your contacts are opening and clicking on your emails, and if they’re not, remove them from your database.

Everlytic’s Head of Client Services, Wilene van Greunen, explained if you constantly send a bulk email to a contact who doesn’t engage with your communication and complains about it, your sender reputation will decrease to the point where your bulk emails are automatically marked as junk or, even worse, you’ll get blacklisted.

Make Unsubscribing from Bulk Emails Easy

Just as you need to manage your contact lists, you need to make it easy for your contacts to unsubscribe from your emails. In fact, this is one of the requirements for you to be seen as a legitimate bulk email sender. The best way to do this is by displaying an easy-to-see one-click unsubscribe button in the footer of every email you send.

Van Greunen emphasised unsubscribing should be a user-friendly process and will simply result in that contact being removed from the list. This means there is no damage to your sender reputation.

However, she cautioned when a subscriber marks your email as spam, they are not removed from your mailing list and will continue to receive your bulk emails, however their ISP will redirect your messages to their spam folder. This is why it’s essential to ensure the one-click unsubscribe button is easy to see and available on every email you send.

Get our email deliverability survival guide for everything you need to know about how to ensure your bulk emails reach the intended inboxes and what the best practices for email delivery are.

Database Management Is Key for Bulk Email Success

Your bulk email campaigns depend heavily on how you build and maintain your contact databases. This is not a once-off exercise, but rather, you need to constantly monitor your subscription form to ensure it brings in viable contacts and manage your database to build lists and send targeted communication. Practicing list hygiene will help you ensure your intended recipients are engaging with your messaging and your email deliverability is enhanced.

Get a Guiding Hand from Our Experts

Do you wish you had a helping hand from a bulk email expert who could walk you through every step of your bulk email campaign journey? You can! Become an Everlytic client and gain access to our team of Client Relationship Managers.