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    As days get longer and the world shakes off its winter chill, many of us feel the fresh breath of motivation to spring clean. That can look like many different things to many different people: Donating or selling used clothing, scrubbing the car on a sunny day, or a full weekend devoted to dusting, bleaching, and polishing your home from top to bottom. 

    We spring clean our personal spaces for many reasons — key among them is the palpable relief that a clean space offers the brain. Many people find that the quality of their work and rest increases after a good spring cleaning; they are revitalized, re-engaged, and motivated. 

    But your personal belongings aren’t the only things in need of a deep clean. Ask yourself: When is the last time you pruned your email contact list

    If it’s been longer than you’d care to admit — or maybe it’s just the first time you’ve considered it — don’t fret. In just a few steps, you’ll have your contact list looking (and working) better than ever before. 

    Why spring clean your email contact list?

    Cleaning your contacts may seem like an unnecessary, low-priority step as you enter your next quarter. After all, you spent the past few months prioritizing your content strategy, identifying new prospects, and delivering services. You might even wonder: Won’t people opt themselves out? Isn’t more contacts better anyway?

    In truth, spring cleaning your email list is a must. 

    Why? Because doing so enables you to provide content that feels personal to your active list, offers key insight into the evolution of your audience, and will give you a more accurate (and likely more positive) set of metrics to base your goals on. By fine-tuning your list to active members, you can put your finger on the pulse of what resonates in terms of subject lines and email content, and what falls flat. 

    If you’re ready to take control over your unruly email list for more potent marketing, these steps will help.

    Step 1: Clear out “undeliverable” addresses.

    People change jobs. They leave organizations. They change their names and they start new businesses. For all these reasons and more, you’ve probably seen a handful of your emails bounce back with the status “undeliverable.” While it’s good to know who you cannot reach (especially if you’d like to reengage that person or their organization), you’ll reduce a lot of noise in your email metrics by cleaning out those addresses. (Plus, it’s an easy first step to keep you motivated!)

    Step 2: Segment your contact list. 

    It’s possible that everyone on your mailing list is going to want to read the exact same kind of content — but it isn’t likely. And it’s possible that with a few quick tweaks to a templated email, you can easily switch up the content and subject lines enough for each of your audience personas, which could lead to higher open and click-through rates, as well as yielding stronger conversion rates. 

    Segmentation is best approached with an eye toward your business goals and an understanding of all the subsets of your audience. For example, homebuyers in their 20s and homebuyers in their 60s definitely share some interests, but they’ll likely respond better to content that speaks to their individual skill sets and levels of experience.

    Step 3: Reengage lapsed contacts.

    Once you’ve segmented your contact list audience, take stock of the levels of activity in each. Do you have members who haven’t interacted with your emails for six months or more? Or are there contacts you haven’t heard from since their first outreach to you? If so, draft a special reengagement email just to those folks. Acknowledge that it’s been a while, offer some fresh content or insights, and include a quick survey asking how you can better serve their needs. Anyone who responds will help you hone your marketing strategy even further!

    Step 4: Remove unresponsive contacts.

    If you’re not hearing from certain contacts even after your reengagement note, remove those from your list. It’s most important that you focus on your active contacts, as they are showing investment in you and your work. Contacts will come back to you if they require your services in the future; now, it’s time to build stronger, active lasting relationships with those who’ve shown their interest.

    At the end of the day, spring cleaning your email contact list is a key way to reach the goals you set for next quarter. Through a more strategic, targeted approach, you can learn more about your audience’s taste and preferences and deliver more of the content they love. Trust me: Your bottom line–and your inbox — will thank you for it. 

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