Clean your email list
It is a good practice to regularly “clean” your email list. If you’re using an email marketing system (EMS) like MailChimp, you can easily access your analytics to determine who is interacting with your emails. You will likely find that a portion of your subscribers have not opened or clicked through your emails. This is normal. However, if a large percentage of your subscribers are inactive, it skews your analytics, giving your an inaccurate representation of your campaigns’ overall effectiveness
STEP 1: Look for hard bounce notifications. Sometimes an account can bounce due to a misspelling in the email address, but usually a hard bounce is due to an inactive email account. Soft bounces for things like out-of-office replies or a full mailbox are okay for the short-term, but a large number of hard bounces can get you blacklisted. Identify and remove any addresses that are causing a hard bounce, and keep an eye on the soft bounces.
STEP 2: Find your inactive subscribers. If a person has not opened or clicked on your emails for more than 6 months, it’s probably not a good idea to keep sending to them. Spam filters are set to detect if you are sending recurring emails to a user who is not opening them. Plus, if they aren’t interested, rather than unsubscribing, they may just mark your message as spam. This can hurt your credibility with the email service provider (e.g. Gmail) and can cause your EMS to suspend your account.
TIP: A good practice for building a “clean” list is to use the opt-in method. That way, you know your subscribers are voluntary, and therefore more likely to engage with your content.
Analyze your data to determine which inactive subscribers to remove and which ones to re-engage, and come up with a quick message to reach out. While you’re at it, think of a way to reward your most active subscribers. After all, they’re contributing to your success!
TIP: If you’re not using an email management system to send your emails, now is the time to start. Most of this software provides automatic list management for the critical things like scrubbing bounces and remove unsubscribers. We use MailChimp for ourselves and all of our small business and nonprofit clients. It’s a great tool to get started with email marketing. If you’re a nonprofit with a list that’s several years old, you can take advantage of a free email list cleaning service through Purelist.
Want to take it a step further? Now is also a good time to look at your content, CTAs, and other features of your messages to see how you can improve engagement. Something as simple as changing one word of a call-to-action or the color of a button can double your click through rates!
Scrub your fake followers on social media
Just like with your email list, fake followers on social media can give you a false representation of your audience. You can use free tools like Fakers Dashboard and Fake Followers App to identify and block spammy twitter accounts. Make sure you view their profiles first though—I’ve had some legitimate followers get tagged simply because they haven’t been active in a while.
Twitter and Instagram are especially targeted by the spambots. In fact, back in December during the infamous #InstagramPurge, Instagram implemented a new program to scrub the fakes for you. It works pretty well, so unless you have tens of thousands of followers, you can just block accounts manually on IG.
Remember, authentic engagement is more valuable than large numbers.
Spruce up your website
This is probably the most important yet most neglected task on the list. It is so important to schedule a regular review of your website. Use daylight savings as an annual reminder to spruce up!
Think about it—when you invite guests to your home, you always tidy up first, right? You dust, vacuum, and de-clutter. Consider your website the home for your business. What impression do you want to leave with your guests?
Here are some basic things to look for as you tidy up your website:
- Is your contact information current? Did you move or change any phone numbers?
- Do you have outdated offers or seasonal content still running (e.g. the Black Friday sale)?
- Have your updated your images lately? Have you had that same homepage image since last year?
- Are you offering new products or services that are not listed on your site?
- Have you gained new & notable clients that are not listed on your site?
- Do you have broken links that are bouncing users off your site?
- Does your Team page feature people who are no longer with the company?
- Is your most recent news announcement or blog post or 9 months old?
Another good task is to look into your analytics and find any key drop-off points. These are places where users are leaving your website in large percentages. Examine important pages with bounce rates higher than 50% and session durations under 1 minute. Is it a functionally issue? A content issue?
Polish your brand assets across channels
Does the logo on your website match the one on your Facebook page? Did you ever resize your cover image after Twitter made everything bigger? Make sure any updates to your identity are reflected everywhere and that they appear crisp, clean, and professional.
If your company is large and multiple divisions have their hands in the brand, maybe it’s time to implement an asset management system to keep things consistent. It can be as simple as setting up a Dropbox folder or a page on your company’s intranet site where the appropriate assets such as logos, business cards, letterhead, and social media images are stored. Send an update email with a direct link letting people know it’s there and encouraging them to use it.
Also take a look at your marketing and sales materials. Are they all over the place? If so, it might be time for a Communications Audit that will identify inconsistencies and bring continuity to your collateral. Customer confusion hinders the purchasing process, so maintaining the integrity of your brand at every touchpoint is critical.
Purge your permissions
Do former employees still have access to your email and social media accounts? This can be a crisis waiting to happen—especially if they didn’t leave on good terms. Look into the backend of your accounts to make sure access is granted on a need-to-have basis. The last thing you need is to run damage control after an accidental or malicious tweet.
In addition, take a look at the apps that are connected to your accounts. If you aren’t using them anymore, revoke access.
These may sound like chores, but taking the time to do some spring cleaning within your marketing tools is well worth the effort. It will give you a more accurate picture of where you stand in achieving your goals, and makes you look good in the marketplace.
Spring cleaning not really your thing? Get in touch with a few neat freaks who love doing this sort of thing.
ROBYN SHORTrobyn@atcr8v.comRobyn is a Creative Problem Solver who lives at the intersection of design and business. Her company, All Things Creative, provides branding, design, and marketing assistance to businesses who are serious about growing to the next level. Follow Robyn on Twitter.