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How to manage your email list


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There’s no getting around it, email marketing is a vital component of any successful online business (we’d even go as far as saying any business at all!). But with email marketing comes email list management, which can be a real pain point affecting not only your company, but your customers as well.

Mailing list management takes consistent upkeep in order to keep it growing, to make sure subscribers are satisfied, to maintain your reputation, and to ultimately grow your business.

In this blog post, we’ll discuss what email list management is, why it’s important, and six ways to successfully manage your email lists so you can get the best ROI on the most important part of your digital marketing strategy.

A quick overview of how to successfully manage your email list: 

  • First Impressions Always Matter
  • Put Subscribers in the Driver’s Seat
  • Keep It Clean – The Importance of Scrubbing Email Lists
  • Re-Engaging With Inactive Subscribers & When To Say Goodbye for Good
  • Giving Users the Option To Easily Unsubscribe 
  • Why the Right Email Marketing Software Counts

Let’s dive into the ins and outs of mailing list management!

Why is email marketing important?

Email marketing is the use of direct marketing to prospective and current customers to promote your offerings and it’s one of the most valuable tools out there to grow your business.

Email marketing consists of a variety of things such as: welcome emails; newsletters that provide relevant information about your company; polls or surveys to collect important customer feedback; special announcements; and so much more.

Take a deeper dive into the world of email marketing campaigns if you’re in need of a quick refresher before moving on to the rest of this post!

What is email list management and why is it important?

A long time ago it was considered a huge win if a company gathered hundreds or even thousands of emails from current or prospective customers. But what did they do with all those emails? Well, they did a few things.

First, they most likely crammed them onto an Excel spreadsheet with no real rhyme or reason. Next, they probably sent out blanket emails to the entire said list. And finally, they sat back and waited to see what happened.

Doesn’t sound very strategic, does it? Well, thankfully, dark ages of email marketing are gone. Businesses now are stepping up their email game in big ways, which in turn, sets them up for future success.

List management is the process of evaluating your contacts and segmenting them into lists based on factors important to your unique business goals. This also includes monitoring subscriber’s activity and engagement.

This process is incredibly important because it ensures that your subscribers are consistently delighted by your brand, maintains your company reputation, and it helps you grow your email list into a highly valuable business asset.

List management doesn’t have to be an insurmountable task with the right strategy and email list best practices in place. Instead, it can actually be enjoyable to work on and even more satisfying once you see conversion rates improve month over month.

6 ways to successfully manage your email list

Learn how to manage your email list with these helpful tips. Streamline your email marketing into a quick and painless process to generate real results today. Here’s how: 

1. First impressions always matter

When it comes to new email subscribers, first impressions are everything. Just think back to a time when you’ve been less than wowed by a company’s initial email to you.

What was it that turned you off? Bad subject line? Called you by someone else’s name? Provided an offering that was totally irrelevant to you? Maybe you didn’t sign up to receive emails in the first place? Or even worse, you never even opened that email or remember getting it.

Try to keep those things in mind when developing your email marketing strategy. Getting email right the first time is worth its weight in gold and can set you up for an enduring relationship with your customers.

Consider the following before you send out your first email to a new subscriber: 

  • Offer a personalized approach by referring to subscribers by their first name. They provided that information when they subscribed and it’s your job to use it. What better way to make someone feel special than by calling them by their name—just like you would a friend! This can help create a sense of connection between a customer and a business.
  • Give clear cut next steps by telling a subscriber how to take advantage of your product, by showing them how to contact your company, or by asking for a follow on social media. In fact, email and social media integration is one of the best ways to create social buzz. Not to mention email is arguably more powerful than social media when it comes to converting people into customers.
  • Give some incentive by offering customers a discount code on your product. Not only does this create a sense of exclusivity, it’s just plain awesome. Who wouldn’t be inclined to spend their hard-earned dollars on your product when they have a discount to get started?

The overarching point is to leave subscribers feeling excited about their decision to subscribe to your emails. If you can succeed at this important first step of mailing list management, you’re off to a great start.

2. Put subscribers in the driver’s seat

It’s not enough to just “wow” an email subscriber. You also have to give them control over their experience with your brand. What exactly does that even mean? Well, it means that you should be carrying out these steps: 

  • Subscribers should be opting-in to your emails. This probably sounds obvious, but give people the option to choose to receive your emails. They can do this through one of two ways: single opt-in or double opt-in. Single requires the user to opt-in once like filling out a form on your website. They don't have to confirm their email address. This can be bad for you because some people use fake email addresses which you now have in your email marketing database. Double requires a user to confirm their email address in order to be added to your email list.
  • Give users control over the frequency of emails. Nobody wants to be bombarded with emails. In fact, it’s one of the main reasons why a person will click the unsubscribe button. Be calculated in your correspondence and let users decide if they want to receive daily, weekly, or monthly emails from your company.
  • Users can update you when their information or preferences change. Allow subscribers to update you when their email changes or when their preferences change. While a user might have originally been added to several lists, they may find they only want to receive certain information. That’s okay! It’s always better to have someone update their preferences rather than hit the unsubscribe button altogether.  

Making your subscribers feel in control of the amount of information they receive from you can help mitigate email churn, which can be one of the biggest challenges of mailing list management.  

3. The importance of scrubbing email lists

Scrubbing email lists is one of the most crucial email list best practices and should be done several times a year.

If you notice any of the following, it’s a sign that it’s time for an email list clean-up.

  • A stark drop in your click-through rates (the amount of people who click on at least one link in your email).
  • When multiple users unsubscribe suddenly (examine your most recent campaigns and correspondence, evaluate, and regroup).
  • High spam complaint rates (users can report your emails as spam and then unsubscribe for good).
  • High bounce rates and poor email deliverability (can contribute to mailing list management woes, so keep an eye on this important feedback and adjust accordingly). 

Taking the time to go through your lists and email marketing segmentation strategy every couple of months helps maintain a healthy email list. In turn, you’ll improve email open rates, have higher click-through rates, and if all goes well, higher conversion rates!  

4. Re-engaging with inactive subscribers & when to say goodbye for good

If it’s been six months or more since a subscriber opened or read an email, then it’s time to re-think your relationship. While there can be a lot of factors that go into a user becoming inactive, it’s important to remind subscribers why they opted-in to your emails in the first place.

One of the best ways to reignite the flame with inactive users is through a re-engagement campaign. Implementing a simple series of emails with a strong call-to-action can help you differentiate who’s really here for your product or service and who’s ready to jump ship. Here are a few reasons why users may become inactive; could any of these apply to your email subscribers?

  • They’re not interested anymore
  • They liked your competitor’s offerings more
  • They don’t understand how to use your product or service
  • They’re too busy or forgot about you

Get creative when drafting your re-engagement campaign and try to set yourself apart from other emails by using creative language, offering users an incentive to get back on track, and by gaining information on who still wants to be subscribed.

If, at the end of the day, you’ve given it your best shot at re-engaging users, but they’re just not budging, then it’s clearly time to say goodbye and purge them from your email list. Don’t see this as a failure, but as one of the most necessary email list best practices. How can you better position your emails in the future so people will interact with them? Going back to the drawing board can be both fun and insightful. 

5. Giving users the option to easily unsubscribe

It can feel pretty counterintuitive to make it easy for someone to unsubscribe from your emails, but it should be easy for users to opt-out of receiving correspondence. Making users jump through hoops to unsubscribe is not good for business and here’s why: 

  • It kills the user experience. If someone’s already made up their mind about your emails, allow them to unsubscribe and move on with their life. Give people the option to provide feedback as to why they’re exiting stage right and you’ll gain valuable data to use down the road.
  • It keeps you from scrubbing your lists. When you have a bunch of people who are not interested in what you have to offer but don’t hit the unsubscribe button, it makes it harder to clean your lists. If a user isn’t engaging with your email marketing, it might be best for them to go. Having inactive users doesn’t provide value to your company.
  • You get marked as spam. We don’t know about you, but we’d rather have a user unsubscribe any day rather than be marked as spam. Once a user says your emails are spam, it blacklists any future emails and sends them straight to their spam folder never to see the light of day again.  

People unsubscribe from emails every single day. Maybe it’s because they receive too many, don’t remember opting-in, the content is no longer relevant, or emails look suspicious. That’s why it’s important to give people an out, which allows you to clean up and optimize your mailing lists to improve your email marketing strategy.  

6. Why the right email marketing software counts

Having the right email marketing software can make or break your mailing list management. That’s why Kajabi offers customers world-class email marketing software complete with features like: 

  • Flexible emails for any occasion. Businesses can send a one-time blast or automate email drip campaigns based on customer behavior to create a highly- personalized user experience.
  • Templates for every type of email a business could need so you can focus time on more pressing matters.
  • Built-in email marketing best practices, so emails always look and sound just right.
  • Intuitive visual editor that makes it easy to customize and preview emails so you can send them with confidence every time.
  • Rich content elements that help you stand out from the crowd with features like countdown timers, videos, and personalization to impress your audience.
  • Actionable analytics that get you what you need to optimize and increase engagement; historical analytics so you can see what’s worked in the past and replicate; and leading deliverability with no IP maintenance needed.
  • Powerfully personal capabilities so you can personalize your emails to build better relationships; track your lead lifecycle and see what emails each person opened; and tagging functionality for designing, organizing, and targeting segments. 

If you think all these Kajabi email features sound amazing, just wait until you see all the Kajabi email updates we have in the pipeline! No matter which Kajabi plan you select, all levels include unlimited marketing emails so you can stay connected with your subscribers and grow your business.

With solid list management, the sky’s the limit

Like we said at the beginning of this article, there’s really no getting around the importance of email marketing. Solid mailing list management is key to long-term success in the digital marketing space.

With the right tactics and by following the six actionable steps that we covered, you can start optimizing your mailing lists today. Remember: managing healthy email lists leads to higher subscriber satisfaction, keeps your reputation in good standing, and expands your business to new heights. It’s an all-around win.

We hope this guide helps you better navigate your email lists. If you have any additional tips or tricks you’d like to add to the mix, be sure to comment below!

See what our email marketing tools can do for your business with a free trial

Grow, manage, and reach your subscribers with customizable emails.

Further reading

Why digital products are a great fit for TikTok creators
What is affiliate marketing?
Practicing mindfulness in your knowledge commerce business

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