Getting Email List Management Right: Yes, Naming Your Lists IS Important!

Getting Email List Management Right: Yes, Naming Your Lists IS Important!

When you think email marketing strategy, one of the first words that comes to mind is ‘segmentation’, and for good reason too. But just as important as actually segmenting your email list is knowing how to do it with a minimum of hassle for maximum results. This is especially the case if you’re just starting out: any problems with organisation now are going to give you ten times the headache a year down the road.

So: would you like to know everything you need to know about email list management? Then take a look at our best practice tips below!

man spinning plates

What’s the Point of Email List Management?

So when you first started using a CRM (or other email list management software), you might have heard or read about how it can automate your marketing campaigns and make your work easier- and it will. But you don’t ‘wind up’ a CRM like a toy car and watch it go. It can help you scale what you do, and it will help you save time interacting with and managing customers, but it won’t do your day job for you.

Email list management is a case-in-point. A CRM can help you email your customers on a group by group basis, personalise those emails, and schedule more for the future. What it can’t do is define and describe those groups for you. You have to decide which groups to email what, and how to organise your CRM or email marketing software to make that doable. That’s what this post is all about: how best to do it.

Which Email Subscribers to Put Where?

The big question is who to put where (and why). Well, it all depends on your audience: who are you trying to sell to? It’s rare that a business will have one, very clearly defined market that they have to get through to. Instead, there’s going to be a range that you have to think of, which might include:

  • Different age groups, young and old
  • Gender
  • Married and unmarried
  • People with children or no children
  • People who buy X product instead of Y product from your store
  • Location (urban/rural, North vs. South)
  • Behavioural differentiation (e.g. people who buy something from your store every week vs. people who’ve never bought anything)

You could make lists based on any or all of these segments. In hyper-segmentation you can drill down even further into each. So, for example, instead of just your basic urban/rural segments, you could have segments for London and Manchester. Or, you could have segments for Camden, Tower Hamlets and Lewisham. If you had a long enough list, you could make segments for married/unmarried customers in Camden, or people with children who buy X and live in Lewisham. Although that brings us to our next point…

How Many Email Lists to Have?

So, the more lists the better, right? Well, no. If that were true, we would just email each customer on a one by one basis, which is simply impossible. That’s why we need automation, and why we need to find a middle ground between sending out one bulk email and a million individual emails. But to make an actual decision about how many lists you should have, consider the following:

  • Will breaking down your email subscriber base any further actually result in an increased ROI?
  • Do you have the resources/capability to manage the extra content and time needed to manage more lists?
  • Do you have the available data to make an informed decision?

Because bear in mind: every additional list you need to send an email to means more content, more stats to analyse, and additional complexity for you or your marketing team all of which is going to slow things down considerably.

What To Name Your Email Lists?

So, if you’re going to divide your mailing list into groups, what should you actually name them? No matter how many you have you should use relatively simple, descriptive names. Say you’ve divided your list solely by age: well, name your lists <25, 25-35, 35-55 and 55+. If you’re dividing your market based on location, well, name your lists based on locations!

Once your lists get more complicated, that’s when naming gets more complicated too. If you’re going to name a list ‘<25 Men Croyden Bought Product X’, you’re setting yourself up for trouble. That’s going to be listed alongside ‘<25 Women Croyden Bought Product X’ and ‘<25 Men Croyden Bought Product Y’, and when you’re scrolling through your lists, is it going to be easy to find? No.

Luckily, CRMs give you the tools you need to manage big lists of lists like these. First off, you can use the search function or filter to find who you want to find, even if you haven’t made segmented lists yet! All you have to do is search using particular conditions: did your subscriber join after a certain date? Is their address in London or Manchester? You can find all the records/lists that match that description in just a few clicks.

List Description or No List Description?

Speaking of descriptions, one final point: some CRM software comes with the option of describing your lists as well as naming them. You can make it easier to find each individual list with a more detailed description. Plus you can use it to make a note of how your campaigns are going, Indicate which lists could be bigger and which could be smaller, which could be divided into two or more further segments or merged with another list… Anything, so long as it helps you communicate and work with the rest of your marketing team.

When it comes to naming your email list segments, there’s not much more you need to know. It’s a simple point, but one that it’s important to get right… Because if you start out with naming conventions that make it difficult to identify each list, or if you’re inconsistent with how you name them, it’s setting you up for trouble down the line. Once you start expanding your subscriber base, your list would become unmanageable- and re-jiggering your list once it’s up and running is far harder than getting it right to begin with. So get it right to begin with!