Lessons Learned: Consolidating Email Lists
Like many of you, I have an extensive email list across 3-4 platforms. When you have been working for a while, the number of people that you know seems to add up. When you’ve been working for over 16 years, they REALLY add up.
Working with some other business professionals, I figured it was time to consolidate the lists so that I could send out the periodic email announcing events and the like. So here are some lessons that I’m learning through this process of upgrading to Marketers Choice…
1. Check each systems import requirements.
You can not do a straight import into most of the email newsletter systems. They like less information than your typical Customer Relationship Management Systems have. This means that your list will need to be edited down with the headings specific to the program you decided to use. I used Excel and CSV format to consolidate the lists. Schedule some time for this, as I learned some systems don’t do the imports during weekends or non-business hours.
2. Duplicate Emails
- These systems do not like duplicate emails as I found out. It took a few trial imports to find all of the duplicates and erase them before the system allows the import.
- My master list is sometimes phone contacts with no emails. You have to delete these from the initial file that you prepare to be imported into the email marketing system. These systems do not like blank email addresses slots.
- If using the CSV format, you have to go through and get rid of all commas. Otherwise, information will pop up into the wrong fields.
3. Test a small import first
Some of the email marketing system/email newsletter systems let you set up test emails. The catch I found is when you are importing the initial list. It goes out in a massive email. If I had to do it over again, I would have uploaded about 5 of my friends first to test the import messages. Luckily I had my name on the list (I had a feeling something may come up during the import) and quickly found the next problem in the process.
4. Opt-in links
The Opt-in link that is in the email for initial lists sends people to your website if using Marketers Choice. Not a problem if you realize that is where people are being sent. I have to say that is the fastest I’ve had to program some links into a website. (Than you for your patience!) There are some bottoms within this program that can be added if you realize up front that they are needed for the initial contact import.
5. Opt-in messages
During the initial import stage of your information, allow time for your provider to approve your signatures and custom opt-in message. They have to check these against anti-spam requirements. This can take up to 24 hours for some providers (longer if they don’t have weekend hours).
6. List sizes/timing
I must say that I wish that I had consolidated the lists sooner. I do periodically sync my lists, but that doesn’t catch the duplications or errors in them. It is also hard to make announcements to large lists through some email systems.
I have a feeling more lessons earned posts like this are forth-coming…
What are some of your experiences or thoughts on consolidating your email lists?