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A Geek's Guide on How to Manage an Email List
7 min read

A Geek's Guide on How to Manage an Email List

Email lists are nothing new in the marketing world. After all, the best email marketing depends completely on having a strong email list. But it’s not as simple as gathering a bunch of emails, and shooting them a message every once in a while.


Email lists are nothing new in the marketing world. After all, the best email marketing depends completely on having a strong email list. But it’s not as simple as gathering a bunch of emails, and shooting them a message every once in a while.

True, a strong email list is great, but if you don’t manage it well, then it’s useless. So with that said, how do you do that? That’s the topic of this article. We’re going to go over some ways that you can manage your email list a little better.

But first, let’s talk about a few things.

What makes an email list good?

I suppose it’s not really worth talking about healthy email list practices if you don’t first understand what a healthy email list means.


There are lots of things that could result in a healthy email list. But, there are 2 basic points to consider that will definitely produce the most results:

Email list engagement

A healthy email list usually means an active one. In order to be active, you have to engage them head on. No successful email marketing campaign started off with an inactive email list.

On the other hand, there is a definite way to make sure your email recipients are active - with Datavalidation. Datavalidation goes through your email list and verifies if they’re real and active. All it takes is for you to upload your email list. Before long, you’ll be getting better results in your email campaigns.

When it comes down to it, you have to make sure that the emails on your list are active and can be engaged easily. If it takes too much effort, then it could end up costing you a lot of money and may not be worth it.

Email list churn rate

Yes, even email lists have churn rates nowadays. This is a simple metric that should always be monitored. The email list churn rate is simply the amount of people that are leaving your list through unsubscribing.

As you can imagine, unsubscribing is a bad thing. Now, of course, there are many reasons people can do this, but you’ll never be able to get to the bottom of it if you’re unaware of it in the first place. So step one in this case would be to start measuring email list churn rate.

How to manage an email list

Now that we understand what it means to have a healthy email list, it’s time to move on to how to manage it. I understand that everyone has their own system, and that’s great if it works for you. But, there will always be room for improvement. So even if you see something on this list that you’re already implementing, there’s a good chance that the other points may be worth trying, too.

So without further ado, let’s dive into it.


The absolute best way to manage an email list is to build a database based on the details of the email recipients, and then divide and segment it based on similar data. This is called email list segmentation, and it will help with targeted emails and ads in the future.


There are a few ways you can gather this information, but it can be of great help to know their:

  • Age
  • Location
  • Gender
  • Subscription date
  • And anything else they’re willing to share

Just to visualize why segmentation is so important, think of this: You have an email list of business owners, another for freelancers, and another for people that buy your product/service for personal use. Depending on the packages that you sell, you’ll have to target each group separately. A CEO of a business will have more money to spend than someone working from home.

There are many applications for data such as the examples listed above. Basically, you want to know as much about your email list subscribers as you can. It will only help enhance their experience with your brand.

A/B testing is a must

A/B testing is essential to running a healthy email list. It’s a simple way to increase positive results, all while engaging customers in a creative way.

If you’re unfamiliar with A/B testing, here’s the rundown- A/B testing is the practice of testing 2 or more separate email subject lines in order to achieve the same result. Basically, you’re testing to see what’s more clickable.

Why is this important? Well, I’m glad you asked. A/B testing is essential because it measures the level of engagement for future email marketing campaigns. Yeah, it’s as simple as that. You are simply testing to see what works, and what doesn’t

Roll out the welcome carpet

Everyone, and I repeat, everyone should feel welcome as soon as they subscribe to your email list. You have to make not just a good first impression, but the perfect one. Sounds a little daunting, I know. But it’s a lot simpler than you think.


In truth it just takes a welcome message. You should definitely make it a point to offer anything a new subscriber might need. You could send them helpful articles, contact information, or even just a coupon code. It really doesn’t take much, but the impression lasts a lifetime.

One important thing to remember here is to not overwhelm them, either. As much as you’d like to share everything with them at once, it will definitely scare a lot of them off. A good practice is to first send them the essentials- a welcome note, coupon, and maybe some helpful content, but don’t go overboard. Make sure they know you’re there to help, and let them be on their way.

You can also do a lot of new email list subscribers a favor and let them know the general frequency of emails. Nobody wants a clogged-up inbox, so letting them know beforehand will allow them to anticipate the email storm ahead. Plus, a lot of new customers appreciate the transparency.

Let them be in control

Speaking of frequency, you should definitely let the subscribers choose their preferences. Again, nobody wants an email graveyard for an inbox. Letting subscribers choose the frequency at which they receive emails from you is vital.

There are 2 major ways that this will help you manage your email list a little bit better. First of all, it’s a lot less likely that customers will get annoyed with your emails. If they get to choose the frequency, then they can anticipate your emails, and even look forward to them.

But the second and maybe not so well known way that doing this helps you manage your email list is the fact that the customer assumes ultimate control. Let’s all be honest with ourselves, we all want control when dealing with a business. It’s not a new concept, but it is certainly something that we need to keep in mind when managing an email list.

Make unsubscribing easy

I know this seems counterproductive, but just hear me out. You do not want a subscriber on your email list that doesn’t want to be there. They won’t be active, and they will negatively affect your campaigns via open rate, churn, and click throughs.

Luckily, there’s a simple way to manage this: make unsubscribing easy. In fact, you should include an unsubscribe button in every single email you send.


You don’t want to be just another one of those emails in a sea full of spam. Eventually, people will start to associate your name with unwanted content. While it is unlikely, you don’t want to annoy them. Trust me, a simple CTA that allows them to unsubscribe will be best for both you and the customer.

Send re-engagement emails

Yes, making that unsubscribe button easy to use is important, but what about those users that simply don’t unsubscribe? Don’t worry, there’s an answer for that, too.

In your email lists, there are bound to be countless users that are inactive and neglect to unsubscribe. For those users, there’s a special technique called a re-engagement email.

It’s not really anything fancy. All you’re trying to do with this email is to get them to notice you again. There’s a reason they subscribed to your email list in the first place. Perhaps re-engaging them will spark that memory and cause them to be at least a little more engaging.

Remove inactive subscribers from your email list

Unfortunately, you can’t win them all. Just like there will be people that don’t unsubscribe, there will be people that don’t respond to your re-engagement emails.

At this point, these users aren’t doing you or your email campaigns any good, and they should be removed. It may sound harsh, but trust me when I say they won’t even notice.

Wrapping up

We’ve made it to the end of our journey today. None of these tips are new practices, but they have definitely been proven to be effective. If you’re not already implementing them, my next piece of advice would be to start ASAP.

On a final note, I want to stress the importance of building your own email list. You may have gotten an email or two in the past asking if you’d like to acquire a list of email contacts, and that’s not a good practise. They’re usually very expensive, and there’s no guarantee that any of those emails will be active. Plus, it’s a little distasteful.

Your best bet is and always will be to use Datavalidation to build a list that is engaging. This will undoubtedly bring you the best results in all your email marketing campaigns.