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I'm helping a fledgling game dev studio prepare for a Kickstarter and I want to re-confirm, clean and activate an email list with 60k emails gathered over the years from their forums before importing to MailChimp to avoid any risks from high bounce rate and potential spam reports.

MailChimp recommends (link below) doing this outside of the platform using Gmail or something similar to manually send the emails, but Gmail can only send 500 mails/day. At that rate it would take me 4 months to mail the whole list!

So I want to ask GH:

Are there any other tools or methods I can use for bulk email besides Gmail?

Would GH make the effort to clean the list or just try going with a clean slate?

Is there anything else I should know about how to clean up and re-confirm an old email list?


P.S. Link to relevant MailChimp support article: http://kb.mailchimp.com/accounts/compliance-tips/when-email-addresses-go-stale

  • LM

    Lincoln Murphy

    over 5 years ago #

    First I'd run your list through BriteVerify to weed out the known bad ones. Eliminate everything that isn't "Valid" according to their scoring.

    It'll hurt... you'll cry, but it's really your best bet.

    If you do nothing else, that's a great place to start. You'll end up with a much cleaner list.

    If you wanted, you could use any of the appending/intelligence services (many have been mentioned here on GH) and add demo/social/geo/etc. data and take only those who really are your target audience.

    If you did that, you'd be in such an amazing place. It'd be awesome.

    And of course there are lots of ways to re-warm them outside of actually emailing the list. You could do custom audiences on Twitter and/or Facebook. You could do CRM retargeting. If you're targeting a specific niche, you may try advertising or getting a "drop" (dedicated email) on lists where you know those people also subscribe. The idea isn't to get them to interact with you via those 3rd party mailing lists - although that's fine - moreover it's to get your name back in front of them. Same thing with the ads on social, etc.

    If all you do is BriteVerify + Lead Warming, you'll be doing great. That plus segmenting and focusing only on those who are your core audience... that really says something about your dedication to doing things right.

    Now, if you want to go even further, you can but I don't know what to tell you.

    Instead, I'll make up a story; a thought experiment for educational purposes only.

    Once upon a time there was a person that - after cleansing their list and doing the "warming" hacks - opened an account with an email marketing service that they DID NOT intend to use going forward, probably using a similar but not exactly the same (though well-aged and with an okay sender score) domain.

    Then, this mythological creature imported their list to this new ESP (one that doesn't require re-opting in, obviously, right?) and send their first few reactivation emails through there, letting the unsubscribes and complaints impact their standing with that ESP, and only affecting the sender score for the domain they don't really care about.

    And of course there are ramping/warming issues with new ESPs so this made-up person might only send to a few hundred at a time... or have a graduated sending schedule.

    Oh, and the CTA domain would be the same one as the emails are sent from - or a completely different one - but NOT the one that this crazy guy would use for real after going through this process. Just point the domain to a landing page service where the clicker could grab the prize for opening and clicking.

    But this creature is no fool... the reactivation emails are legit reactivation emails, where they're actually trying to get people interested again. Trying to get people to open and click for legitimate purposes vs. just testing for address validity. Though some validity will be tested (is a human still actively involved on the other end of that address?), the purpose is to reactivate and let a different ESP/domain eat the downside of reactivation campaigns.

    Now, this person would make a decision... is "activated" only the subset of the list that opened and/or clicked? Or is "activated" everyone who didn't complain or unsubscribe, even if they did't actively engage? Indeed; that is the question. That's a tough, ego-driven call.

    And then at some point this person will export the email list - maybe even BriteVerify it one more time, just to see if anything has changed - and import it to their actual ESP with their actual domain name and start communicating frequently with their re-activated list.

    The moral of the story is be very careful about which ESP you use... one that gets mentioned a lot for their beautiful UX also has zero tolerance for any shenanigans.

    The end.

    Or something, I don't know... I made all this up.

  • JD

    Jimmy Daly

    over 5 years ago #

    Definitely don't email them all at once. One thing you could try is running Twitter ads targeted at this group. You can upload them to ensure you're reaching the right people. It will get them warmed up before you email them.

    • MN

      Michael Newton

      over 5 years ago #

      @jimmydaly Thanks for the input! I have yet to run ads on Twitter so I'd just like to ask a follow up question:

      Looking at the Twitter ads platform, my first guess is you're referring to the Leads on Twitter tool? Or perhaps targeting website clicks/conversions to a landing page where my users could enter their email thus reconfirming their sub?

      • JD

        Jimmy Daly

        over 5 years ago #

        Well, you could start with clicks or followers just to remind the folks on the list who you are and what you do. That way, when they receive the email, they'll recognize the name and the context.

        I think getting them to re-confirm their subscription would be too massive of an undertaking. Maybe take a small group, run some targeted ads, then email and see what the results are. You could even A/B test vs. a group that hasn't see an ad.

  • DL

    Dylan La Com

    over 5 years ago #

    @jimmydaly and the folks at Vero might have some good advice for this @mikenewt

    • CH

      Chris Hexton

      over 5 years ago #

      I could not possibly respond better than Lincoln.
      I second BriteVerify *for sure*.
      To be doubley safe, all the display re-targeting options are solid.
      To walk on a knife's edge, Lincoln's fantasy tale is quite the story...

  • LC

    Logan Chierotti

    over 5 years ago #

    Some email mailing companies will offer template emails that you can send to customers. I don't recommending using those. I recommend creating an email that engages users and emailing them asking them to confirm they are still interested in learning xyz. That has always worked well for us.

  • KW

    Katie W

    almost 2 years ago #

    I would utilize an email verification software such as BriteVerify, FreshAddress or ZeroBounce to clean the list. This will remove any invalid or bad email addresses off the hop.

    I would then recommend using an email sending provider that allows sending to cold (old list or purchased list) lists in bulk (check out Clickback MAIL).

    Send an email campaign to get this list to re-opt in to your list and move over warm leads to your MA or ESP.

    Hope that helps!

  • KW

    Katie W

    almost 2 years ago #

    With a stale or inactive email list, the first thing you’ll want to do is clean it.

    There are 3rd party services available that you could use such as BriteVerify or Zerobounce: https://thesharperpixel.com/email-marketing-services-purchased-lists/

    Most traditional email sending providers would consider this list cold and might not let you upload it into their system (as you mentioned with MailChimp).

    An option would be to use an email sending provider that allows sending to cold or purchased contacts, send them a warm-up/opt-in email and if they convert, move them over to your ESP or MA.

    Clickback MAIL allows sending to these types of contacts. Feel free to check out our software – we might be a good fit for you!