Remove the dead wood from your email list


Culling the ‘dead wood’ from your email list is important for a number of reasons.

If you paying for the number of contacts, it can help reduce costs but also helps your deliverability.

Gmail is a great example of the impact of sending emails to a disengaged audience. If your subscriber opens emails from you on a consistent basis, that shows engagement and favours Inbox placement for the current and next email campaigns.

But if the subscriber leaves your emails unread, deletes them without opening or moves them to spam, then Gmail will penalise you because your subscribers don’t appear to be engaged with your emails.

In this article, I show you how to setup engagement tracking in ActiveCampaign.

Setup

Let’s get started.

The first thing you need to do is create a custom field.

  1. From the left hand menu, select the Lists or Forms icon.
  2. Select Manage Fields.
  3. In the top right hand corner, select Add Field.
  4. Enter a field name. Let’s call it Last Engagement and change the field type to Date.
  5. Select Add.

Next, add a tag.

  1. In the left hand menu, select Contacts.
  2. Select Manage Tags.
  3. In the Add Tags area, type Last Engagement Confirmed and then Add tags.

Create the automation to keep track

Now we create an automation to keep track of engagement.

  1. From the left hand menu, select the Automations icon.
  2. In the top right hand corner, select Create an automation.
  3. Select Start from scratch then Continue.
  4. Select the trigger Opens/reads an email.
  5. From the Action options modal, select When a contact opens a campaign.
  6. In the next Action options modal, leave the default as any email and any list.
  7. Because we want this to update each and every time a contact opens/reads an email, change the Runs to multiple times.
  8. Select Add Start.
  9. In the Add an Action modal, select Contacts then Update a Contact.
  10. From the Update a contact drop down, select Last Engagement.
  11. In the New Content drop down, select Current time then Save.
  12. Select Add a new trigger.

Because tracking email opens is unreliable, we’ll also track links clicked.

  1. Select the trigger Clicks a link in an email.
  2. Leave all fields as default except for the Runs field which you need to change to Multiple Times.
  3. Visits a web page. Add an asterisk to the second field and again, change to Runs Multiple Times. Note, you must have website tracking configured for this to work.

Add the following triggers remembering to change the Runs field to Multiple Times.

  • Contact replies to any email.
  • Contact reads any personal email. (These are emails sent directly to a contact within ActiveCampaign.)
  • Contact shares any email.
  • Contact forwards any email.

When you’ve added your triggers, give your automation a meaningful name. Something like Last Enagement Tracking and don’t forget to make the automation active.

Create the follow up email

In this automation, we’ll send an email to the contact when they haven’t engaged with the business in a certain number of days.

  1. Create a new automation.
  2. Select the trigger called Date based then Continue.
  3. Change the Starts drop down to after.
  4. Replace the 1 with 90 and the field to the right, which should say Subscription Date, to Last Engagement.
  5. Make sure the List drop down has your primary list. If you have multiple lists, add multiple date based triggers.
  6. The third row of fields, change the Contact’s Timezone to your time zone.
  7. Make the Runs When year, month, and day match conditions is checked.
  8. Select Add Start.
  9. Add a send Send an email action.
  10. Create a new email as normal. I’d suggest a subject line of “Just checking in” or something similar.
  11. Create your email. Include a link or button where the recipient can select to continue to receive emails. For the link, direct the recipient to a thank you page and add the tag Last Engagement Confirmed
  12. Select Save and exit.
  13. Select Save.
  14. Add a Wait action.
  15. Select Wait until specific conditions are met.
  16. In the Select a condition drop down, select Custom Contact Fields and Last Engagement.
  17. If necessary, make sure the rest of the row read Is Current date Exactly then select Save.
  18. Under Time Limit, change the drop down to Up to. Change the rest to 7 days.
  19. Select Save.
  20. Add an Wait action and set it to wait for 7 days.
  21. Add action to unsubscribe the contact from each list you specified in the triggers you setup in step 5 above.

Now we’re going to use a Goal action to make sure people who select the link in the email aren’t unsubscribed.

  1. Add a Goal action giving it a name such as Continued engagement or something similar.
  2. Select the Click to add a goal text.
  3. Set the condition to be tag exists Last Engagement Confirmed and Save.
  4. Select Save.
  5. Add a remove tag action to remove the Last Engagement Confirmed tag.

Wrap up

Keeping a healthy list is important for your business and your sender reputation. Removing the dead wood achieves both.

If this article was helpful, share it on your favourite social media platform or leave a comment below.

Enjoy your day.

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