How to Get MORE Out of Your Email Database

Most senior living providers have had experience with email marketing by now. Granted, it’s not the “shiny new thing.” But it still has its place.

Although social media and social marketing strategies have received the lion’s share of attention in recent years, email marketing continues to be a very important marketing tool for senior living providers – especially when it is part of a fully integrated marketing strategy. According to the Direct Marketing Association, for every $1 spent on email marketing, $44.25 is the average return on investment.

For senior living leaders, the question is not, “Is there still a place for email marketing in my budget?”, but rather, “Can I get more out of my e-mail marketing investment?” The answer is a resounding YES!

With an effectively cultivated, segmented and managed email database, you can precisely target those “personas” that are most likely to have an interest in your services. Done right, email communications can reach your audience in ways traditional advertising, i.e., billboards, social media, cannot as well as create a connection that drives conversations. And email is easily measurable through open rates, click through rates and conversion rates.

YES, You CAN Improve Your Email Performance!

Sean Ochester, Executive Vice President of Digital & Integrated Strategy for Sage Age Strategies, says, “If your email efforts are not producing the level of results you want, don’t give up. With the right tools and expertise, your email performance can be significantly improved rather quickly. 

“There are several initiatives that we frequently use that can measurably elevate the quality and effectiveness of your email database and in turn, better your overall email marketing performance. Sage Age Strategies excels in this area and works closely with many senior living providers to optimize their email and digital marketing execution.   

“Some of the best-practices we employ are often ‘below the radar’ of those in the senior living industry, but can have a significant impact on their email marketing results. As one example, did you know that email database ‘hygiene’ plays a highly important role in email performance and ROI. Just as healthy living practices positively impact human health and performance, so do performance-enhancing cleaning and hygiene activities in the digital realm.”

Database Best Practices that Make Your Email More Effective

Sean adds, “There are several specific functions that are part of our comprehensive email marketing performance and database review that are very important to your overall email strategy and implementation. These include:

  • Minimizing spam-like words – Keeping spam-like words to a minimum, using a good balance of image to text, and keeping your image files reasonably sized are all great starts.

  • Using credible service providers – Only send email through a reputable ESP (Email Service Provider), with established sending IPs that have healthy sender scores.

  • Practicing health “list hygiene” – Removing old, inactive contacts from a list actually improves inbox placement. By cleaning the subscriber list, we are preventing emails from going to junk folders which can cause email platforms to arbitrarily send all email to junk.

  • Creating a list cleaning schedule – Do these three basic things to keep your email list clean:

    1. Once – Set up an automated welcome email – include verbiage on the signup form for subscribers to check their inbox for your email.

    2. Every few sends – Check the bounce and domain reporting for inbox placement issues.

    3. Monthly/Quarterly – Run a search for “Inactives” on your mailing list and remove them from your active lists.

Keep Your List Lean, Clean and Current!

List hygiene is a particularly important factor in your e-mail performance. E-mail deliverability experts such as ReturnPath have tested and confirmed the theory that removing old, inactive contacts from a list actually improves your inbox placement.  

As explained in the article, “The Power of List Hygiene”, “The concept of removing email addresses from a sending list can feel counter-intuitive. There is a human instinct that influences our thinking, leading us to believe that by removing email addresses we’re likely to reach fewer users and ultimately generate fewer sales.”

However, the evidence demonstrates a very different scenario. As an example, if a sender’s email list is comprised of 90% quality email addresses that have decent “recency” and engagement, while the other 10% of addresses are likely to complain, are generally inactive, or perhaps are even invalid, it is that 10% that ISPs identify as hitting up against negative reputation factors. Because these addresses are blocked or bulked, the legitimate email addresses may receive the same treatment solely because they’re sent from the same IP/domain or contain similar content.

The article adds, “Applying list hygiene to this hypothetical sender’s list will improve their overall deliverability. Let’s say our sender removes that poor/questionable 10% from their list, leaving a total of 910,000 email addresses. If you now mail to the entire 910,000 remaining addresses, the email send will incur far fewer hits with respect to negative reputation factors, resulting in an increase in overall deliverability.

“In our scenario, we projected an increase from 70% to 90% deliverability, and although this can vary, it may prove to be a conservative estimate. The net result in this scenario is that we’re now reaching 810,000 end users (90% of 900,000) rather than 700,000 (70% of 1,000,000). More is being achieved with a smaller list. And as far as the bottom-line is concerned, how many more sales and dollars could be generated by reaching an additional 110,000 users?”

Says Sean, “Put in the simplest terms, a few bad apples can spoil the whole barrel. But when the bad apples are removed, your email performance improves (and the pie tastes much better).

“Practicing what we preach, list hygiene checks are completed regularly by Sage Age Strategies before we push out any significant email campaigns. And based on our impressive results with senior living client-partners, an email marketing assessment and list hygiene check could also benefit your community’s open rate, response rate and lead generation numbers and ROI.”

Sage Age Strategies: Leaders in Growth-Focused Digital and Integrated Marketing Solutions

At Sage Age Strategies, our leading-edge digital marketing team excels in best-practice email strategies and marketing automation platforms that increase cost-effectiveness and generate quality leads. These services include list evaluation and hygiene services, CRM assessments and the creation of detailed customer personas to enable precise target marketing.

Our digital marketing experts have helped many senior living providers to sharpen their email tactics, improve their sales funnel results and increase their ROI. If you need assistance in any areas of digital marketing, we invite you to contact us today for more detailed information.  

Sage Age Strategies is a multiple award-winning, strategic growth, marketing and consulting organization that operates exclusively in the unique senior living industry. To learn more, please call or email Adrienne Mansfield Straub at 570-601-1720 ext. 100 / adrienne@sageagestrategies.com.

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