Create incentives to update email list subscriptions

As mentioned in yesterday’s post about list hygiene, one of the most important things you can do for the long-term health of your email marketing program is to keep your list clean and up to date. That requires more than just effort on your part, however – it requires the active participation of your subscribers. A simple way to encourage the behavior you want is to create incentives.

For example, let’s say you wanted to validate that people were up to date within the last month. The first thing you’d do would be to create the incentive. You could offer a contest on your website, such as…

Note that WhatCounts is not actually giving away turkeys; this is just an example.

Once you’ve got the contest determined, promote it to your subscribers and on your other media outlets where lapsed subscribers might still see it. Remember that if a subscriber has truly lapsed, they may no longer be receiving your emails, so don’t rely just on your list.

If your email service provider supports custom preferences sites and landing pages, configure a special page with the information about the contest.


Inside your email marketing program, create a segmentation that fits the contest date. For example, here we’re going to segment all subscribers who update their profiles by November 15.


Export your segmentation:


… then choose any method you like for drawing your winners, and you’ll have completed the campaign to keep your email list fresh and updated!

Christopher S. Penn
Director of Inbound Marketing, WhatCounts


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