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How the Dog Whisperer tamed his email list

Cesar Millan
Cesar Millan

An email list which has not been built using best practices or has not been maintained well can quickly put even someone such as Cesar Millan in the doghouse. As the “Dog Whisperer”, Millan has built an empire via his extremely successful National Geographic cable show.

There seems to be no bad dog he can’t turn good, but it appears his email marketing list was chewing a lot of shoes. So, his company, CMI (Cesar Millan Inc), turned to mobileStorm for help. An email marketing case study.

Email lists need a lot of care and attention. Just like a dog, if you neglect them they’ll start chewing furniture or perhaps even go feral. It seems CMI’s email database wasn’t built with best practices always in mind and that resulted in a depreciated, unhealthy list.

Cesar Millan’s CMI had issues with deliverability and was only averaging about 81.29% which is below the industry average. mobileStorm set to work analyzing why and the reasons which came up may sound all too familiar.

  • The addresses obtained by CMI were not verified using confirmation or a double opt-in process.
  • Some of the addresses came from sources dating back to 2005 and the database had many inactive and invalid addresses.
  • An old database which is poorly maintained may contain “spam trap” addresses and that will cause deliverability issues with ISPs.
  • mobileStorm found that a high percentage of CMI’s emails were being rejected by ISPs.

Fixing the problem

They initiated a re-engagement campaign with the following steps:

  • ID those subscribers who had never opened an email message.
  • Segment the data using certain specific time criteria.
  • Remove the obvious non-engaged addresses from the list. Create a separate list and then use it to send an email message asking subscribers to re-confirm their subscription. This was accomplished using a simple link in the message. As well, the message also stated that if they did not confirm their subscription within a specific time frame, they would be removed from the list.
  • They categorized subscribers based on the results of the campaign as inactive (bounced), not interested (opted out) and active and engaged – those who confirmed or interacted (opened or click).
  • This list was now rebuilt taking out the opt-outs, suspect addresses and non-respondents. The result of this procedure according to mobilStorm was an average delivery rate of 99.7%.

Good list hygiene is good practice and a smaller quality list of engaged subscribers who want to read your email marketing newsletters will perform better than a large “dirty” one. Just like a well cared for and well trained dog, a good list will alway

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