good-bad-uglyMarketing lists are one of the most valuable assets your company has, and keeping them in top shape is critical to your business and the success of your marketing efforts.

Good marketing lists deliver:

  • Higher conversion rates
  • An engaged community of prospects and customers
  • Happy recipients

Bad marketing lists result in:

  • Lower conversion ratios
  • High bounce rates
  • Higher costs

Ugly marketing lists cause:

  • A high incidence of spam complaints and unsubscribes
  • The risk of getting on the wrong side of an ISP, ie, a blacklist

What can you do to keep your marketing lists in tip-top shape in CRM?

Assuming you’ve built your lists by following good marketing practices (and complied with the relevant laws about opt-ins and avoiding unsolicited email), CRM 2011 and CRM Online provide a simple tool that you can use to create a new, hot list based on one that may have become stale.

(If you’re only recently making the switch to ClickDimensions, check out this article on how to start off with the best list possible.)

Try segmenting your lists into a hot list and a cold list. If you have a primary list you use for your company newsletter, start by separating the list members into two groups or more. In this example, I’m creating two groups, a hot one (good) and a cold one (bad and ugly). The “hot” one, I will keep marketing to as normal, the “cold” one I’m going to re-engage.

Step 1: Separate the good from the bad.

  1. Start by creating a new blank marketing list. I’ve called mine “Test Marketing List (Hot)”.
  2. Select the marketing list that you want to clean up, and then click the button “Copy Marketing List.” This will open a dialog where you can look up the blank copy, and copy all the members from your original list to the “Hot” list.


  3. Open the copy you’ve just made. It should now have the same members as your original list. Next we’ll evaluate which ones we want to keep.
  4. Open the “Hot” list and click the “Manage Members” button. If you’re working with a static marketing list, you’ll get the following dialog. Click on the option to “Use Advanced Find to evaluate members.”


  5. Use the Advanced Find dialog that opens to establish the criteria for what constitutes a “hot” list member. Here’s an example where I’m only interested in open Leads who have clicked on an email link in the last 6 months:


  6. Click the “Find” button, and you’ll see how many Leads match this criteria. In the results window, you’ll be able to “keep all the members returned” by your evaluation criteria:


  7. You’ve now got a “Hot” list.
  8. Next, remove the “hot” leads from your old list to create a “Cold” list. Simply go back to your original list, and in the step where you will manage the members, choose the option to “Use Advanced Find to remove members.” You’ll use the same Advanced Find criteria as above because this time you’re trying to find hot leads to take out of your old, cold list:


Step 2: Re-evaluate your Cold leads

Now that I’ve got my old list whittled down to just the Leads who haven’t clicked through recently (the bad and the ugly, to continue my metaphor), I’m going to evaluate them further to see which ones I should try to re-engage. I could probably use some other criteria to further segment this “cold” list, and get rid of the ugly leads, such as:

  • When was the Lead created? If the “created on” date is more than 1 year ago, and we haven’t converted them, perhaps I should consider just disqualifying them. In today’s economy there’s a good chance my contact info for them is out of date anyway.
  • What was the Lead source? We evaluate all of our lead sources continually so we know what drives the best conversions. You can evaluate your cold list like this too. Dig into your CRM data, especially Opportunities, and find out where your best leads are coming from. You might find that your best leads come through referrals, and your worst come through trade shows.
  • How complete is your data? This one is harder to analyze, but it can give you some good insight. If you’ve got old, cold leads that have only ever given you an email address, chances are they’re not as qualified as leads where you have a phone number and a company name.

Step 3: Re-engage your higher-quality Cold leads

Once you’ve purged your Cold marketing list further, you can start thinking about the best way to re-engage. Here are a few ideas for re-engaging:

  • Old PhonePhone call campaign. There’s nothing more effective than personal communication, so if you don’t have a large number of leads it might make sense to have the sales team participate in a calling campaign to re-engage, re-introduce, and re-pre-qualify (is that a word?).
  • Outlook email from the salesperson who owns the lead. If you have a very large list of old Cold leads, even after evaluating them against other relevant criteria, it might be worthwhile to have the sales team spend a few minutes each day to send personal emails from Outlook, over a period of a few days or weeks, to see if the lead is still there and still interested in receiving your marketing messages. These personalized re-introductions are going to be most effective, and sending them from Outlook has the added benefit that they won’t have a big impact on the deliverability of your big email campaigns.
  • Sharpen your messaging. Lastly, if you’ve got pretty good quality leads who’ve gone cold, and they’ve opted into your mailings in the past, consider a re-engagement campaign. These are most effective when you use a little trial and error to refine your messaging. Try sending to a small batch with one subject line like “We haven’t heard from you in a while” Try another batch with the subject line “We’d like to re-connect.” Compare the results of your two re-engagement campaigns and see which got the best response. Fine tune your messaging from there.