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5 List Filtering Techniques

While there are a myriad of advanced email marketing techniques available, the fact remains that for some marketers it’s enough of a struggle simply getting messages out the door in time without adding any more layers of complexity to the process. If you find yourself in this camp, remember that there are some basic strategic techniques that can help you move “beyond the basics” without putting your deadlines at risk. One tried-and-true technique is the application of filters to your mailing list(s).

Here are 5 effective ways to use list filters:

  • Engagement
    Filtering based on recipients who rendered and/or clicked on a message(s) can be very useful. This demonstrated interest in a topic/product/offer provides valuable insight into what these recipients are looking for. Use this knowledge to deliver messages with related content, complementary products or similar offers. Or, use this as a suppression filter for an “inactive re-send” campaign that sends the same message to recipients who did not engage with the original.
  • Non-activity
    This filter is useful not only for the “inactive re-send” approach mentioned above, but to identify recipients who have not engaged with messages over a period of time (12 months, for example). Some email marketers actively reach out to this group of recipients to learn if there is something specific they would like to see on future emails. Others simply use this filter to exclude unengaged recipients, as continuing to include them on mailings only serves to drive down response rates and incur message volume that could be put to better use.
  • Clicked a specific link
    More definitive than a filter based on general click activity, this filtering technique is valuable when conducting follow-up to a message with several different calls-to-action.
  • ZIP Code radius
    If you’re collecting ZIP Code as part of your subscriber opt-in process, a radius filter is a great way to target your messages. If your organization has multiple locations, promote the location nearest your subscribers. For special offers, you can factor in travel distance and sweeten your offer accordingly (e.g., 15% off for recipients within 10 miles, 30% off within 20 miles, etc.)
  • Date of opt-in
    The date that a subscriber signed up to receive your emails can be an effective filter when setting multi-touch Welcome campaigns (e.g., 30/60/90 days out). You may also want to exclude recent subscribers from the sort of “inactive” segmentation mentioned above, or from only receiving the tail-end of an ongoing series of messages (e.g., “Message 9 of 9″).

The filtering techniques mentioned here are only a sampling of the way list filters can be used to make your email messages more relevant and more productive, and since filters can be used on any number of deployments, they only require an initial setup before becoming part of your normal processes.

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Harland Clarke Corp. is a leading provider of best-in-class integrated payment solutions and marketing services, serving multiple industries including financial services, retail, healthcare, insurance, and telecommunications.

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