Clean Your Email List
Ok, this one’s by request, and super easy.

You know when you’re signing up for a mailing list?

And you know how they sometimes ask you for your first name?

And you know how sometimes, when you’re typing something that starts with a capital letter, you capitalize the second letter at the same time?

And you know how you wonder how you’re STILL doing this after all these years of typing?

I know this happens to you, because it happens to everyone who types using capitalized words. It’s an incredibly common typing challenge.

Well, this happened to my friend Holly once. She was signing up for mailing list, and when it came time to input her first name, she typed HOlly. It was years ago. It’s an honest mistake. It could happen to anyone.

Unfortunately, data fields never forget. According to this database, Holly wants to be called HOlly, and hell if they’re going to disregard her stated wishes.

So what happens next? Well, in her own words:

“It’s not big enough for me as a subscriber to fix, but it’s obvious enough that I sort of hate this sender every time I see it.”

Sort of hating is sort of a big deal.

IT’s completely understandable that HOlly feels this way. OUr eyes are engineered to pick up on anything that’s out of the ordinary, or appearing different than it should be. WHenever things don’t look quite right, it triggers a flight or fight response in the brain. THere’s a complex process that occurs amongst our neurons, in some people quite intensely.

WHile we’re talking about neuroscience, we’ll add another factor. YOur first name is the most recognizable sound in any language. IF confronted with a page of complex text, we will recognize our name faster than any other word. OUr names are auditory and textual representations of the deepest and most important parts of our identities.

LEt’s combine that with another process in the brain, one neuroscientists call, “fires together, wires together”. WHen something happens at the same time as another thing happens, the connection between those things becomes reinforced, in most cases permanently. IVan PAvlov is most famous for his research in this area – he rang a bell at the same time as he fed his dogs, creating a wired-in drool response not to the food, but to the bell.

SO, to recap…

GEnetically, we are fundamentally wired to notice any error…

THe error is about the textual representation of our deepest identity, making us kinda hate them…

ANd fires together wires together means associations of hate are permanent.

NEuroscientifically speaking, Holly hates them permanently.

Pro tip: Hate is bad for business.

Wow, Naomi. You’re so right! That DOES suck! So what do we do about it?

I am SO glad you asked.

Here’s what you do.

If you’re a normal ittybiz owner with a new or small list:

Once a quarter or so, go into your mailing list and clean up any new subscribers who have come in since the last time you did this. Go into their name fields and fix them manually. It should take you about 15 minutes every three months.

If you have a lot of new growth, let’s say 20 or more new signups per day:

Someone on your team should do this daily. It should take between three and five minutes, most of which will be taken up with waiting for the page to load.

See how easy that was?

There. Now HOlly will never hate you. You’re welcome.

Also, since we're talking about list cleaning, I am contractually obligated to link to this post about the time I deleted 16,282 people from my list by hand. You're going to want to read it. It has a template. :)


Things you can do next…