What is a seed list and how to create one?

3 minute read
What is a seed list and how to create one?

What is a seed list?

A seed list is a list of email addresses (or mobile numbers for SMS marketing) used to test campaigns before sending to your subscribers.

You can use the list for testing and also include it when your scheduled campaign sends. And, it enables you to test delivery of email to the inbox or SMS messages to mobile devices prior to sending out the full campaign. This means you can quickly catch problems before sending!

Setting up and using seed lists is really simple and just takes a few minutes.

What about test messages?

While test messages are useful, they typically doesn’t populate the personalization fields (also known as merge fields) that your message may depend on.

Examples include:

  • First name
  • Shopping history
  • Custom URL shortener
  • Checkout URL
  • Personalized affiliate links
  • And more…

A seed list enables you to use real data. And, it gives you the most accurate overview of what the final email or SMS message will look like.
Unlike test messages, a seed list is sent as a normal campaign

How to create a seed list?

Creating a seed list is really simple in DailyStory:

  1. Create a new static segment and name it “Seed list” or whatever else you want to call it.
  2. Find the contacts you want included in the seed list and add them to the segment.
  3. Send an email or text message and include the segment created in step 1.

How it is used in marketing

Here are some specific examples for how a seed list is used in marketing.

A good strategy for using a seed list is to create email account on multiple email clients: Gmail, Outlook, Yahoo, Hotmail, Zimbra, etc. Then once you send to your seed list you can test how your email looks in all of those email clients.

  1. Testing deliverability: test the deliverability of their campaigns. By sending messages to these known and stable email addresses or mobile numbers, you can SPAM filtering or carrier violations.
  2. Ensure visuals are working: checking the formatting, images, and overall layout of the email or text messages across clients and devices.
  3. Analyzing email spam filters: analyze how email service providers’ spam filters (like Gmail, Yahoo, or Outlook) treat their emails. If test emails sent to the seed list end up in the spam folder, marketers can identify potential issues with the email content or sender reputation that need to be addressed to improve deliverability.
  4. Quality assurance: review the content, links, and images in the test emails to ensure everything is correct and functioning as intended before sending the campaign to the larger email list.
  5. Content and personalization: by sending different versions of an email to the seed list, marketers can analyze which version performs better in terms of open rates and click-through rates. This information helps in optimizing the message content before sending it to the broader audience.

In essence, a seed list acts as a control group that allows marketers to evaluate and refine their email campaigns before sending them to the entire list. It ensures that the campaigns are well-designed, correctly formatted, and not likely to trigger spam filters, ultimately improving the overall effectiveness of the marketing campaign.

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