If a lot of email addresses on your list are dormant — meaning they haven't opened an email, nor unsubscribed, in at least 6 months — it might be time to cut them loose! But first, a little disclaimer:
Forgive me; I love this time of year. And I really love Christmas music. There you have it.
So here's half a dozen (or so) email marketing tips in installments — all inspired by Christmas music titles.
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Blue Christmas, by Elvis, makes me think of how marketers fret when their list gets bigger, yet at the same time — their CTR and open rates go down! What could the problem be?!
Sure it might be something they are doing wrong, but the first factor I would check is that portion of their list that never ever opens thier emails! Should we cut our losses and set them free? Or is there something we can do to keep some of those folks?
Why would we want to prune that list? Well, whittling down a list makes it more manageable for the marketing arm of your company. You can more easily target certain segments of your list if they are engaged and in the practice of opening your emails. Those who neglect your emails altogether for a long period of time, become dead weight to your master list. What do you do with that dead limb?
You could cut your losses and put your energy behind those who participate
by actually reading your email messages!
I recently read that a lot of companies keep inactive subscribers as old as three years on their email list! Can you imagine?Understandably, a large list is what we're all after and list size has been proven to be a major factor in ultimate sales. But at what cost?
While it's true that email is so inexpensive to send — really, it's practically free and has an ROI of up to 43 times! Therefore businesses might be inclined to send to everyone and see what happens. "It can't hurt to reach out to everyone, right?"
Gradually that dead weight of the inactive portion of the list begins to drag down your percentages. Your opens and clicks begin to seem really paltry if a large part of your list is no good. This is especially difiicult for marketing departments trying to prove their worth to management. There are several good reasons and ways to cut your losses and turn your blue Christmas into a bright one…and maybe even bring some of those inactive subscribers back into your sphere of influence.
First of all, you can easily check the engagement of our email list. Most email services will track those who open and who click links, at the very least. Although email is a wonderful low cost marketing tool, consider what you might save by getting rid of those who are not engaging. It may be costing you up to a penny per email trying to engage someone who hasn't opened an email in 34 months. Not a huge deterrent, but still…
If you're considering pruning that dead branch off your list, but need one more reason to convince you; try this: Send an email with a subject line that says, "Let's part ways, shall we?" or "This will be the last email we send." and see what happens. I suspect that your recipient won't even see the subject line becuase it will have languished in the junk folder for a blue moon at least! This "last time" will probably be no different. Open rates in re-capture campaigns are typicallly pretty now. (Consider 4% a great open rate!) If you don't hear otherwise, just delete that email and feel okay about it.
If someone opens but doesn't click — and has been on your list forever — then try sending a note that you will be placing them on a less frequesnt email schedule. OR ask the recipient when and what she would like to hear about. Frequency is a big deal for some folks! Maybe you started your email campagins before you started offering subscription preferences (like we did). You can still go back and ask theri preferences now — before you delete them from your subscriber list.
We here at MyTeamConnects recently received an email response from a person who asked our customer (whose account we manage) that we send less frequently. She originally asked to be taken off the list, even though she wanted to attend the upcoming call our client was hosting…. That little detail she revealed told us that while she wanted to hear from our client…she just did not want to ALWAYS be hearing from him… Not a problem! We responded directly and asked if we could put her on a montly email schedule instead of weekly. She agreed — and we retained a potential customer for our client.
I will admit that responding directly to a customer's request to unsubscribe would be a chore with a larger list, but there are ways to get that information proactively. Sending a survey or email preference questionnaire before too much time goes by might be a better option, simply becuase the more unopened emails accumulate, the more likely your email is being siphoned off into the junk folder.
The ideal situation is for a reader to unsubscribe herself if she isn't interested in your emails anymore. But human nature being what it is, people get lazy, and just delete unwanted emails from their inboxes even when they have the best intentions of opening the next one — when she has more time, when your are telling her something she needs to know, or when it's more convenient.
I found an interesting article about this very subject, along with a sample letter you could edit and send to your unresponsive list. The wording and tone is just right — not too pushy, just a friendly and engaging reminder. The call to action was to click on a link to edit the recipient's emaill profile. The notification that this would be the last email they receive clinched it. Check it out and see for your self whether you'd be persuaded to remain on the list. The organization retained 3% of it's dead list — and then went on to send a fundraising letter within days of the renewed subscription. Great move, I think.
I really love learning from other small businesses on the internet. Passing on these stories and helping you figure out how to make the most of your email campaigns is one of my favorite things! Hope you enjoy it like I do.
And let me know what YOU would do with an unresponsive portion of YOUR list, won't you?