You’ve spent a lot of time building up your email marketing list—collecting contact information on your website and in person. Now it’s time to cut that list down.
This is an essential step. Because a long list of unengaged subscribers could be actively hurting your email marketing—including the metrics, deliverability, and profitability of your campaigns.
This is a prevalent problem. According to ReturnPath, approximately 1 in 5 emails are sent to inactive email addresses. That means 20% of your list isn’t even receiving your messages. A good rule of thumb is to purge your list of unengaged subscribers every 6 months or so—it isn’t an exact science, but don’t let it go longer than a year. Here’s a deeper look at why this is so important.
Because every time someone marks your email as Spam, it hurts you. If enough people put your email in their Spam folder, their ISP will notice and start filtering you there automatically. If it gets really bad, all of your emails could get blocked or filtered into Spam—even the messages sent to engaged subscribers. You need to be sending primarily to people who are engaged and who open and click on your emails.
- Because the more engaged your readers, the more profitable your list. The more people click on your links and respond to your messages, the more likely they are to buy from you. This makes all of your efforts in this area more likely to yield positive results. It’s much more effective and takes less effort to market to people who’ve proven their interest than to persuade those who are uninterested.
- Because you’ll be better able to target your messages. When you have a list full of people who respond to your messaging, you have a better ability to track what they respond to—and fine-tune your emails in response. Your data is cleaner—you’re getting clicks and responses from people who’ve proven their interest in your products, rather than a mix of people who may or may not be your target audience.
When it comes to email marketing lists, longer isn’t necessarily better. It’s more important for your contacts to be engaged—and purging your lists periodically is simple marketing self-defense. When your marketing messages go to the people most likely to buy, you get more out of every campaign—and your send reputation stays pristine.
Before you purge, however, there’s one step you should take: try re-engaging. Stay tuned next month for some tips on how to re-engage your marketing list.