Fight the “Dead Weight” on Your List by Re-Engaging Old Subscribers

If you are in the email marketing business and have already built a solid database of subscribers or customers, you are most likely concerned about your email list integrity. Probably you have the subscribers who haven’t revealed themselves in any way. They haven’t opened, clicked or responded to your messages for a long time. Should you be concerned about them?

They seem harmless at first sight since the addresses don’t bounce and the subscribers don’t send spam reports. But actually this “dead weight” on your list increases your cost and reduces the accuracy of your open, click and conversion rates.

List inactivity is an unpleasant but inevitable fact in the email list life. As a rule your newest subscribers are the most active ones. The longer people stay on your list, they are less likely to open your newsletters or email marketing messages. The experience shows that the drop in activity is greatest after the first few months, then it stabilizes and continues at a slower rate. Generally, inactive addresses make 30-50% of a mailing list.

Why do we face the decline in the subscribers’ activity as far as the opt-in date ages?

A variety of factors cause it:

– Irrelevant content/offers. What you are emailing to the list doesn’t justify the expectations of your subscribers. You may not be sending the information you promised, or you may not be sending the content the readers want.

– Frequency. You are emailing too frequently, or too rarely. Sending monthly or bi-monthly is fine for e-newsletter. But with frequency that low people will forget about you.

– Bad start. You took a lot of time to send your first letter to new subscribers and people forgot about after their subscription.

– Competitor’s newsletter wins. People might have subscribed to several mailing lists from competitive companies and the competitor’s newsletter might be meeting their interests better. However, they do not unsubscribe from your mailing list either hoping you would send them something of value.

-Change of interests. People are changing. They change their jobs, interests, passions, hobbies, etc. There is no your fault here. Just maybe some subscribers are no longer interested in the information you are sending.

– Difficult or obscure opt-out process. Check how your unsubscribe process goes. Maybe it is not obvious for people what to do, or it is too complex and unclear, or maybe your opt-out link doesn’t work so people cannot notify you about their wish to be taken off.

Inactive addresses take up space in your mailing list and cost you money. So, why waste money for emailing to nowhere? You can do something to re-engage inactive members of your list. First of all you identify inactive email addresses on your list. You filter your email list based on the last response – open or click – date and find those subscribers who didn’t show any activity during the last three years, for example, and separate them from other members.

You send a message to inactive subscribers containing:

– Subject line: Notification About Your Subscription To [Company] Mailing List (or something similar);

– Subscriber details (email address, first name, last name) and the subscription date;

– Re-optin link with a statement that if the subscriber doesn’t take the action, he will be removed from the list;

– Link to the latest newsletter issue or some exclusive offer;

– Unsubscribe link.

You track the responses to see whether somebody re-subscribed or opted-out. You remove those members who didn’t act in any way.