With an email marketing program the quality of your contact list ensures the success of your campaigns. As a general rule, it important to constantly be doing some "up-keep" to be certain that your contacts are still in the category of "actively interacting" subscribers.
In previous articles it was discussed how to clean up the in-actives, giving you some tips on how to attempt to reel them back onto your active list. This article will teach you to keep your active contacts in that category for a longer period of time; in essence you'll find your subscribers will have a greater "shelf-life". This article will provide you with some advice on some of the things that can cause a list to go "stale", so that in the future you proactively prevent these errors.
Email marketing program studies have shown that with any contact list, you will likely see a 20- 25% decline in open rates two months after your subscribers have opted in to your list. After two years, expect open rates to decline between 35%-45%.
This can happen for a variety of reason:
An email address can become invalid. If a person changes jobs, the email that they might have used to sign up for your newsletters and promotions, being that it was an address given to them by the company they no longer work for, will no longer be valid. Sometimes these addresses stay enabled despite the fact that the employee no longer works for that particular company. It could also be that the person's email account is out-dated or they rarely access it.
It is also important to note that most email services like Gmail, Yahoo, Hotmail and Outlook etc. have image filters. ISPs and email services now include filters that disable images from loading immediately. Before they allow an image to be loaded there will be a prompt asking the user download external images. Because of this, some recipients may simply delete the message rather than enable the images. If the images are not enabled, the email will not register as an open. A subscriber that is deleting your campaigns is the equivalent of an inactive subscriber.
For these kinds of subscribers, getting them back to the active list will not provide much fruit, so you are better suited putting them into the inactive file (once you've appropriately tested, of course – see "Email Marketing Solutions Tip# 1-Gathering In-Active Subscribers" for more details on that).
However there are some practices to avoid that can help you achieve a contact list that stays active for a longer period of time. Subscribers can easily "tune-out" if you're no longer sending them the content you promised when they originally opted-in to your newsletters or promotions. This will quickly turn actives to in-actives. Trust is the biggest factor in the email marketing program game. Make sure that you are keeping tabs on the promotions that you send out, in order to better segment and organize your contact list.
This will help you to avoid sending subscribers to the "dark-side" of email marketing contact lists (the inactive category) by having subscribers receiving only the information that they signed up for.
Also, it might be that all your messages include some recurring content, which may cause it to get filtered to the spam folder—either at the Internet Service Provider, corporate or end-user level. So it is important to keep your content fresh. Some spam filters can set up so that they identify repetitive content, and may send the campaigns to the junk box.
Sometimes bounce messages are not returned leaving your emails to be sent, but never reaching the intended recipients. So if your messages are delivered to the spam folder or "bulk" folder in the recipient's inbox, there is a high likelihood that these emails will not be seen. Your recipient's may check the bulk/spam folder less frequently, which COULD result in them not seeing your email..
It is imperative that you know the "ins and outs" of email marketing programs so that you can ensure a higher ratio of activity for you active subscribers. The better informed you are about how to maintain your lists, the greater success you will have at maintaining a high quality subscriber list. By keeping the above tips in mind when sending out your campaigns you will significantly increase the life-span of your active subscribers. These are some preventative solutions; stay tuned for some more pro-active methods for keeping your contacts active!
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