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List Management Tips: Gathering In-Active Subscribers
A key component to success while using email marketing is maintaining a high quality contact list. Here is a tip to maintaining this list.

In the world of email marketing your contact list is your life force. Maintaining its quality will determine your success using email marketing campaigns to get the message out.

Every mailing list has those recipients that haven’t opened, clicked or responded to your email messages. These subscribers don’t ever get recorded as spam complaints or don’t take the time to unsubscribe; however, they actually increase your costs and reduce the accuracy of your open, click and conversion rates. Industry numbers have shown that very quickly after you've spent the time to gain your contact list it begins to age and therefore lowers in quality. After 2 months the open rate drops about 45%. After 6 months the open rate dips lower another 37%. After your list has aged two years, the open rate will settle around 33% lower. These are some great reasons that it is important to clean up our list, and continue to maintain it so that you are being as proactive as possible in ensuring that your list is the highest quality.

Here is a tip that you can put into practice to ensure your lists maintains their quality as time passes.

Even though it is VERY tempting to just delete the subscribers that have been inactive during previous sending, it is far more prudent to separate these contacts into an isolated list. Here is why: Once you’ve determined the in-actives you can design your email campaigns in order to persuade those subscribers into becoming active again. Sometimes all they really need is a gentle prod and you can renew a relationship with a potential customer. This strategy can come in the form of something as simple as an email that asks the subscriber to opt-in again. If they do, you’ve recaptured a contact. If they don’t, no harm done, now you can sink your teeth into the delete button!

So now it’s time to separate “the boys from the men”, as the saying goes. It is important to select a chunk of time to determine whether or not a subscriber is active. It should be long enough so that each recipient has received a fair amount of emails that they have had an opportunity to respond to. If you are unsure, the most recent six months is a good place to begin. In this time frame the recipient should have received a good number of emails (10 emails sent is a good volume) to get an accurate measure of their inactivity.

The next step is to retrieve your most recent reports and download it (normally this comes in the form of an Excel file). In order to make sure that you are sorting the recipients who have received a fair amount of emails in the time frame that you’ve determined, you’ll need to sort your list by number of messages sent to recipients. Delete all recipients that have received less than 10 messages.

Once you’ve determined who has received the correct number of emails to ensure their inactivity, then sort your list in descending order by email addresses that have opened the messages, and those email addresses that have clicked on the messages that you’ve sent. Then in the Excel file, delete everyone except those that have NEITHER opened NOR clicked on anything.

Presto, you’ve created your list of inactive subscribers. So now create an “inactive” group of emails in your email marketing account and upload these contacts from the Excel list. Now you are ready to create a campaign to prod them back into the active column!

Stay tuned for more tips on email marketing list maintenance. The more you know about keeping a high quality list, the more productive your email marketing will be. Remember, the quality of your list is where your email marketing success will begin and end!

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