THE BLOG
04/30/2013 06:56 pm ET Updated Jun 30, 2013

70-75 Percent of Email Subscribers Are Inactive: Tips for Improvements

The Challenge: Per recent guidelines, you will be penalized if your emails do not have adequate levels of deliverability and "engagement". Consider the following options to optimize your lists to increase open rates and engagement.

New rules regarding deliverability and engagement

Per our previous blog, recently most email service providers converted to a new algorithm that calculates deliverability using a combination of the original email delivery rules plus new "engagement" factors: open rates, clicks, unsubscribes, and complaints. With these new human behaviors factored into the equation of deliverability, future emails that you send may be considered SPAM or not delivered at all, even to subscribers who signed-up to receive your emails.

70-75 percent of most email subscribers are inactive

List hygiene is not just about removing undeliverable emails, bounces and unsubscribes. It is also requires re-engaging inactive subscribers and the tricky task of asking subscribers if they still want to receive your emails. It's scary to think about getting people to unsubscribe, but is necessary in today's email climate; especially when you consider that 70 - 75 percent of most email subscribers are inactive. It becomes a waste of resources, money, and hurts the overall deliverability of your list.

When you remove inactives and non-responders there a number of added benefits to your email campaign. In addition to a better delivery rate, you will have lowered costs and increased ease of segmentation and analysis. Not only are you paying to send to these subscribers, you are wasting time managing a larger email list, and then you are penalized for sending too many emails that are left unopened and unengaged.

Re-engagement campaigns

Instead of just purging inactive subscribers, you should first test a re-engagement campaign. Pulling one off tactfully requires finesse. This is easier when you know your audience and run test campaigns to see which tactic performs best. Some ideas for re-engagement emails are to include catchy subject lines such as:
"Are You Breaking Up With Us?"
"Are we still friends?"
"Are You Mad at Us?
The body of the email should explain the message and provide multiple options: opt-out, and various ways to opt-in: subscribe to only some topics, adjust frequency, or connect on different platforms and social arenas.

TAKEAWAYS FOR EMAIL MARKETERS:

» Start your email relationship effectively: capture attention and invite engagement with a quality welcome series.
» Test to determine the most important areas of interest. This should drive engaging content and subject lines.
» Segment and personalize your emails so you deliver the greatest relevance to each individual subscriber.
» Analyze inactive users and begin sending re-engagement emails as soon as possible so that inactive users do not remain on your list for too long.

Ernan Roman is recognized as a Customer Experience innovator and was inducted into the Marketing Hall of Fame for creating three transformational methodologies: Voice of Customer Relationship Research, Integrated Direct Marketing, and Opt-in Marketing.
2010-12-08-ernan.jpg

He was also named by Crain's B to B Magazine as one of the "100 most influential people in Business Marketing".

His latest book on marketing best practices is titled, : Voice of the Customer Marketing: A Proven 5-Step Process to Create Customers Who Care, Spend, and Stay.

Ernan is also the author of the widely read blog, "Ernan's Insights on Marketing Best Practices", (www.erdm.com), and author of "Opt-in Marketing" and "Integrated Direct Marketing".

ERDM's Customer Experience strategies achieve consistent double-digit increases in response and revenue for clients, which include IBM, MassMutual, QVC, NBC Universal, Microsoft, Hewlett-Packard, and Symantec.

As a leader in providing Voice of Customer research-based strategies, ERDM has conducted over 10,000 hours of interviews with customers and prospects of these clients to gain an in-depth understanding of their expectations for high value customer relationships.

www.erdm.com
ernan@erdm.com