To establish engagement with your email subscribers, Digital Marketing Managers and Email Marketing Managers need to maintain high quality email lists. By removing inactive email subscribers, you can maintain a high quality email list, increase deliverability, and establish engagement.
However, before removing inactive email subscribers, give them a chance to reactivate their email subscription, so they remain on your email subscription list.
To be considered an inactive email subscriber, an email subscriber has not opened, read, nor unsubscribed to your emails in a given period of time. Even if they opted-in or confirmed their email subscription, an email subscriber becomes inactive by not opening, reading, nor unsubscribing your emails.
According to Marketo’s Benchmark On Email Performance study, 26 to 50% of emails on marketers email subscription list are inactive.
Advantages to Removing Inactive Email Subscribers
- Higher deliverability
- Lower SPAM complaint rate
- Decreased costs
- Increased reputation with ISPs
- Increased engagement
- Higher ROI
Currently, email marketers struggle to get their emails into their email subscribers’ inbox. Emails get delivered, but the emails go to to SPAM folders. This occurs when an organization has a low reputation with ISPs because they have a high amount of inactive email subscribers on their email subscriber list.
“In the end, removing inactive subscribers is often the action needed to get your mail back to the inbox and in front of your customers” according to Melinda Plemel of Return Path, an email service provider.
Given Melinda’s quote, it is worth the effort to remove your inactive email subscribers to increase your reputation with ISPs and increase the number of emails delivered to your email subscribers’ inbox.
Before removing inactive emails, give your inactive email subscribers a chance to reactivate their subscription.
4 Ways to Reactivate Inactive Email Subscribers
- Series of Emails to Inactive Email Subscribers – Explain your email subscriber’s status and give them the option to activate their email subscription or Unsubscribe. You could give them free content or a discount on their next purchase. Make sure each email mentions the risk of being removed from your email subscription list.
- Mass Unsubscribe the Inactive Email Subscribers and Send a Final Email – Send one last email and give them one last chance to reactivate their email subscription.
- Perform a Telemarketing Campaign – Providing you have phone numbers for your inactive email subscribers, you may consider a more pro-active approach and call your inactive email subscribers.
- Deploy Direct Mail Effort – If you have mailing addresses for your inactive email subscribers, you could send them a direct mail piece.
You spend a lot of time and effort to build your email address list, and the idea of removing email addresses is scary and counter intuitive. However, by keeping inactive subscribers on your email list, it hinders your reputation with ISP’s, and ISP’s wont deliver your emails to your email subscribers’ inbox.
The idea of your emails NOT getting delivered to your email subscribers’ inbox is worse than removing inactive email addresses. Therefore, take the time to identify and remove your inactive email subscribers.
Call to Action in Reactivating your Inactive Email Subscribers to Increase Email Deliverability
- Identify your criteria of an inactive email subscriber
- Determine the length of time to be considered an active vs. inactive email subscriber i.e. 2 months or 4 months
- Consider any web activity by your inactive email subscribers
- Create and deploy your reactivation campaign
- Remove inactive email subscribers
- Marketing Sherpa suggests this process occur every 4 to 6 months
- Come back for next week’s Email Marketing weekly discussion on Deliverability
- Come back for the next Digital Marketer Post about getting your target audience to share on your social media networks
- The Definitive Guide to Engaging Email Marketing from Marketo
- Email Deliverability: Can You Spot a Srub? with Video from Marketing Sherpa Blog
- Email Deliverability: 5 tactics for 99% (or greater) Delivery Across Millions of Subscribers from Marketing Sherpa
- Email Marketing: How CNET Re-engaged Inactive Subscribers [Video] from Marketing Sherpa Blog
- Email Marketing: CNET Win-back Campaign Sees 8% Subscriber Re-engagement [Article] from Marketing Sherpa
- Email List Hygiene: Why the Tennessee Department of Tourist Development deleted 47% of its House
List from Marketing Sherpa
Additional Resources and News Updates
- How to Reactivate Inactive Subscribers via Mail Chimp’s Blog
- Email List Reactivation Incentives: Gift Cards vs. Whitepaper vs. Nothing from Marketing Sherpa
- Email List Hygiene: Remove 4 Kinds of Bad Addresses to Improve Deliverability from Marketing Sherpa Blog - Article may be from 2011, but the information still applies.
- Email Deliverability: Getting into Gmail’s ‘Priority Inbox’ from Marketing Sherpa Blog
Next Week’s Email Marketing Discussion: Deliverability Best Practices to Improve Reputation with ISP’s and Get Your Emails Delivered to Your Email Subscribers’ Inbox.
Next Digital Marketer Post: Social Media – How to get your target audience to share with you on social media networks?