3 Benefits to Removing Inactive Subscribers from Email Marketing Lists

February 6, 2013
By Tom Burke

remove inactive subscribersAs email marketers, you know just how much time constructing an email marketing campaign requires. First there’s the seemingly never-ending research followed by hours of creating buyer personas, segmenting lists and strategizing objectives, strategies and tactics. By the time campaign elements, email body copy and designs are drafted, revised and (finally) approved, you’re committed to the campaign 110 percent—but your audiences aren’t.

When you finally hit “send” on your email marketing campaign, there are really only five end results, four of which, unfortunately, are bad for business. On the one hand, we have the optimum result: Receivers open and take action in the email. On the other hand, we have the negative results: bounces, complaints, unsubscription and, worst of all, inactivity.

Some reports indicate upwards of 70 percent of email marketing lists are comprised of inactive subscribers. There are many email marketers who argue inactivity is unimportant, ignoring it entirely and instead focusing their attention on deliverability and open and click rates. But as Derek Harding, CEO and founder of Innovyx Inc., pointed out in a ClickZ article, there are a number of benefits to removing inactive subscribers from email marketing lists. These include:

  • Preventing Delivery Issues Before They Arise: About 30 percent of people change their email addresses every year. This means you’re likely sending emails to inboxes that have already been abandoned by subscribers. And even if your subscribers are still using their current addresses, frequent inactivity can indicate increased bounces, complaints and unsubscriptions are just around the corner.
  • Improved Metrics: Many email marketers hold true to the notion that bigger lists are better lists, so they shy away from the idea of cleaning their email lists by eliminating inactive subscribers. But, as Harding points out, there are good reasons to maintain only engaged subscribers in your database. “As filtering systems begin to measure engagement as a delivery metric, having a higher engagement rate may help your inbox placement,” he writes. “Furthermore, focusing your marketing resources on engaged subscribers reaps far higher rewards than guesswork marketing to users who won’t respond no matter what you do.”
  • Better Brand Reputation: The nursery rhyme “Eeny, meeny, miny, moe” teaches us to let the tiger go after he hollers. In email marketing, it’s exactly the opposite: When a subscriber is silent, let him go. The last thing you want your marketing emails to be is annoying. If your subscribers have moved on, stop trying to lure them back with giveaways. Cut your inactive subscribers loose, and rely on your other marketing channels to re-engage them with your brand.

Does your list have a high inactive subscriber percentage? Contact TowerData to discover how our services can quickly and cost-effectively validate, correct and enhance all your customer touchpoints.

Photo Credit: Daryl Marquardt