Gosh, you’re thinking, didn’t you just write a spring cleaning blog post last year? Why yes, yes we did and we’ll probably write one next year because guess what—having a clean email list is ALWAYS relevant! Spring cleaning has two real elements: one is the literal removal of dirt and the other is the infusion of the indoors with fresh air from outside. Both of these apply to email marketing as readily as they do to one’s home.
The Literal Cleaning
Keeping a clean email list starts with bounces but it doesn’t stop there. Successful delivery into an inbox is a great first step. The next step is engagement. Your open rate will give you a good idea of what level of engagement you are receiving. Average open rates vary depending on industry; a 15-25% open rate is within the normal for most.
Here’s my proposal: a smaller interactive subscriber list is more beneficial than a large subscriber list with a smaller percentage of engaged readers. Annually clearing out the email addresses of subscribers who consistently fail to engage with your email list will help you to cull out those who are uninterested in your content or who are not longer using an email address but keep it activated, etc. As a general practice, pulling a list of non-openers who haven’t opened your newsletter(s) in six months or more runs a low risk of accidentally booting valuable contacts from your list. Learn more about exporting this data on MNB. If you’d rather have us do it for you, that’s called “Subscriber Services,” and it’s a great list hygiene option for those who’d like to get their spring cleaning done pronto.
Sometimes people feel hesitant about simply dumping subscribers who have ceased to be interactive. In those cases it’s no skin off anyone’s teeth to give a warning shot across the bow informing those subscribers that you’ve missed them but you’re going to stop sending if they don’t renew their subscription or opt back in. It’s probably obvious, but this is a good time to mention your value proposition.
Freshening It Up
We can’t really talk about open rates and non-openers without at least touching on the topic of quality and content. Around the same time that you’re cleaning your list (or running a win-them-back campaign to see if you can re-interest readers who have stopped engaging) you might want to look at your content and assess where you are. Are you still delivering the content your readers signed up for? Are your interests still well-represented by that content? If no, it might be time to throw open the windows and freshen things up. Getting rid of stale content and adding fresh new features might actually be enough to bring fatigued readers back on board and helps to keep active readers interested.