Alright, fellow email wizards, gather ’round! So, you’ve grown your mailing list that you’re trying to shower with your top-notch content. But you still feel like your email subscribers are playing hide-and-seek with engagement! You have tried changing up your email templates and even tested out various writing, content types and used catchy images. But have you been paying attention to your email database itself? I think it’s time to chat about mailing lists in more detail. Now, before you faint from stress, worry not because this is not a eulogy. Instead, we’re going to have a merry little chat about sunsetting mailing lists and how to maintain them like a seasoned email guru!
The Bittersweet Farewell: Sunsetting Your Mailing List
Your mailing list is your audience – absolutely necessary to an email marketer – it’s needed like the pen to a writer or the spatula to a chef (we hope you have better metaphors in your repertoire). However, as times change, so do our email subscribers. Just our old VHS tapes, old unengaged mailing lists too must bow out gracefully when their time has come.
And what a beautiful term to bid our inactive contacts farewell – sunsetting. Sunsetting a mailing list is not as cruel as it sounds; it’s simply letting your unengaged contacts retire to that warm, sunny beach in the Bahamas where they can relax and enjoy their golden years. But why should you consider such an act of goodwill?
Quality over Quantity When It Comes to Mailing List
How do you take care of your mailing list? What’s important to know when you’re managing your email lists? Those are really good questions. One of the most important things in maintaining a good quality email list is list hygiene.
Why do marketers/businesses not like deleting contacts? Aside from the sad feeling of saying goodbye to inactive subscribers, many email senders want to see big numbers on their lists. Sure, everyone wants to boast to their boss or client about their massive mailing list like it’s some sort of badge of honor. Big numbers make you feel good; your Tableau dashboards (or whatever tool you use for data views) look so nice. And it also helps to pitch a product or service if you have a large mailing list number to show off. And more email addresses will surely bring more conversions, right?
Well, not really. When we talk email marketing, it’s always quality over quantity, my friend! What’s the use of having a big fancy sports car that doesn’t start and you need to commute from point A to Z. We could talk metaphors all day. In short, mailing list hygiene check-ups should be done regularly.
It’s very straightforward: to maintain proper mailing list hygiene, you must keep it clean and monitor its quality. Keeping inactive contacts will not demonstrate your success. In fact, it will do more harm than good as emailing to inactive contacts is putting your overall Inbox Placement at risk too.
Five Reasons to Consider to Keep on Regularly Sunsetting Your Mailing List
Sunsetting, also called “the sunset policy” and “sunset provision”, is a process of suppressing inactive contacts after a set period of time. Unfortunately, probably one of the most difficult aspects of email marketing is letting your contacts go. It’s something to overcome psychologically, even. “But why do I need to sunset my mailing list?” you ask. Well, here’s the lowdown:
- Engagement Menace: Have you ever felt like you’re sending emails to the Bermuda Triangle? Your open rates plummet faster than a deflating balloon, and your click-through is becoming non-visible in your reports. Well, my friend, it might be time to admit that your mailing list might be suffering from an acute case of subscriber disinterest. Or even worse, you may be regularly emailing to no-more-existing mailboxes. To get your engagement in order, clean up your inactive contacts, and see the difference next time you send an email campaign out.
- Unwanted Tag-Alongs: Do you remember that one distant cousin who overstayed their welcome? Well, a mailing list can have its version of such tag-alongs – inactive subscribers. They’ve long forgotten who you are or why they joined your list, but they stay anyway. Don’t forget spammy opt-ins and a good variety of… bots.
- Changing Landscapes: The digital landscape is a shape-shifter, always transforming and evolving. The marketing strategies that worked wonders yesterday might be obsolete today. By regularly sunsetting your mailing list, you keep your mailing list targeted and keep on maintaining strong conversion rates.
- Cost and Resources: Big mailing list numbers may look cool, but remember they’re not usually sitting in your ESP for free. As your list grows, so does the cost of it. Your email service provider is probably charging you for your contact count and emails sent. If the returns are diminishing, it’s time to rethink your strategy.
- Unavoidable Data-Decay: every year, email marketing databases naturally degrade by about 22.5%. Yep, just like that last slice of pizza that mysteriously disappears. In other words, every year about a fifth of your mailing list might become inactive (for a variety reasons). Remember, bad email addresses become a risk to your deliverability. Also, long-time inactive emails can even be turned into spam traps. Thus, regularly suppressing inactive contacts is the way to go.
Maintaining Your Mailing List: 3 Steps Till Sunset
Time for some hands-on action! Three steps, and you’ll be a sunsetting champ 💪:
Step one: Set a time frame. Choose a period (industry recommendation is six months) after which you’ll identify non-engagers. Depending on how often you send emails, you can adjust this time frame.
Step two: Review and identify. Once your chosen time frame passes, go through your mailing lists/segments and find those unengaged contacts. Everyone who has not opened an email during that time should be considered inactive.
Step three: Say goodbye (kindly). Now it’s time to remove those inactive contacts from your live mailing lists. Different email platforms might have different ways to do this, so don’t hesitate to ask for assistance if needed (unless you’re using an API and sending such lists from your CRM, which will be a bit more difficult).
Pro tip: Want to give ’em a second chance? Try a final re-engagement campaign. Woo them back with some juicy content. Maybe a “We Miss You” card? Who knows, they might just return to the land of the living! Re-engagement campaigns could help you convert at least a few non-engagers to active contacts again. But make sure to create targeted segments so you can analyze your email results and understand what worked and what didn’t.
In Conclusion: Embrace the Change, Don’t Fear It!
Sunsetting a mailing list might seem daunting, but it’s a necessary step to keep up with the ever-evolving digital world. Embrace the change, be fearless, and remember – letting go can sometimes lead to new beginnings!
It’s a fact – maintaining your email database quality is one of the essential factors to your email marketing success. Always keep an eye on your mailing lists and make sunsetting a regular hands-on process, not just a one-off practice. With some TLC, your engaged mailing list will become a powerful tool for your business! Keep up the great work!
Remember, you can send me a message: get in touch if you feel lost.
Disclaimer: No mailing lists were harmed in the making of this blog post. Any resemblance to real-life mailing lists is purely coincidental and should not be taken personally. 🙈