Caution: Don’t Toss the Email Baby Out with the Bathwater

As every email marketer understands, it is essential to know which customers are reading your emails, and which aren’t.  Removing inactive contacts from mailing lists goes a long way to improving deliverability and achieving higher inbox placement rates.  But in doing so, there is a risk of indiscriminately chopping seemingly inactive customers, cautions Craig Swerdloff, CEO and founder of LeadSpend, in a recent blog post

 As Craig points out, some customers might be browsing silently, using their mobile phones or webmail with images disabled.  These same customers may be enjoying the rhythm of newsletters and advertisements as regular customers at the company’s website, yet their email interactions may not register as “opens.” 

 So how do you avoid cutting a potentially active customer?  LeadSpend recently produced a short, informative, and fun whitepaper explaining the problem and featuring a simple exercise for email marketers to define and remove inactive subscribers.  Tips include focusing first on inactive subscribers who have definitely never interacted positively with your product, never opened and clicked or visited your website.  After removal, wait and see how deliverability and revenue are affected.  Another useful tip is to check how often the customer has visited your website versus interacted with an email.  If the website interactions are more frequent or recent, try performing an intercept, to direct the customer to a preferences page where he or she can alter their communications preferences to indicate how they would like to be communicated with, or how often.

 Implementing these useful strategies requires a good range of customer data and access to information—to clicks, to website views, to email opens, to social media reviews, and so on.  Synthesizing all this data usefully requires that such data is managed in an organized way.   DMA is committed to educating marketers about good data stewardship and promoting responsible data-driven marketing, and this is just one example of how good data practices lead to better interactions between customers and businesses!

Craig Swerdloff, an entrepreneur and longtime veteran of the online media industry, founded LeadSpend, an email validation service. Craig has worked for Return Path and IAC/InterActiveCorp and served as chairman of the Interactive Advertising Bureau’s Email Committee.  He currently holds posts with the Performance Marketing Association and previously held posts with the Chicago Interactive Marketing Association, the Atlanta Interactive Marketing Association, and the Direct Marketing Association.

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