Email marketing is one of the best ways to generate sales from those who have already interacted with your brand. Interaction could refer to engagement with your brand on social media, spoken to a sales representative or filled in a form on your website for a free gift.
After this interaction, they have taken the time to request to stay in contact with you. This can be highly valuable and result in repeat custom over a long period of time.
However, this doesn’t always last. There are times when list contacts won’t want to receive your email content anymore. There are numerous reasons for this including:
- Your products / services are no longer relevant to them.
- They don’t like the content they have received.
- They don’t like how you are running your email marketing campaigns (i.e. too frequently contacting them).
While many of those not interested any more will unsubscribe, some may just ignore your emails or delete them immediately.
Another problem is that people do regularly change email addresses. The average employee works between 2 and 4 years within an organisation. Once they’ve left their workplace, their email address becomes invalid. In addition, some research has stated that the average personal email address is abandoned every two years. Some email addresses are abandoned within 6 months.
There are also some people who purposefully provide inactive email addresses as a way to gain access to the free downloads you’re offering.
While these are minor nuisances for your email marketing team, they can also be a huge problem for your reputation. There are several results that can occur from inactive email addresses on your contacts list.
- Low Open Rate – The open rate of your content is very important. It tells you how many people are actively reading your content. If too many of your contacts aren’t opening your emails, it can look bad to email marketing providers and they may investigate whether you are running an honest list. For instance, MailChimp may assume you’ve bought the list (especially if you imported it originally) and could revoke access to your account.
- High Soft Bounce Rate – Soft bounces are when the inbox of the receiver is full or temporarily unavailable. The longer the account has been inactive, the higher the chance their inbox is going to be full. While soft bounces can be reversed and the mail eventually delivered to them, there is no telling how long it will take for the inbox to become unstuffed.
- High Hard Bounce Rate – Hard bounces are very problematic. They happen when an email address no longer exists or your message has been blocked by the incoming mail server. The more hard bounces your email marketing campaigns accumulate, the worse your reputation becomes and the higher the chance there is of more hard bounces. If the situation gets too out of hand, your outgoing mail server can be blacklisted and it will be nearly impossible for your campaigns to be profitable.
- Increased Campaign Costs – When you are managing a list of hundreds of accounts and sending out regular emails, you can find that you are being charged a hefty sum. If you then have numerous inactive accounts on your mailing list, you are being charged unnecessarily. While generally speaking it will only cost two or three cents per email, over a year that could cost you $1.56 for one inactive email address. It wouldn’t take many accounts for this charge to get out of hand. In reality, removing those on the list that aren’t active could not only slightly decrease your costs but could remove them altogether as you get 12,000 free emails a month with MailChimp.
- Morale – Successful email marketing campaigns can be very rewarding and you can feel highly energised to start a new campaign and succeed again. However, when a significant number of accounts are not interacting with your campaigns, you can feel very disheartened. You may be tempted to quit the whole process, when if you had removed inactive accounts – the results could have been vastly different and be more motivating.
As a final point, it is not the number of email contacts you have on a list, but the quality of those contacts. One contact that is regularly interacting with your content is worth hundreds of those who never open a message. Not only does it achieve better results and feel good; but it is more cost effective and allows for a better ROI.