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Beware the Stale Mailing List

stale mailing list

We all know how important having a list is to our business marketing efforts. For many of us, myself included, we have been capturing names through lead magnets and other sources and building our lists for years. In fact, my list is almost at 10K names. The bigger the list, the better, right?

No. Not necessarily.

As I recently learned, your email list is all about the numbers – but not the number most of us look at which is total subscribers . As my email marketing support team pointed out, the numbers you should be concentrated on are engagement and conversion. Simply put, a healthy email list is not about the number of people you are sending to, but the number of people who are actually interacting and listening to what you say. If your conversion and engagement numbers are low, meaning a small percentage of the people you emailed are either opening the message or taking action, then you probably have a stale mailing list and need to do a little work to get it healthy again.

How do you start to revitalize a stale mailing list? Here is some advice and a few tips from my team to get you started.

Know Your Numbers

Every email you send out should have a purpose (otherwise, you are just making noise!) and you should be closely watching the effects of your message to see how your audience is, or isn’t, reacting. This means monitoring the email reports that share specifics on engagement and conversion, including unique opens, unopened, bounces, clicks, opt-outs, and complaints. Without knowing these numbers, you have no way of gauging the effectiveness of your messaging or the health of your list.

email stats 2


Toss Out the Garbage

Once you have had a chance to look at your numbers, start cleaning your list by removing all the obvious garbage – Bounces.  Bounces are emails that are undeliverable. Perhaps the subscriber changed email addresses, or they typed the address incorrectly – either way, all of these are garbage and need to be removed.

email stats


Start a Reengagement Campaign

The next number you should look when cleaning your list is ‘Unopened’. These are the total number of people who are ignoring, or not opening, your messages. It is this group that will have a substantial negative impact on your list and overall sender reputation.

Your email marketing software should allow you to run a report that shows all subscribers that have had no activity in the past 3 – 6 months. Once you have identified them, start a reengagement campaign to let them know that they need to opt back onto the list, or you will need to say ‘goodbye’ and remove them all together. While this may seem like a severe step, if done correctly it gives you an opportunity to discover why the subscriber stopped interacting and how you might be able to deliver more value to your list.

A healthy email marketing list can be one of the greatest assets of your business. However, it is all about having the ‘right’ contacts on the list, not just a high number of contacts.  By taking a bit of time to clean your list, you will see your engagement and conversion rates increase and spend more time communicating with real leads, which can more easily convert into sales and other positive actions.

See you soon Wealthy Speakers!

Jane Atkinson



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