As with the section in the book, this is going to be pretty short and straightforward.
People who don’t open or interact with your emails hurt your overall deliverability, to the point where even people who do interact with your emails will start to see fewer of them. Weed them out ruthlessly. You are protecting your relationship with the subscribers who do want to hear from you.
Find anyone who hasn’t opened a certain number of your recent emails or who hasn’t clicked on anything in a certain number of emails. Once you’ve identified them, what do you do with them?
You give them a chance to stay, and then you boot them, without remorse.
Your “Do you want to stay” email should say a few things:
- You’ve noticed (or your mailing list service has told you, or however you want to phrase it) that the subscriber hasn’t been opening your emails
- You don’t want to send emails to people who aren’t interested
- You will unsubscribe them unless they click on a link (which you can set up just to go to a dummy page on your site that says “Your click has been recorded” or something) or send you a reply
Anyone who clicks will register as an open. Tag these people for later so you don’t send them anymore “Do you want to stay?” emails. Subscribers who don’t interact get unsubscribed after whatever period of time you set out in the email. No exceptions and no regrets. You need subscribers who want to be on your list, and who show it by opening, clicking, and replying. You do not need to pay your mailing list service for dead weight that isn’t interested in you.
Whatever sales you lose from removing the few people who might have come around and begun opening your emails again is more than offset by the net gain in open and click rates, and the subsequent positive effects on your reputation as a sender.
They can always rejoin or follow you elsewhere if they want to. To that end, however, you need to give them a line back to you. So make sure that your goodbye email, or the page they land on when they unsubscribe, or whatever your last communication with them is, gives them a link to rejoin, and links to follow you elsewhere (I use Bookbub and Amazon).
Then toss ’em. Period.
Respond to some final questions, you’re almost done:
- Do you purge regularly?
- Why or why not?
- If not, what do you think will happen if you do?