One of the things that always surprises me is when I see companies batch blasting their full email list without thinking about the negative ramifications. Simply put, if you’re not paying attention to your list’s open rates and bounce rates, you are doing yourself a disservice.
With that in mind, here are a couple of common misconceptions about email marketing and list hygiene.
Misconception #1: It Doesn’t Cost Anything To Send To Your Full List
One of the biggest misconceptions about email marketing is that it is essentially free to send out emails as often as you want to as many addresses as you have. To demonstrate just how wrong this is, let’s use a basic example:
Say I have a list that has 100,000 email addresses on it and I send to that list daily. If you assume a 30 day month, you’re sending about 3 million emails per month.
With each email you send, you’re probably spending about $0.0015 (could be higher or lower depending on the contact you signed with your service provider). That means you’re spending about $4,500 per month to send your daily email. It isn’t free, but it is still extremely affordable, especially compared to other CPM based ad models.
If you look at the metrics of your list, you’ll likely find that a good 30% of the addresses you send to haven’t opened a single email from you in over 6 months. If you simply don’t email to the segment that has clearly shown they have no interest in what you’re saying, you’d save about $1,350 per month (over $16,000 annually) at this rate. Say you took that $16,000 and spent it on targeted PPC at an average spend of $1.00 per click. Now assume you get a 1% conversion rate (which is pretty low) on that campaign while also getting a very achievable 5% sign-up conversion rate for new adds to your email list. When you consider your AOV from these new leads, you’ll immediately see why sending to these non-openers is a waste of money.
Misconception #2: Even If They Don’t Open, It Doesn’t Really Hurt Me
This may have been true 20 years ago, but just like everything, email has evolved. At this point, most people are aware that active negative actions like spam reports damage your reputation. Every major email service looks at spam reports to determine whether the sender’s email should go to the spam folder or not. Some do it better than others, but they all do it.
What is not as well known is that passive negative actions hurt your sender reputation as well. When people don’t open your emails for months on end, it matters. Gmail and other email clients look at this and will negatively score your sender reputation if they consistently see it. Simply put, massive percentages of unopened emails tell email clients that the sender isn’t sending anything of value. Once your sender score gets low enough, your emails will start hitting the spam folder on a regular basis.
As for bounces, nothing says “bad sender” to an email client faster that lots of bounces. Most good senders have tools that will auto-delete hard bounces and will quarantine soft bounces for this very reason.
Sadly, the most frequent reason I see companies with poor email list hygiene is pride. They pride themselves on their email list count. They brag about how big their email lists are, but when you ask them how their lists perform, they don’t want to talk about it.
Don’t get blinded by your list size. All that really matters is how your list performs. Proper list hygiene will ultimately improve your overall performance and save you money to boot.