How often do you evaluate the health of your email lists? Last year, MarketingSherpa reported that 33 percent of businesses are seeing a decline in their list sizes, with business lists experiencing an average decrease of 13 percent. Other industry stats put the average attrition rate above 30 percent annually. List attrition is caused by a number of factors: people change jobs and subsequently their business email addresses, or they change their personal email to switch ISPs or avoid spam and start fresh. This churn can wreak havoc not only on your deliverability, but on your ROI.
Email append and email change-of-address updates can help keep your lists up-to-date while reducing bounces and protecting your reputation and deliverability. While both services can keep your lists healthy and help fight attrition, if not handled correctly, you can experience drawbacks.
- Work with a reputable email appending company to ensure a high match rate, the accuracy of the data, and that the data was lawfully collected from sources that are upfront about telling subscribers that their information will be shared with third parties.
- Start by purchasing emails for those customers who meet your ideal customer profile, rather than purchasing all the addresses at once. This will make it easier for you to monitor results, and you'll have more control over the process.
- Before sending an email, run the list against your suppression list and remove subscribers who have previously unsubscribed.
- Use a separate IP address to send emails to these appended addresses, as this list could generate more complaints or unsubscribes and damage your reputation.
- Closely monitor results—such as deliverability by domain, complaints, unsubscribes and bounces—as well as open, click and conversion rates. Don't automatically add these new addresses to your email lists; you first need to re-engage these people to re-subscribe.
The important thing when appending email addresses and doing email change-of-address updates is to have a strategy to re-engage these lost subscribers. Just adding them back to your list could result in reputation and brand damage. You should re-introduce your brand and ask them to come back. You may want to make this a series of emails and include special offers to get subscribers and customers back. No matter what, you must deliver relevant messages to get these people reengaged with your brand.
When done correctly, the rewards are great. One of our customers experienced a 13 percent ROI through its remarketing campaign to appended email addresses. It ran its list of 1.2 million mail records through an append service and received close to 200,000 email addresses. The re-engagement campaign drove 31,000 visits to its site and had a 3 percent conversion rate; nearly $100,000 in sales. That's worthwhile ROI.