Reviewing Email List Growth Dynamics to Reach More Subscribers in 2015
Still reeling from the holiday shopping season? Before you restart your regularly scheduled email program you should pause for a bit and take a deeper look into what you gained and what you can learn from the year-end flurry.
What You've Gained (Subscribers)
Before you integrate your new subscribers into your email marketing program, make sure they belong there. You do not want to add complainers—or fake addresses — to your list, because they will hurt your program's inbox placement and affect your ability to stay connected to current customers.
Immediately remove any email address that comes back as unknown. Unknown addresses that are not in use — meaning no potential buyer on the other side. You may think this is strange, seeing as you just recently received this email, but it is not unusual. It's commonly caused by human error, either by a customer or a cashier mistyping the address during point-of-sale collection. It's not unheard of for people to provide fake addresses, either. No matter why you received unknown addresses, mailing to them will inflate your unknown user rate, signaling to mailbox providers that your list hygiene practices are sloppy. Mailbox Providers factor senders' unknown user rates into their filtering decisions and an increase can lead to a sharp decline in inbox placement rates as more of your messages — to all subscribers — are rerouted to the spam folder or blocked altogether.
In addition to unknown emails, you'll want monitor and remove new subscribers who complain about your messages (click the 'this is junk/spam' buttons in their email client). There is no clearer indication to mailbox providers that people don't want your content. Senders with high complaint rates, just like those with high unknown user rates, generally see lower inbox placement rates—across all subscribers, not just those that complain. To manage complaints well, you need to have feedback loops set up to monitor and appropriately handle complaints.