Do you have a successful e-mail list?
How do you determine its success:? Total subscribers? Number of weekly sign-ups? High open rate? Click-throughs? Comments generated?
All those numbers are important, but often the real value of a good list is the participation it stimulates between the subscriber and your business.
Too many businesses shell out too many dollars and resources to up their number of subscribers or to improve the demographic quality of their e-mail lists, while too few consider the quality of subscriber participation.
Don’t confuse participation with interactive technology. I’m not talking about keeping customers entertained with bells and whistles. Worthwhile interaction truly engages your audience.
So when we decided we wanted to improve participation quality with our company newsletter subscribers, we pulled up our list — and hit “delete.”
We wiped out a list of over 40,000 addresses, built organically and through co-registration. A list we’ve been mailing to since 2000. Before you conclude my book tour drove me mad (and it may as well have), read on.
At the end of the day, we don’t care much about the number of subscribers we have, we care about reader engagement — the quality of the relationship readers have with us. We don’t expect subscribers to read every issue, but if they haven’t read our newsletter once in three months, we assume they’re not interested, or don’t have the time to invest. Making any other assumption risks the quality of our subscriber interaction. The last thing we want is for the newsletter to degrade into a perception of opt-in spam.