Isn’t it funny how in a space still in it’s infancy, there are so many self-proclaimed “experts”? What’s a website owner to do?
We’d like to share a story that illustrates a job well done, and a potential pitfall avoided. Flat out, the guys at CBS are sharp, and they know how to avoid a roadblock.
We wrote about our efforts to clean our GrokDotCom email list. CBS Sportsline just did something similar. I blogged about this past week and their story was written up in greater detail on ClickZ News. I was concerned with this first attempt because they only were sending only one email out to notify subscribers. They now will use a three-email campaign. Phew. Great move. Potential crisis avoided.
My concern is with the following statement made in the article:
Marketers and media companies that want to clean their lists need not e-mail the whole database, according to Jared Blank, VP of client solutions at direct marketing agency Epsilon. Blank recommends list owners target their re-subscribe requests to users who haven’t opened the last several messages sent. ‘It wouldn’t be your whole list,’ he said, adding he doesn’t believe such aggressive purging practices have become widespread.
Ask yourself: What would have happened had they simply sent a single email? Which customers would they have missed? Exactly the people they were trying to reach, perhaps?
Here’s the problem with what Jared Blank says. For technical clarification I asked CC Chaman from Kobemail, our email service provider, to explain the flaw in his logic. The people who haven’t opened your email, may not open them if you email them in the same manner. Analyze that the deliverability path is trusted (i.e., white-listed, authentication, SPF, DKIM, etc.); then, with that established, the marketer needs to reestablish the value of the publication to the reader before asking them to resubscribe.
Additionally, opens are not an indication of engagement. Engagement is! Try emailing subscribers who open said emails (who, if you’re lucky, at least passively scan your content) with an email that highlights the value of the publication and the benefits of resubscribing. You want to let the reader know that their lack of engagement will get them removed from the list. This reinforces the value of interaction.
If Jared advised to email those who clicked, and not those who opened, I might not have objected. Plus, while you may choose not to email the readers who actively respond by clicking inside your emails, they are usually the first people to recognize the value. These people already are your biggest advocates and will appreciate that you care about the publication quality. In fact, in our case, readers spread the story. In fact CC told me that after we did this for GrokDotCom, a handful of other people contacted him to do the same for them. They told him that they shared a our story with others. That’s a viral opportunity.
Do you really want to miss your most loyal readers by not sending them an resubscribe email?