Blink a few times and a year goes by, but unless you’ve got a watertight deletion and updating system, it’s all too easy to store email addresses that are out of date.
Email addresses are only valuable if you know there is someone on the end of them who wants to hear from you. There’s no point hanging on to old data - but there is every point in running a ‘keep in touch’ refresh campaign to re-engage with subscribers who are fading.
This blog is to give you ideas for fading subscriber campaigns, and also to give you the heads up on why you should also segment your subscribers by domain in order to improve open rates. Read on...
What is an out of date email?
The general rule of thumb is that emails deteriorate at about 15-25% a year. So emails sent to list of 1,000 email addresses freshly opted in for Christmas will only reach 750 - 850 inboxes by the time Santa next whistles Rudolf in for his physical.
Data policies give hard dates for ‘out of date’ but when people engage with your business and stay subscribed, the hard break date becomes softer. Before you know it there’s a long tail of ‘old’ emails from people you can still mail to - but the response rates may be really low.
As marketers, we all get a buzz when we see engagement rates pick up and unsubscribes fall away.
If you’ve got email addresses in your system that are just making up the numbers, you ought to take the plunge and let them go. It’s like going through your wardrobe throwing out clothes for the charity shop. You’re not sure if you want to do it but once the bags are full you’ve got more space and you can focus on the clothes you like to wear.
Why you must delete old Yahoo and BTInternet email addresses
An effective way to manage this season’s clear out is to have a domain-based clear-out too. Freemail domains and Yahoo! and BTInternet are top of the pile for a clear out.
Yahoo! and AOL were taken over by Verizon in 2018 and merged into a new company called Oath. Since then there’s been some housekeeping going on. BTInternet is a consumer provider in the UK using Yahoo as it’s email service and the cleaning up has reached BTInternet too.
If you’ve got some of those old email addresses in your data, one of two things will happen when you mail them;
- Your emails will bounce - engagement rates will be lower and your sender reputation might be damaged
- There’s a chance the email address might have been recycled and used by someone who didn’t opt in to receive your emails. You’ll either get no engagement or reported for spam. Both of which may harm your sender reputation.
The bottom line? Have a spring clean up. Segment your data by infrastructure provider and get rid of the old Yahoo and BTInternet emails you haven’t had a response from for a while.
Your data and your campaigns will look a whole lot better for it.