Even though the “experts” have decried the death of e-mail marketing for years, the fact is e-mail marketing is alive and well, and more profitable than ever.
But things have changed and if you’re not aware of these changes not only could you be losing money, you could be hurting your business reputation.
E-mail marketing 101 – mailing list hygiene:
So maybe you spent the last few years building a huge mailing list, or perhaps you’re just getting started, either way it’s an uphill battle.
Look let’s be honest unless you’ve got a killer offer, and frankly most people don’t, it’s hard to convince people to give you their e-mail address. 10 or 12 years ago e-mail was a novelty people couldn’t wait to hear their computer say “You’ve got mail!”
But these days most people are more selective about who they give their e-mail address to because people are just too wary getting flooded with spam. And with the explosion of online e-mail providers and the ease at which you can get a new e-mail address, “disposable e-mail accounts” makeup and estimated 20 to 30 % of all free e-mail accounts.
What this means is that the e-mail addresses on your list are going bad faster than ever before.
In fact, there’s a good chance that at least 20% of the names on your list are dead right now.
And if you look at data based from Marketing Sherpa, they estimate that for every 1000 names that you add to your mailing lists, you could easily lose up to 50% of those within just four months.
Now there’s a number of reasons why e-mail addresses on your lists go bad.
Today we’re going to look at the top three
#1. Typos or formatting problems in email addresses.
These are e-mail addresses that are malformed due to bad data entry or that have been somehow corrupted in some way in your database.
Here are some examples
Malformed address / Corrected address
firstname.lastname@example.org — email@example.com
firstname.lastname@example.org — email@example.com
firstname.lastname@example.org — email@example.com
firstname.lastname@example.org — email@example.com
goetz@a0..com — firstname.lastname@example.org
#2. Dead domains
These typically are from websites or providers that have gone out of business or from domains that are no longer active.
The problem with these sort of addresses is that when you send to them they don’t even bounce back. It’s like your mailing into a black hole.
TowerData estimates that about 15% of bad e-mail addresses on the average list are a result of dead or invalid domains
#3. Address Changes
TowerData also discovered that a about 83% of bad e-mail addresses on a typical list are a result of address changes.
The reason people change e-mail addresses can range from having a job change, switching service providers or just dumping an address because it’s getting spammed.
So what does this mean to you if you’re using e-mail to sell your products or services?
It means that you have to take a pro active approach to cleaning your lists of, bad data, undeliverable addresses, bounced e-mail addresses, and people who no longer want to get mail from you.
Because when you send mail to a dirty lists several things start happening automatically.
Number 1: Your spam sender score goes up, making it harder and harder for you to actually get mail that you send delivered.
- You risk generating a unit lot of spam complaints which in turn will cause your e-mail provider to cancel your account.
- You risk having your domain IP banned which means you can’t send mail into certain networks like Yahoo.com, roadrunner.com, etc.
- You also open yourself up to potential litigation from both individuals on your list, who don’t want to be or service providers whose network you’re sending mail into.
The bottom line is you can’t just collect addresses and be done with it. A profitable e-mail list requires maintenance on a weekly basis. The larger your list is the more important this is.
Marketing Sherpa has some great suggestions on how to prevent the e-mail addresses on your list from going bad, and how to clean your lists of any bad addresses.