You probably are familiar with the concept of List Hygiene? Well, this simply means the process of getting rid of inactive users from your mailing list. However, the word ‘inactive’ may mean different things, depending on the email type and industry.
For example, in the employment industry, you can only consider someone ‘inactive’ after six months or more. So, a job seeker who has not clicked on or opened a piece of email from your brand for over six months is INACTIVE.
Conversely, the INACTIVE PERIOD for a brand like Pinterest could be up to 12 months, considering that we have winter-only users who use the brand to source for outfit ideas for their annual end-of-the-year office galas.
From these instances, it is clear that there is no absolute definition of the term ‘inactive’ when it comes to email marketing. But it is important to be able to tell the CRM to get rid of inactive users. After all, a push-back is imminent, as many consider each email address a potential revenue source.
As tempting as it may be, avoid retaining a large population of inactive users on your list. The potential revenue is enormous, but the risks are more significant. This is because:
- Old email addresses with zero activity after 12 months are converted into spam traps. If your ISP sees you hitting several traps, your domain reputation and IP will be adversely affected.
- Engagement is crucial to inbox placement by ISPs. If the ISP discovers that a significant number of email addresses on your list have zero open rates over 12 months, they conclude that your list is not healthy enough. The implication is a heavy spam foldering.
You will get a decent engagement rate if you are sending emails to recipients that really wanted it. Zero engagement means these recipients are not opening your emails, perhaps due to a lack of interest. Keeping these recipients on your list may appear to be a smart profit move, but the risks are greater.
If you continue to send them these emails, they may get frustrated and flag your emails as spam. Your reputation is at stake, so you should avoid a high complaint rate. Plus, even if these subscribers may open an email after 12 months of inactivity, chances are you are hitting a trap more dangerous than the potential revenue the user could bring.