Defining removing-inactives


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Guidance from LeadSpend on how to properly identify and remove inactive email addresses from your database. Importantly, avoid eliminating valuable leads and customers during regularly scheduled list hygiene exercises. Improve your sender reputation, inbox placement rate, and email marketing performance using this worksheet.

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Defining removing-inactives

  1. 1. These days, it seems Zombies are everywhere. While Brad Pitt battles zombies on the big screen in World War Z, email marketers are also quietly waging war against the "undead." That is, the unengaged and inactive subscribers who clog marketers' lists and never engage with marketing emails.This war is also fought with judges: those pesky ISPs and mail servers that allocate a score based on senders' results. Kill more zombies, improve your score, and receive all the glory of higher Inbox Placement Rates! It is no wonder marketers everywhere are geared up for the slaughter of zombies! The unfortunate by-product of this war on zombies is the removal of innocent subscribers who may appear to be zombies, but are very much alive. In Max Brooks's novel, World War Z, a "quisling" is a human that begins acting like a zombie. Take for example, customers who read their email on their mobile device or use Gmail with images disabled by default. They never register an open, but still enjoy the steady rhythm of your mail and are active customers on your website. Removing them comes at a significant price: the loss of a human customer! The simplest definition of an inactive subscriber is someone who no longer reads your email, but hasn't yet taken action to stop receiving it. Knowing exactly who is reading your email is impossible. Open and click measurements are clearly not perfect-sometimes over-represented and sometimes under-represented- depending on the situation. Plus, currently, there is no way to measure views in the customer's inbox (emails that haven't been opened but are still acknowledged by the subscriber). So, you don't really know who is acting with your email, and who isn't. CATER Compared to other channels, sending email is relatively inexpensive, so there is little incentive to remove inactive subscribers beyond solving for deliverability challenges. And while removing inactive addresses may help deliverability in the short term, increasing engagement through better email marketing is the only effective long-term solution. Marketers need to avoid unnecessarily removing active subscribers. If you aren't experiencing deliverability challenges, then you should never throwaway a perfectly deliverable email address. If you are experiencing deliverability challenges related to low engagement, then the goal should be to cut only as many addresses as necessary, but not more. First, focus on the most egregious and least valuable inactive subscribers at domains where your reputation is negatively affected. You might define these ----------------------------------------------------~------
  2. 2. as subscribers who have never opened or clicked, made a purchase, visited your website, or positively interacted with your brand via social media. After you remove those, measure the effect on deliverability and revenue. If the results are negligible, then move on to the subscribers that haven't opened or clicked in 12 months, made a purchase, visited your website or interacted with your brand in social media in 12 months. And so on until deliverability improves. Segmenting inactive subscribers by channel also informs your win-back program, both in terms of the content of your message and the channel of delivery. For example, if a customer has visited your website within the last six months, but hasn't engaged with your email for 12 months, then you can attempt an "intercept" on the web- site. The message might ask the subscriber to visit your preference center where he or she can choose how they want to be communicated with, and how often. Allowing your users to select their preferences not only illustrates your attentiveness to their needs and desires, but also keeps you from eliminating a valuable quisling! You can view the post at: www./ ----------------------------------------------------~------
  3. 3. HERE IS A SIMPLE EXERCISE THAT MARKETERS CAN USE TO DEFINE INACTIVE SUBSCRIBERS, AND MAKE CUTS AS NECESSARY: At which domain? Are your deliverability challenges at that domain related to low engagement rates? 2. Date of last email activity; create sub-segments: Don't remove anyone. Don't remove anyone. Proceed to defining Inactive segments. 1. Domain: Identify addresses at the domains where you are experiencing deliverability challenges first. No historical activity No activity within 12 months No activity within 6 months Activity within 6 months Yahoo! J Hotmail Gmail AOL You can view the post at: www./ ----------------------------------------------------~------
  4. 4. 3. Date oflast purchase; create sub-segments: 4. Customer segments (if available); create sub-segments: 5. Date oflast website visit; create sub-segments: 6. Date of last social media activity; create sub-segments: No recorded purchases No recorded purchases within 12 months No recorded purchases within 6 months Recorded purchase within 6 months Least valuable customer segment Mid-level customer segment Top-level customer segment No website visit ever No website visit within 12 months No website visit within 6 months Website visit within 6 months No social activity ever No social activity within the last 12 months No social activity within the last 6 months Social activity within the last 6 months You can view the post at: www./ ----------------------------------------------------~------
  5. 5. IJ Removing Segments Segment 1: Domains: Yahoo!, Gmail, AOL, and/or Hotmail + I No historical email activity recorded + No historical purchases + Least valuable customer segment + No website activity + No social media activity. The success of your program will be defined by: .... ..... III"""" III"""" You can view the post at: www./ If deliverability challenges subside, then move on. If not, then remove the next least valuable segment. Improved deliverability metrics, especially Inbox Placement Rate, at the domains in question. No degradation in revenue from your email program. If neither success metric is realized, then stop and reevaluate.