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Guess what? If your company sent out a commercial email today, there is a good chance that some of those emails went to dead people. Not just “inactives” or “unengaged subscribers” or whatever term-du-jour we want to use, but real, bona fide stiffs. People who, God willing, are looking down from heaven and wondering, “What else do I need to do to stop getting emails from those people?”
Inactive subscribers are a reality that all responsible email marketers need to contend with. However, marketers are understandably hesitant to purge those email addresses from their lists, which is why I recently found myself wondering, “How much money has been wasted marketing to dead people this year?”
Being both inquisitive and up for a research challenge, I decided to check it out. I cross-referenced statistics from the U.S. Center for Disease Control with statistics from Pew Internet and some statistics on email penetration I have compiled over the years to find out. Per my calculations, approximately 0.7% of the average email marketer’s list will pass away each year. Do your own math. There are approximately 7 dead people on your list for every 1,000 inactive email addresses. Put another way, for every 100,000 email addresses on your list, 2 pass away each and every day.
Okay, so maybe I am a little strange? Or morbid? Or maybe I have simply been trying to come up with new ways to make the point that marketing to inactive subscribers is a waste of money? But the irony of marketing to dead people tends to make the point.
Fortunately, there are effective tactics for re-engaging inactive subscribers. Here are a few of the things we recommend to clients looking at their dormant subscribers:
1) Don’t take it personally. I find most marketers immediately think the reason subscribers become inactive is because there is a problem with their program. Truth be told, sometimes it does, but there are a lot of reasons subscribers become unengaged that have nothing to do with your program. They may have switched their focus to a new email address. Maybe they moved on to a new stage of life – they got married, or their children moved out of the house? Or maybe they ate the salmon mousse?
Originally from “Reviving The Dead” | Published November 10, 2010