Most dealerships are actively trying to collect email addresses from their prospects and customers because email marketing continues to be one of the most cost-effective marketing options there is.
But as your email list grows, it is important to know that bigger isn’t better.
In Acxiom’s report: “Email Marketing and Mobile Devices: A Survey of Consumer Habits and Perceptions – 2013,” they found:
- Nearly 49% of respondents have email accounts for messages they rarely intend to open.
- 38% have two personal email accounts
- 21% have three accounts
You obviously want to be offering email content that justifies people giving you their primary email address, but even then, as your list grows your open rates will decrease as you inevitably add inactive email addresses. While having inactive email accounts on your list wasn’t a big deal 10 years ago, now it is a game changer. These days you need to be actively managing your email list.
Email companies such as Yahoo, Gmail, etc., are looking at your list’s engagement rate when trying to determine whether or not to deliver your email to the inbox or the spam folder. If people aren’t opening and clicking on your email, you may find your emails getting delivered to the spam folder rather than the inbox.
Here’s an example of the impact cleaning out inactive subscribers can have.
We had a newsletter client with a low open rate. Typically, we like to see an open rate of at least 25%. We did a list analysis of their database which had about 13,000 contacts. It turned out that almost a third of the list were prospects (we usually email just customers, not prospects). The prospects on the list were pretty easy to identify, not just because they were missing a customer number, etc., but because their open rate was so low.
We sent a re-engagement email to the inactive prospects and moved the non-responders off the list. Here’s a comparison of what happened.
- Initially emailed 13178 newsletters with 1976 unique opens which is a 15% open rate.
- After removing the inactive prospects, we emailed 9548 newsletters with 2504 unique opens which is a 26% open rate.
The important metric in this example is not just that the open rate went up, but that the number of actual opens increased by more than 500 while sending 3630 fewer emails. As an added bonus, the client also reduced their newsletter fee since we bill by the number of emails sent.
Here are a few implementation ideas:
1. Keep prospecting emails in your prospecting campaigns.
2. Keep customer emails in your customer retention / newsletter campaigns.
3. For both lists, if a person hasn’t opened an email in 6 months, they probably are not going to. Try sending a re-engagement campaign or contact them by phone for an updated email address and if that doesn’t work, move them off the list.