Does Size Matter?
In the 1960s companies first had access to sufficient and affordable computing power to start automating and managing customer lists. The catalog business entered a new era with the ability to merge and purge mailing lists while tracking different customer types. This was important because of the added printing and postage costs of mailings.
Today’s businesses have the best of both worlds available to them. With the cost of individual emails being only pennies, businesses can keep a huge list of names and contact anyone on the list frequently with minimal costs. In fact, many of the Internet marketing gurus talk about the gold to be found in a company’s email list and encourage building the largest list possible. As a result, much effort is expended to collect new email addresses and add them to an existing list.
Many companies are now learning to be as sensitive to the quality of their list as to its quantity. They are finding that, like their predecessor catalog mailers, there are costs to keeping deadweight in their lists. While it can be deceptive to not have postage and printing to worry about, companies with a large number of dead addresses or unopened emails can pay a heavy price by having their email or ISP suspected of spam.
The Importance of Quality
Many email services and other vendors pay attention to the emails that flood the web. With an estimated 144 billion emails a day being generated, controlling those that are not from dependable sources is a constant battle. The tools used to identify worthless emails continue to evolve and are more sophisticated in evaluating what emails get opened, who is sending emails to addresses no one uses anymore, and how many users are bouncing emails as unwanted. The cumulative impact of these metrics can identify a company as a suspect emailer.
Aside from regulatory concerns, a polluted list distracts from your ability to accurately measure the results of your email strategy. Closely monitoring email metrics is essential to improving and maximizing your efforts in this area. As companies improve your ability to target email more effectively, starting with a clean and segmented list is increasingly important.
How to Use the Right Strategy
If you are a local business, you know when someone takes the time to fill out a card to give you an email address, it starts off as a valid name on your list. However, people move and change emails frequently. It is rare they will take the time to let you know that an email address is no longer a valid recipient of your mailings. They simply become more clutter on the list and one more address lowering your open percentages.
All of this mystifies many small business owners. They have a website and are sending out emails, so they are lulled into thinking they are doing things right. In reality, the market continues to evolve so quickly that they need to sit at least a couple of times a year with local digital marketing resources to ensure that their own digital strategy is on target.