When the new year hits, the cleaning bug starts to go around. Clients want to make things organized, and simpler, and that includes pruning their email lists. When you take a look at your own open rates, you may see things like 20% or 30% open rates. This is totally normal and actually good in the scheme of things. (Read: What is a good open rate for emails?)
This brings up what to do with folks that haven’t opened your emails in months… or maybe years. They probably are not interested in your updates and have routed your messages straight to trash. As much as you may want to think maybe they will read your next message, think about all the emails you get and if you open them all or even care to read past the subject line. It’s really tough to break through the noise unless the people on your list actually care about what you’re sending to them. It’s best to remove them to clean up your list and in return save you money!
In Mailchimp, you can filter out folks that aren’t opening your messages in a few ways. You can see people who haven’t opened ‘all’ of the last 5, 10, 20 or 50 campaigns. Depending on the frequency that you send campaigns, this could mean over a few months or a few years that they didn’t open an email. And don’t worry, if someone did open a campaign during that time, that email will be filtered out. You can also try their ‘rating’ system to filter out the lower-rated contacts, although, I don’t find it very dependable as I’ve seen folks that have never opened an email be rated 2 stars.
I’ve tried this on a handful of clients’ lists, and I typically see with the ‘who haven’t opened all of the last 20 or 50 campaigns’ filter, it can be up to 30% of the list! Depending on the total of your list, that can be a big chunk that you’re paying for that’s not even opening your emails! Trust me, it’s not worth holding onto.
In order to feel like you’ve done your due diligence to make sure these emails don’t want to be on your list, I recommend sending a ‘re-engagement message’. This is a hail-mary, last-call email that you send to these people who haven’t opened a message in a while, asking them once and for all if they would like to stay on your email list.
It can look like this:
Subject line: I miss you.
It’s been a while since you last opened one of my emails. Do you still want to hear from me?
If so, please reply to this email with a “YES”.
Otherwise, I’ll assume you’d prefer to not hear from me and I’ll remove you from my mailing list. No hard feelings.
I’ve also seen clients offer to send free merch, CDs or coupons to their store for ‘rejoining’ the list. It could very well sway a subscriber to stay.
If not, don’t feel discouraged. As said before, this will save you money and also bring you closer to the true, committed fans that you will enjoy connecting with!
Cheers to that,