As my wife was preparing Christmas cards, she commented on how we are still sending cards to people we haven’t talked to in many years. Apparently, we add new peopleÂ but never seem to remove anyone.
Many companies take a similar approach with their e-mail list. They never think of proactively removing users. Why should they consider it? Because, in the end, it is the quality not the quantity of your list that is going to pay dividends.
If someone hasn’t opened one of your e-mails in a year, they aren’t providing any value. In fact, at some point, you risk that their indifference becomes annoyance and they report you as spam instead of simply unsubscribing. Furthermore, as ISPs are starting to use subscriber engagement (whether the recipient opens or clicks on an email), sending to the emotionally unsubscribed can damage your email reputation and negatively impact your ability to reach the inbox. Not to mention, a large group of recipients who you know will not respond makes it more difficult for you to truly measure the success of your program with those who are engaged and test improvements.
Simply focusing on the size of your list and not worrying about engagement doesn’t provide much value – just like someone who doesn’t care to receive your Christmas card anymore. In the end, you are much better having a smaller list of engaged consumers with whom you can develop a productive relationship.