rather have a huge mailing list of potential contacts who might one day become
clients and who occasionally read what you send them, or a small mailing list
of fans, who read your email newsletter every month?
which I'd rather have, which is why we've recently done a big clean up of the Scribbles mailing list. If you're still on it, it's because you opened the
last email I sent without deleting it and you didn't unsubscribe. If you're still on the list and you'd rather not
be, just click the link in the box on the right that says 'Still Scribbling?' and you'll help make my list smaller and more targeted.
Read on if
you'd like to know why I like it when people delete my emails.
Please Delete This Email!
publishing Scribbles as an email newsletter in July 2004. My mailing list
had 250 people on it – people I'd met at networking meetings or who I'd spoken to. The open
rate of the first issue I published was 100%. Yes, everyone opened it! This was probably out of curiosity and is something I see a lot with first issues.
high open rate continued for some time – it remained over 80% for
nearly two years. By then, the list had doubled in size. It's
continued to grow ever since and when I published the October 2013 issue, it
contained over 1600 contacts.
that my mailing list has grown. It's a sign that I keep meeting potential clients
and referrers; it means the sign up form on my website is working. This is
all good news, isn't it?
would be, until you look at the open rate of my newsletter. That's been in steady
decline for the last few years and dropped as low as 25% this summer. Even the
special issue that invited all our clients to our 13th Birthday Party, was only opened by 53% of those who received it.
pattern is something we're seeing with most (but not all) of the email newsletters
that we write and publish for clients. Over time, as the mailing list
grows, the open rate declines.
get bored of reading what you send? Do you change what you write so that it's
no longer relevant to them? Do your readers change their email addresses or
even go out of business? Do your emails get caught by the new Google Mail trap?
people, it's hard to tell. A few years ago I changed the way I wrote
Scribbles. Instead of filling the newsletter with 'how to' marketing tips, I wrote more about the 'why' of marketing. A couple of
people unsubscribed, telling me they no longer found it
useful. Never mind! They were the sort of people I was hoping would leave my
about all those people who don't read what you send and who don't bother to
unsubscribe? Last month we sent out a plain text email,
inviting you to unsubscribe if you want to. And a number did! Most of
them I didn't even know (or couldn't remember!) so I wasn't too sad to see them
go. Anyone who deleted the email without even opening it was removed from the list. A
number of emails bounced back to us and they were removed too.
We've also gone through the list and deleted anyone who hasn't opened the
newsletter in 2013. I guess they're not interested in hearing from us any more!
But there are
still many people on my list who aren't opening the newsletter, so we'll keep
working on the clean up.
How is your
mailing list looking? How are you getting through to your contacts?