Cut the Fat: 3 places to trim down your email list
Email Service Providers (ESP's) typically charge you a monthly fee based on the size of your subscriber database. This pricing method forces you to keep tabs on your lists, or you will find yourself "upgrading" to the next price tier. With most ESP's, once you hit the 5,000 subscriber mark, the prices go up considerably.
But this pricing method can work to your benefit as well. For example, you can cut some subscribers loose and drop down to a lower price tier.
Don't fall victim to "quantity over quality"
Many companies want to have as large a list as possible. They think the more people they send their campaigns to, the higher the likelihood someone will respond.
But a large list isn't what drives ROI. It's all about sending relevant and actionable emails to subscribers who want to receive them. Those subscribers are the ones that make you money every time you send a campaign. Everybody else on your list is costing you money.
Cut the fat from your email list
You need to review your subscriber base and find those names that are making you money, not costing you money. Look at the following three areas to trim down your lists:
1) Bounces & Unsubscribes
Not all ESP's will remove bounced addresses...they want to ensure the addresses don't get re-imported. The same goes for unsubscribed addresses. However, if your lists are pretty seasoned and you're confident you won't be re-importing bounces or unsubscribes accidentally, it's safe to delete them.
2) Specialty lists
Let's say you hosted an event or contest, and brought in a bunch of new addresses. Your primary goal for these should be to turn them into your normal list through some type of follow-up campaign. Once you've done this, however, you can drop everybody else from your subscriber database.
Part of your email marketing strategy should be to target non-responders and ensure they either unsubscribe or are pruned from your lists. Why? Because you'll boost your open rates and sender reputation. You'll also be able to use feedback from non-responder campaigns to find new ways to target your audience. For example, you might have a % of subscribers who don't read your emails, but follow you on every single social network. Maybe instead of removing them as "dead weight," you put them into a separate file as a "social contact".
By trimming the fat out of your email database, you will save room in your plans for those subscribers who are actually interested in what you have to say...the ones that make you money. So before your next monthly billing cycle or credit-based campaign, take a look at your email lists, cut the fat, and put a plan in place to review them regularly. (Read more about dead weight email campaigns)
(h/t to Dewane Mutunga for the image idea, she's slightly more appealing than bacon for the "cut the fat" reference, don't you agree?)