Essence of Email Blog
Strategic Email Marketing

How Inactive Subscribers Affect Email Deliverability

The Importance of Deliverability

Deliverability is the broad term used to refer to the ability of your emails to actually land in the inbox (versus being blocked or ending up in the spam folder). It is key to a successful email marketing strategy. After all, subscribers can’t click on your emails if they never receive them.

At Essence of Email, we keep track of our clients’ email deliverability rates and continuously improve them by taking different actions to improve their sender reputation, subscriber engagement, and ultimately their email deliverability. We’ll help our clients’ emails reach the right inbox and increase their email ROI by getting more email delivered to most of your subscribers.

Factors that Determine Email Deliverability:

• User engagement – the number of contacts which are engaging with your emails (opening, clicking, starring, whitelisting)
• Spam complaints – how many users are marking your emails as spam
• Spam traps – these are basically the virtual equivalent of a “landmine”. If you “hit” a spam trap, your inboxing will immediately tank, sometimes taking quite a while to recover

Inactive Subscribers and Deliverability:

The standard best practice is to keep a “clean” list of engaged, active contacts. But why don’t you just keep sending to your entire email house file? After all, it’s “free” marketing, right? And if you can get more eyes on your campaigns, that’s better than fewer, no?

Here are a few several reasons why your email subscribers may become inactive:
• You’re emailing too much
• Your emails are hitting the spam folder
• You are not emailing enough, so they’ve forgotten who you are
• You didn’t set correct expectations regarding frequency, type of content, or even opt-in
• Your emails are not relevant
• Your contact has abandoned that email address

The main reason why you want to stop sending to a large group of inactive contacts is, again, deliverability.

How Sending to a Large Group of Inactive Subscribers Can Hurt Your Email Marketing:

1. The fact that your inactive subscribers are not engaging with your email content is sending a strong signal to ISPs (Gmail, Yahoo!, Hotmail, etc.) to devalue your email because of the low engagement. This, in turn, hurts your chances to get inboxed.

2. Continuously bombarding contacts who don’t want to receive your emails will increase the number of spam complaints you’ll get. While many contacts will take the time to unsubscribe from your emails (which doesn’t count against you in terms of deliverability), a good portion of your list will simply mark your emails as spam (which does hurt you). By clearing out the contacts who don’t want to be receiving your emails, you will reduce your complaint ratio.

3. Some ISPs will take very old, inactive email accounts and turn them into spam traps. You don’t want to hit a spam trap and heavily penalize your deliverability. If you are sending to a list of very inactive email addresses, you are taking this risk.

Additional Reasons to Clean Your List:

• You are getting low bang-for-your-buck with the inactive contacts, as sending to them raises your CPM costs without much revenue to show for it
• Over-sending to inactives can hurt your brand perception if you are annoying your contacts

Wrap Up

Deliverability and list cleaning are important aspects of your email marketing, but no matter how neglected your list is there is a chance to be saved. Book your free consultation with one of our team members to find out how we can help your email marketing.