Last week, in a message to my subscribers, I talked about how I’m building my email list as a main strategy to develop my coaching and consulting business. And how the same activities and tools I’m using can and should also be used by nonprofits to expand their communities and attract more people to support their mission.
There’s another aspect to list building that is just as important as attracting the right people and that is releasing the wrong people. Letting go of the wrong people is an important concept for nonprofits in many respects: board development, volunteer management, partnerships, and funding sources, to name a few. And, in terms of email lists, the “wrong people” are the folks who don’t open and read the organization’s emails.
It may seem harmless to keep people on a list in the hopes that *someday* they might open a message but all those non-openers (or cold subscribers) actually work against the sender.
The lower the open rate, the more likely a sender is to get flagged as spam or bounced. When subscribers open and click in emails, it sends positive “signals to Google, Yahoo, Outlook, and other providers that your content is good quality and that your IP can be trusted1.”
So, to improve my deliverability, this past Friday I scrubbed my list. I needed to delete about 30 cold subscribers (I notified them in advance and gave them two opportunities to stay subscribed). It was a surprisingly painful task because it ran counter to all of my efforts to increase the list. However, in the interest of good list hygiene and to increase the deliverability of future emails, it had to be done.
I reminded myself that list-building is an ongoing process. Clearing out the ghosts of subscribers past, makes room for better engagement in the future. Plus, continuously providing opportunities for people to opt-in to a mailing list means that some cold subscribers may find their way back eventually. And, since a reported 30% of subscribers change their email address annually, they may resubscribe with a better address.
To learn more about list-building for nonprofits (that isn’t complicated or costly), register for the upcoming free List-Building Bootcamp and download the Top Four List-Building Tools for Nonprofits.
Below are two additional articles about list management and deliverability.
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