At Thrust Labs, we’ve always been big fans of email marketing and newsletters, but we don’t always practice what we preach. Sending out regular communications takes work, and it’s easy to push it to a long series of tomorrows. In fact, we had one old email list with thousands of subscribers that we recently decided to reactivate after more than a year and a half of dormancy!
That’s right, a year and a half of zero communications. Frankly, I thought we were going to be flagged as spammers, but check this out: out of a 3580-member list, we ended up with an open rate of 35% and less than 40 opt outs!
Now, it’s super-important to remember that these are people who haven’t gotten an email in over a year and a half. In fact, many of them would have signed up shortly after the last mailing, which means they’ve been on a list for 18 months and have never heard from us.
That’s what makes the next part so cool:
I wrote the email as a personal letter, so from me as opposed to from a company (there was branding, but it was my name at the end of the mail.) And just for fun I asked people to hit reply and tell me what they wanted out of the website.
Here’s a warning: if you tell people to do something, many of them will. I’m still digging my way out of the inbox mayhem that I caused, but at last count about 80 people replied personally to me in response to the mailing, for a reply rate of 2.2% that made me wish I had something for sale in that email…
(In fact, one of the subscribers did go to the site and buy something through an ad for some in-house products, which more than paid for my time setting up the mailing.)
We’re moving forward with weekly or bi-weekly mailings, and we’ll probably start gathering stats on the active users and trimming out the ones who never respond so we can boost the open rate for later sponsorship opportunities, but all in all it was a very pleasant surprise for an asset we though was completely devalued!
- Even if you have no idea what your emails will eventually be about, start collecting visitor information now. As you saw in this test, people waited a long time for that mail and were still happy to get it.
- Don’t discount old lists! Sure, they might not perform as well as newer ones, but those leads have already been paid for, so your reactivation costs are going to be much lower than the cost of getting new subscribers.
If you aren’t collecting visitor email addresses, even if you don’t have a plan in place on what to do with them, please get in touch! Thrust Labs doesn’t build mailing systems but we can recommend several and assist with the installation so you can start building deeper relationships across multiple touch points with your audience.
Photo by ell brown