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BLOGEmail List Quality

by Randall CraigFiled in: Make It Happen Tipsheet, Blog, Engagement

If there is one thing that digital marketers like to do, is boast about the size of their list. They track the number of subscribers, the number of unsubscribes, the bounce rate, open rate, the click-through rate, the conversion rate, and of course, the growth rate of the list itself.

Yet, is there merit in reducing the size of the list? Maybe.

Email List Quality

Jack Welch, the former CEO of General Electric, is regarded as one of the most successful business minds of all time. At one time, he held that the bottom 10% performers across his business should be fired, and replaced with new people. The reasoning was that since they were at the very bottom they weren’t adding that much value, and new hires, would include a decent distribution of both average and star performers.

Putting aside some of the downsides of this strategy, the concept absolutely applies to email lists. What if you could identify the bottom 10%, and do something different with them?

The algorithm to identify them would need to take into a number of factors: how long they have been on the list, the source of the subscription, the geography, whether the email address was a corporate one or a gmail/hotmail/yahoo address, whether they have ever opened an email, clicked a link, attended an event or made a purchase, and so on.

Once this bottom 10% was identified, instead of “firing” them à la Jack Welch, maybe a better approach would be to change the nature of the content that you send to them. After all, they haven’t been engaging with what you’ve sent them before. Here are some ideas:

  • A Whitepaper or eBook
  • A quiz that allows them to better identify their interests
  • A request to participate in a “real world” market research initiative (focus group or interview)
  • An invite for a one-on-one “ask me anything” call
  • An assessment or toolkit in your area of expertise
  • A significant product discount (or a significant free trial)
  • A request to click on the link to keep subscribing

If they do take advantage of any of these re-engagement offers, then they can re-join the main list and continue to receive the newsletter. If they don’t, then after a period of time, then they should be removed completely.

This week’s action plan:

The idea of segmenting your list is not new, but rarely is a list segmented by engagement. This week, explore both the algorithm to identify the bottom 10%, and the “offer” that will get them to re-engage.

Engagement insight: This same concept works with the top 10% of your list. The question here, however, is more complex. Clearly they are engaging because they like what you are sending them; you don’t want to change what works. But on the other hand, there is an opportunity that is being missed if you don’t do anything. Here’s the question: As their trust in you is exceptionally high, what else might they be interested in? Here’s the answer: Ask them! Send them a special email letting them know that you value their connection, and would appreciate their insights on their interests.

Does this topic resonate? Reach out to Randall: he can present it to your group.  (More presentation topics)
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