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What To Do With A Mailing List That Has Been Growing For Years?
Posted 04 June 2008 - 05:30 PM
We have a HUGE email list that we have collected on our site, op-in, all legal and ethical. However, this list has been building for about 7 years without anything being done with it. Now the powers that be want to leverage this huge list into a mailing list with regular distributions.
Problem is, anything over a year old will probably be bad (customer forgot he/she signed up on site) and we don't have signup dates associated with the email addresses. So if we send out a message in order to cleanse the list, we will be most definitely get busted for spam and also put our email distribution vendor in trouble too.
I was thinking perhaps the best way to approach this issue would be to double opt-in all subscribers, and upload the list entirely as unvalidated... but that will probably kill off 99% of the list.
Posted 06 June 2008 - 10:19 AM
Use software that can track what gets opened and what doesnt as many of them probably do not exist anymore anyway and you will be paying for emails with no end user. Then go through these contacts that do not open and see who they are, remove them or check out thier website etc and contact them personally informing them of the situation if you think they may be interested in your new version of the newsletter perhaps.
my 2 cents
Posted 06 June 2008 - 11:33 AM
Your next campaign, send a separate one to the leads who didn't open it the first time. Then remove them if you'd like. Chances are, some of them may reply to you or come back in a couple of weeks or a month. Send these messages wi as little embedded coding, images or HTML styling as possible. It'll ensure better deliverabitly.
It's not good to waste money sending emails to non-existent email addresses. But it's a bigger waste deleting addresses that still work.
Posted 06 June 2008 - 12:00 PM
First you're probably going to find that 30% aren't valid email addresses anymore if you have a way to track bounces. That's an artibtrary figure, but is based upon some automated mail some of my sites send out just a year after the fact to people who actually purchased a subscription from me. The mail I send out is just a notificatoin email that their annual subscrition is due to expire in the next 30 days, and gives them a special non-public page location to get themselves some discounts if they renew. Depending upon the site these automated emails fail because of a bounce between 1/4 and 1/3 of the time.
Then you've got the whole other issue. That being how many people who are still at the same email address actually want to be on your list?
I'd probably make a test mailing first and include a very visible and very prominent Opt Out option. Higher up in the email than is normally seen. Above the fold preferrably, or just below it. And I'd make sure each of those opt out requests was honored.
Even with this you have to be careful. I wouldn't recommend doing it from your own server. The chances of any/all email from your site or server getting blocked by the major ISPs (AOL, Hotmai, Yahoo) is very real. So you'll definitely want to send it through one of the reputable bulk mailing services out there. In fact, I'd be willing to bet if you contacted one or two of those they'd be able to tell you what their policies are in such a situation, and give you a good strategy to end up with a great and clean list. I can guarantee you they've seen it before.
Regardless, expect to lose a large percentage of the list. Because you will. If I had to guess, you'll lose somewhere between 50% and 80%. So base your decisions on this much smaller number.
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