A mailing list dies a slow but steady death if appropriate action isn’t taken from time to time. For most companies, fifty percent of their subscribers leave them every year - we call it list churn and you have to monitor it closely. Everyone uses metrics such as clicks, conversions and open rates in order to measure their email marketing strategy. But they fail to control the size and quality of their mailing list. The email list hurdle rate is the new metric to be considered, along with the other old ones, in order to keep the list growing.

The email list hurdle rate determines the loss rate from the email list which needs to be overcome for the list to grow. It gives the exact number of new subscribers to be attracted in order to replace the old ones which have left the list. The other stumbling blocks to be tackled are list churn and list fatigue.

Monitor list churn rates to improve your Email Marketing Strategy

List churn is the percentage of subscribers who have left the list during a specific period of time. This is measured either monthly or annually. Out of this only three percent are people who have unsubscribed from the list. Another thirty percent constitute of email addresses that have been lost to hard bounces every year. The subscribers can either enter their email address incorrectly when signing up, or the email addresses might no longer be valid, causing the emails to bounce. The rest of the people are those who have reported spam complaints. Even the most prominent legitimate permission marketers get spam complaints.

The list churn rate can be calculated monthly by looking at the results of your email marketing strategy. The yearly lost subscribers can be calculated by adding up the number of unsubscribed, hard bounces, and spam complaints. The total should then be divided by the current size of the list to find out the list hurdle rate. Calculation of the list hurdle rate is essential for the annual planning process and for forecasting the revenues. If this metric is not considered, a lot of explanation is due to your boss if you fail to achieve the required list growth goal. The list churn rate can be improved by reducing the number of spam complaints and bounces.

Understanding list fatigue and how it affects your email marketing strategy

List fatigue deals with the subscribers on the email list, which have become inactive for a while. These people haven’t unsubscribed, but have stopped reading the emails and interaction. Therefore the unsubscription rate cannot give a clear picture of how the readers feel about the company’s emails. The most common cause of list fatigue is irrelevant offers, over mailing and newsletter content, which does not deal with the interest of the reader.

The percentage of the inactive subscribers should be calculated to figure out the list fatigue. People who haven’t clicked or opened not even a single email over a certain period should be counted. Usually thirty to fifty percent of an email list becomes inactive annually. There can be a variety of reasons why these people are receiving your emails but are not unsubscribing. A major reason is that your mail can be going directly to their 'Promotion' or 'Spam' folder or because your un-subscription link isn’t working. So there can be a possibility that out of the fifty percent, forty percent are inactive and the rest ten percent are busy, on vacation, or just not motivated enough by the subject line or email content. Small surveys can be conducted to understand the changing needs of the subscribers.

These sleeping subscribers need to be activated from time to time by giving them exciting content such as special offers, different newsletter outlook, interactive tools, etc. On one hand the old subscribers must be re-energized and on the other, new subscribers must be added from time to time. Otherwise the list gets shorter and shorter. Resources must be obtained and plans must be established in order to reach the targeted list growth rates. The ratio of inactive subscribers must also be reduced and slowed down. Hope this article helps you while you formulate your email marketing strategy!