It happens to the best of us, we have an active email list, we keep it clean and healthy, apply all the right practices, we don’t over mail and we engage our subscribers.  We take suggestions and listen to all comments.  Our subscribers can always update their information as we have an easy to find landing page link on each email we send out, and still, we lose a percentage of our subscriber base.  AND over time, this number translates into real concern.  How concerned should you be with subscriber list churn?

Mathematically subscriber list churn is calculated as a fraction or ratio, usually stated as a percentage of list members unsubscribing from your list compared to those who remain over a set period of time: i.e.  A year. Of course there are other list abandonment issues factoring into this equation other than an unsubscribed address, these include those subscribers who permanently mark your email as spam or change their email address thereby avoiding any action on their part. .

Losing opted-in subscribers can affect your web experience whether you’re a marketer or a nonprofit organization, because as you know, everything is relative.  Essentially your membership list is proportional to the volume of your sales and/or the size of your donations.  List membership is dynamic; the actual number of lost members compared to list newbie’s may be difficult to ascertain especially if your website draws a large amount of daily activity.  So how do you minimize list churn: consider the following 12-Steps.

  1. Engage your readers with well-written free content.
  2. Offer discounts and specials.
  3. Be informative, appeal to the individual using personalization and triggered mailings.  Don’t just mail to mail.
  4. Email within the guidelines of email Best Practices.
  5. Provide an easy to find link on the bottom of each message to your subscribers’ profile page.
  6. Maintain your website by removing outdated materials and photos.  Fix broken links.
  7. Do not over mail and do not under mail. – setup a schedule and let your readers know when to expect to hear from you.
  8. Always send a welcome letter when someone subscribers.
  9. Send a goodbye letter with a place for comments.
  10. Consider the source of your list, are your members all opted-in or obtained by other means, such as using a list broker (bought or rented), from co-registration or an email append service.
  11. Keep your word, if they unsubscribe, remove them from your membership base.
  12. Link to your privacy policy or include a statement about privacy in your welcome letter.

In summary list churn can affect results of any email campaign.  It can interfere with your deliverability because of the tendency of not wanting to remove the unsubscribed addresses.  ISP’s will block your mail if you continue to send and resend to inactive or closed email accounts, or if your email is delivered and never opened.  List churn costs money because it hinders growth and takes up resources.  So follow the 12-steps and reduce the list churn concern.

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