How to Actively Manage Your Email Mailing List

by Karen J. Marchetti

1.  Create an Email Conversion Series and Follow-up Promptly with Web Inquiries to Maximize their Value

A recent study on web inquiry follow-up found what postal mailing list users have known for decades: the most recent names usually perform the best.

The study tracked sales results from names generated through a web inquiry form. Those names acquired within the last 30 days were compared to names acquired previously.

  • The most recent names — traditionally called the “hot line” for postal mailing lists — responded better.
  • In fact, response rates plummeted for names older than 30 days. And at older than 60 days, rates dropped even further.

2.  Track “Time on File” Within Your Marketing Database

It’s important to keep track of your own results by “time on file”, as every company’s results will be a little different.

  • Be sure to have a “first date on file” field to record the original date the name came on your file.
  • Tell your programmers not to over-write that date FOR ANY REASON.
  • You’ll want a “date of first purchase” field to be added when the prospect converts, but you want to retain the “first date on file” field as well.

Have a report run that shows you the number of names mailed, and the number of names converted to customers, by time on file. For example:

Time on file:                      # mailed:                     # converted to customers:

1-30 days

31-59 days

60-89 days

90-119 days

120-149 days

We found for one client that so few sales were made to names older than 90 days, that continuing to send email messages to names older than 90 days just didn’t make sense.

  • So we stepped up our efforts to convert prospects to customers in the first 90 days after first appearing on the mailing list.
  • After 90 days, we send a special ” Your last email from XYZ Company”, with a link to a simple preferences page, that allows them to opt-in to stay on the mailing list, otherwise they’re moved to inactive.

The lesson: have a continuous follow-up plan available, so web inquiries are emailed, postal mailed, or called as soon as possible.

  • The longer you wait to follow-up, the lower your response will be (and the higher the percentage will be of those prospects who have already purchased from your faster-follow-up competitors).