Money for Nothing & Lists for Free

By OctaneGo, June 15, 2011 | Tips & Resources

How many times have you heard the good old phrase – “money cannot buy you happiness”? And how many times have you heard that “it’s not about quantity rather quality”. A million times we are assuming, and we also assume you do not wish to be reminded about the same one million and one times. Well bear with us and kindly let us do that, remind you just this one last time in this blog. We can assure you that it is for your benefit and there is a reason why a cliche is called so, a cliche.

So as the topic of this blog goes, “money for nothing and lists for free”, money and list sizes aren’t everything. Well ok, maybe money is everything, especially for a startup and most other companies and here’s hoping you get lots of it. And then some people think it’s all about how long a recipient list you have that makes your pride as a marketer swell. The sad truth is that the size of your email target list size doesn’t indicate how successful you presently are or shall be in the future. All it does is, speak volumes about how many emails have you been able to “buy” from notorious salesmen selling you email id’s by the thousands, like the way they sell mobile numbers to call centers.

We have discussed this point in one of our previous blogs, but let us give you an analogy to make it easier to understand. It’s not about how many shots you fire, but how many hit the target and more importantly the bulls eye. In that exact accord it’s not about how many emails you send out in a day, a week, a month or even a year. It’s not just about pure numbers and numbers alone. Let the no. of emails you send out be = shots fired, accurate hits = hits somewhere on the dart board or in this case it would mean read emails. But it is the bulls eye that everyone is after, the emails which are read and acted upon and the ones that actually translate into sales. And if you thought it was easy to get those bulls eye’s, dream on, especially not by “buying” emails ids.

Many marketers say that as it turns out they are hitting spam traps or other problematic accounts/issues. Most ESP’s simply suggest that if people are not interacting with your brand over a few weeks or months, then you either survey them to get them to reengage or flat-out drop them. Now, we at Octane are not talking about suggestions like a decrease of 50 percent of your list or confirm opt-in everything, but we suggest it would help to cut down your list to individuals who were and still want to be truly engaged with the brand and want to receive the message.To our delight, many of the marketers usually already have similar ideas to improve list inbox penetration, but to our horror it seems that their high-level executives freak out when such programs were suggested or introduced.

Honestly, we don’t have a full-on answer to this perplexing battle between the higher-ups and those in the trenches looking at the terrible delivery data in these situations. Is it possible that the folks in the trenches are not doing a good enough job of presenting the whys? The costs possibly associated with bad data? On the other hand the higher-ups may not be taking enough interest in what is going on below them daily?. It requires a lot of data and comparison matrices, flow charts, many black listings, etc. to illustrate the need to cut down an email target list. This isn’t typically a proactive thing for many companies. It is an unfortunate reactive situation.

Our suggestion to everyone in such a situation is this: sit down for a few weeks and capture the costs of reacting to junking at the ISPs, time down due to black listings, and any other negative situations that dirty lists put you in to illustrate where the company is losing time and money. This also includes looking at all your delivery statistics (failures and successes) with bounces, feedback loops, and unsubscribing. Take all this data and create an easy-to-understand and attributable chart that shows the downside of your current actions. If you can, figure out how many emails are not getting through and how much more “easy” money you could make if you only delivered to those addresses you know are not giving you a hard time.

We would even go on to suggest, bring in the executive team into some of your daily squabbles so they can see just how bad lists are in reality and how they are wasting employees’ time and the company’s money. We are pretty confident that once they see the realities, they wouldn’t want you to chase numbers and numbers alone anymore.
Let’s make email lists successful by using them the right way. What is your company doing to address this problem? If you do not know, call us, we shall be more than happy to help. 🙂

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