By now you’ve probably read at least three dozen out the thousands of articles written on why collecting email subscribers is so important to the growth and success of your blog.
And to a certain extent this is going to be another one… as I agree completely.
Email subscribers are of the utmost importance… Truly the only non-revenue counting stat I care about.
Need some social validation? Read – How to Get Important People to Read Your Newsletter
Here’s the Rub…
What is an email subscriber worth who doesn’t take action?
Yes, you can write blog posts about your thousands of subscribers and newbies and hacks salivate for similar numbers, but what are those subscribers actually worth to you, your community and most importantly your bottom line?
I would argue nothing… Actually I would argue these Zombie Subscribers can take away from the value of your email list.
When you publish a newsletter article what stats or feedback do you look at to ascertain whether that article was a success ?
- Unique Opens
- Clicks on links
- Social Shares
- Purchases of products
- New subscribers from the article (which means the article is being forwarded to non-subscribers)
Basically you look at the number of subscribers you have and the number of people that take different actions and you can determine if your readers found value in your article.
But Zombie Subscribers don’t take action. They signed up for newsletter because they had to in order to get your Free eBook or e-Course or they’ve changed jobs or lifestyle and simply don’t care anymore.
Now your newsletter articles just sit in their inbox.
At this point one of three things happen in most cases:
- The Zombie does nothing (Bad)
- The Zombie unsubscribes (Good and Bad)
- The Zombie sends your email to Spam (Very Bad)
The Zombie Subscriber Does Nothing
If you are like me and you constantly tweak your newsletter to produce the best product then feedback is very important. You could be writing killer content but see increasingly diminished results because of Zombie subscribers inaction.
That is BAD.
You’re now making decisions on the path of your email marketing based on the inaction of Zombie Subscribers.
The Zombie Unsubscribes
This is Good and Bad. It’s good for you when a Zombie unsubscribes because you don’t have to worry about their inaction any longer.
It’s bad when a Zombie unsubscribes because now their action effects your feedback. They’re not unsubscribing because they didn’t like the direction of your content. They’re unsubscribing because they had no intention of every engaging in the first place and finally got sick of deleting your emails.
You’re now making decisions on the path of your email marketing based on the action of Zombie Subscribers.
The Zombie Sends Your Email to Spam
Spam is the MOST profane of four-letter words in the email marketing world. Too many emails sent to spam and you won’t be sending emails for much longer.
So as email marketers we do everything we can to NOT have our emails/newsletter sent to spam (A good tool for this is Aweber as their delivery rates are fantastic because of strict opt-in rules).
But Zombies, they don’t even remember why nor do they care why you’re sending them emails. So instead of taking the time to scan your newsletter and click the unsubscribe button they just hit SPAM.
This is VERY BAD.
So How Do You Get Rid of Zombie Subscribers
Unfortunately in the case of Zombies Subscribers blunt force head trauma is not an option…
A good place to start is by systematically reviewing your subscriber list. Check to see how long it’s been since someone opened one of your emails. If you have sent three, four, five emails over the course of a month or more and that individual has not opened any of the emails than you have a Zombie.
At this point you can do one of two things:
- You can just delete the Zombie immediately or,
- You can send them a targeted email sequence.
Option #1 is pretty self-explanatory. Highlight… Hit delete.
Option #2 however could potentially turn a few Zombies back into active participants.
I must admit that is idea is not a Ryan Hanley original thought. I got this idea from Brankica Underwood from Online Income Star. Brankica outlined how a four day email sequence strategy can bring would-be Zombies back to life (Zombie is my nomenclature for inactive subscribers not hers… I’m a huge Walking Dead fan).
In this strategy Brankica creates a sale or discount offer that should in theory entice someone to click on a newsletter article and open it.
Then she targeted only the Zombies and sent four different emails all with the same offer but different titles four days in a row.
The thought process was that if after four emails in four days the Zombie did not take action then their condition was truly incurable and it made sense to delete the Zombie.
What Brankica found was that she actually was able to bring 17% of the Zombies back to life because of this four day email sequence. That doesn’t seem bad to me when the alternative is to simply delete them all. And it’s possible, though she didn’t mention, that she got a few AWeber affiliate sales out of the campaign as well.
Don’t let the Zombie Apocalypse ruin your email list. Personally, I choose to NOT offer a Free eBook in exchange for a subscription. This limits the number Zombies that inhabit my subscriber list.
Obviously there are benefits to offering a free eBook as well so I’ll leave that choice up to you. What I will recommend is creating a process for removing Zombie subscribers from your list… They could be eating at your results, if they’re not already.
image credit: www.istockphoto.com