- Response rates are significantly lower than they were previously. One email list we're reviving had a 35% average open rate in summer 2010 - which has fallen to 25% in the first few emails we've sent to it.
- Unsubscribe rates rise significantly compared to previously
- Bounce rates increase - because people have moved job or changed email address for another reason
When we've investigated these, they are unsurprising. People have forgotten who we were, so didn't bother opening our emails, or, worse, unsubscribed. And if they moved job they forgot to tell us that they'd moved, because they hadn't heard from us for a while.
The best advice to keep email lists and Facebook pages alive is to regularly (i.e. at least monthly) contact them. This helps by:
- Reminding people how wonderful you are so that even if they don't open the email, they remember that you are there. So they don't unsubscribe, and they'll occasionally engage.
- Reminding people to tell you when they move email address.
If you have let a list go some months without being emailed, then the best ways to revive it are:
- Start with content that reminds people of why they are subscribed. So if they subscribed for local news, start with an exciting bit of local news
- Make sure that the emails come from somebody they know
- Take it easy - if they haven't heard from you in months then only email them once every few weeks at first, otherwise it will feel like a shock