The Importance of Prioritizing Email List Quality Over Quantity

Your email list is one of your biggest business assets, but there is too much of a good thing. When it comes to your marketing, email list quality is important to prioritize over quantity.

As a company’s email subscriber list grows, so does its ability to spur action – and, ideally, sales – according to its own schedule. For example, you can command a tidy sum simply by letting loyal subscribers know they can pre-order your new product.

Over time, this makes it much easier to invest time and effort in new initiatives. Rather than waiting until everything is perfect, then painstakingly marketing to new prospects, you can get early feedback and an influx of orders. That reduces risk.

The problem? A low-quality list grants none of those terrific advantages.

It may leave you thinking you have more resources than you really do.

Signs Your Email List Quality Is In Trouble

There are three major stats that help you understand the quality of your list:

  • Open Rate: The percentage of subscribers who open and read a given email message.
  • Clickthrough Rate: The percentage of subscribers who click on a link in the message.
  • Conversion Rate: The percentage of subscribers who take the desired action.

You can have 100, 1,000, 10,000 – or, like many Fortune 500 companies, many millions – of subscribers, but these stats always tell you more about the health of your list than its raw size.

When open rates are under 70% and clickthrough rates are under 40%, you might have poor targeting on your list. Conversion rates, of course, vary a great deal by your industry, the offer being promoted, and what action you want your users to take.

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There are three other major factors you can observe right away to check on email list quality:

1 Instant Unsubscribes

Many low-quality subscribers are only interested in whatever freebie or promotion your list has to offer. Once they have it, they’ll feel free to exit the list immediately. This is a common issue with lists that use coupons as their carrot.

2 Unsubscribes Per Email

Not everyone will leave a list right away, of course. You might still notice, though, that a large proportion of new subscribers leave after the very first email they receive. Each message you send will net some unsubscribes, but it should be only a few.

3 Bounce Rate

Lists that don’t use double opt-in will inevitably end up with some fake emails, leading to a higher bounce rate of undeliverable messages. That said, double opt-in can seriously inconvenience even legitimate subscribers, so not all businesses consider it worthwhile.