Email segmentation is hard for two reasons: one, pulling the data and aggregating it requires an expertise in Excel, R, or some other statistical program. And that’s if your email tool doesn’t thwart your attempts at getting the data out.
Second, though, once you’ve got an email segment pulled out of your list, you now have to construct a unique marketing strategy around it. Congratulations! You’ve just doubled your workload! Wow, you’re really smart.
That’s why one of the most valuable email segments is “people you no longer can reach”. These are people who never open your emails, never click, and never give, either offline or online. Assuming they aren’t being lost to some ISP deliverability issue, they’re getting your emails but they just don’t care about you. Removing them from your list is going to make your list smaller, your email bill lower, and your workload a lot less.
First, construct a spreadsheet of data out of your CRM that looks like this one below:
The columns are:
- each unique email address;
- how many emails they’ve received in the last 365 days;
- how many emails they’ve opened in the last 365 days;
- how many emails click they’ve had on in the last 365 days;
- how many gifts (online and offline) they’ve given in the last 365 days;
- their open rate (opens / received); and
- their open rate rounded to the nearest 5%.
You want this report to only include people who have been on your email list for a year or more. If someone has received 3 emails in 1 month and hasn’t opened any, there may still be hope for them, so don’t include them.
Once you’ve put together that spreadsheet, you can make an Excel Pivot table that shows you how many email addresses fall into each category. Plot “rounded to 5% open rate” on the Y-axis vs. “all gifts in the last 365 days”. Your pivot table fields will look something like this:
Then you will get a pivot table that looks like this:
What does this mean? The blue column along the left is the open rate of your email list. The row across the top is the number of gifts they’ve given in the last 365 days. Near the bottom, you can see that you’ve got 84 unique email addresses that open 100% of your emails, but have only given one gift. Perhaps you should motivate them a bit more, because they love you.
Yes, this is a lot of numbers, but the most important thing it shows is that your list has 8,002 people on it that never open an email, and never give. And this is what they’ve been doing for the last year. Every time you email them you waste money on the email delivery fees. If you pay for your database by working email address, you are paying for people that aren’t likely to ever give you any money. This list happens to be about 30,000 people (28,958 to be exact). This means that 28% of your email addresses are a complete waste of time.
Sure sure, you can try a re-activation campaign, like sending emails that say, “Subject: You haven’t opened in a while” and you may recover a half a percent of them, but for the most part, they’re deadwood, and they’re dragging you down.
You should use your table to isolate their email addresses and add them to a “not responsive group” in your CRM. Then, after 6 months when you’ve convinced your colleagues they are lost to email, purge them from your email list or unsubscribe them from all your lists.
When I say “6 months to convince your colleagues”, I’m not joking. The concept that a quarter of your email list is worthless is not a popular concept, and you’re colleagues will drag their feet to avoid losing them. Email list deadwood is one of the biggest shameful secrets of non-profit online marketing, and your life will be better if you can deal with this problem honestly, instead of continuing to keep them around forever.
See more Very Demotivational posters.