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How do you define your email list size?

  • 1.  How do you define your email list size?

    Posted 15 days ago

    We've been doing a lot of work to eliminate dead weight from our email list. We started a re-engagement series. We stopped emailing our inactive subscribers. Our open, click and response rates have gone way up, but the number of people we email has gone down.

    Now we're wondering how to talk about our "smaller" email list with funders, event sponsors and other folks who may want to see "bigger" email list numbers.

    How do you define your email list size when you talk with external audiences? Do you include only active subscribers that you email regularly? Do you include everyone who hasn't bounced or opted out, even if they're long-time inactives? Do you include both numbers?



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    Judy Freed (she/her)
    Senior Marketing Manager, Alliance for the Great Lakes
    Co-Organizer, NTEN Digital Advertising Community
    Chicago, Illinois
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  • 2.  RE: How do you define your email list size?

    Posted 11 days ago
    Hi Judy,

    This is an interesting question. I should admit up front that this is a little outside my wheelhouse, but I have thoughts(!) and maybe they'll be helpful.

    Firstly, this sounds like a big administrative win. Having a cleaner list presumably means that you have a significantly better idea of who you are talking to. I suspect that your various stats are much more representative of the real world than they had been.

    I wonder if you can shift your discussions to focus on open rates and measurable followup actions if you can measure things like event signups, donations, or whatever else you choose to focus on. I would hope most people would understand it's much better to raise $1,000,000 from 500 emails than it is to raise $100 from 5,000,000 emails. Sure that's a contrived example, but I think a higher quality list is definitely on the path to increased effectiveness, and maybe you can try to retire a focus purely on list size and build a much richer understanding of the purpose having an email list in the first place!

    What do other people think?

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    Mark Root-Wiley

    MRW Web Design / MRWweb.com / @MRWweb
    Thoughtful WordPress Website for Nonprofits & Mission-Driven Organizations
    Seattle, WA
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    2020 Nonprofit Technology Conference Logo  w/ Baltimore Skyline


  • 3.  RE: How do you define your email list size?

    Posted 10 days ago
    Hi Mark!

    You can use predictive analytics to segment your e-mail lists to find people with an affinity toward your cause or what you're communicating to them about. For example, if you're doing a writing segment on people who love the Great Lakes, you can run find people who have a deep interest in that and directly market to them to increase and improve engagement.

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    Yasmin Zand
    Marketing Associate
    Tysons, VA
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