Yesterday I discussed why you should keep your email lists down to the bare minimum of people who’ve actively requested to receive stuff from you. But what if you’ve inherited a list containing the email addresses of everyone who’s passed by your door? Should you stick with it? I’d say not.
Remember the “simmering resentment” issue? People who keep finding your emails in their inbox, don’t want them, but won’t unsubscribe (because they can’t even be bothered to open the email) or can’t unsubscribe (because you don’t let them)? There is a way to get over this problem. Email the entire list and say that as a responsible supplier, you only send information to people who want it, so you’re asking them to confirm they want to continue hearing from you.
Instantly, you solve all the problems. People who think you’re emailing them without their permission (which you probably are) might suddenly start to wonder if they had signed up for your stuff after all. They’ll still unsubscribe, but at least they’ll think better of you in the process. People who never open your emails won’t open this one either, so they won’t be resubscribing. But there was no point in sending to them in the first place. And so it goes on.
Sure, you’ll lose three-quarters of your mailing list overnight. But you’ll lose almost none of your actual readers. And you’ll be rid of the liability which is the rest of the list. It’s a brave step to take, but it’s a logical one.