Email Marketing Best Practices: Be Willing to Pare Down Your List

Out of sight, out of mind.

Far too many companies take this approach to their online marketing. They put up web pages that become obsolete. They start a blog and let it founder. And they send emails to people who just don’t care.

We’re talking about the non-responders, the names on your in-house email list that you continue to send emails to, despite the fact that they never, ever open or interact with your emails, let alone buy from you.

Is ignorance an email marketing best practice? Most definitely not. And it’s not bliss either. It’s something that can hurt you.

Some email marketers think there’s no harm in continuing to send emails to the non-responders. The rationale seems to be, if they’re not unsubscribing or flagging the emails as spam, maybe, just maybe they are going to buy something someday!

Yes, there is harm.

  • You can be damaging your brand reputation with those people.
  • You’re lowering the numbers you need to show your higher ups to prove your worth.
  • You could be damaging your online sending reputation.

As Sean Donohue recently pointed out in a MarketingSherpa blog, “Marketers that don’t pay attention to unresponsive subscribers are missing opportunities and potentially harming their sender reputations.”

Beyond that, in this economy, however, it seems marketers would rather adhere to email marketing best practices that make their numbers look better on paper. If you had to go before your boss to report your numbers, would you rather have more names on your in-house email list but lower open rates and click throughs? Or would you rather have fewer names, and higher open rates and click throughs?

Thought so.

Email marketing best practices sometimes require you to pare down your list, not build it. Take the non-responders off. It’s for the best.

Published On: September 20th, 2010Categories: Email marketing best practices

About the Author: Sharon

Sharon Ernst from is on a mission to improve the business and marketing writing skills of today’s workforce with her blog, newsletter and online classes. Her newest class on intermediate email copywriting covers 19 tips and techniques non-copywriters can put to use right away for better results. The class has real-life examples and before/after comparisons to make the lessons stick. Find her class at When she’s not busy helping employees, managers and marketers master their writing skills, she and her husband are busy raising pigs, cows, chickens and vegetables on their 20-acre farm.

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