email marketing best practices quality over quantity

Email Marketing Best Practices: Shocking Proof Quality Is More Important Than Quantity!

It’s an email marketing best practice we harp on a lot in this blog, I know. But that’s because it’s an idea that’s so steadfastly adhered to, this idea that more names on your email list means more profit. No, it doesn’t.

Do you need shocking proof that quality is more important than quantity when it comes to your in-house email list? Then click on through to this MarketingSherpa case study. The Indianapolis Symphony cut their email database by almost 96%! And turned their email marketing program around as a result, doubling their online sales by focusing on the people who did want to hear from them and forgetting about those who didn’t.

If your in-house email list had unresponsive names and performed poorly, could you cut your list by 10%? 30%? 50%? If it meant you’d increase your response rates and conversions? Could you do it?

It’s a scary thought, isn’t it! Even if we know intellectually it’s among email marketing best practices! For email marketers, those email addresses can be like currency, money in the bank. But they’re only money in the bank if they’re responding to your emails and buying from your company, right?

I once read, “Would you rather have one client who pays you what you’re worth or two clients who don’t?” And every single time I have asked someone that question, they have without any hesitation whatsoever answered, “the one client who pays me what I’m worth.”

Think of your in-house email list the same way: Would you rather have a list of 10,000 names that don’t respond to your email marketing campaigns? Or 2,000 that do? When the symphony was willing to slash their list down to only those who opted in to the re-engagement emails, they were brave! They were bold! And they were rewarded! Through careful list building since that time, they’ve grown their in-house email list more than 500%. And that’s a quality list, not a quantity one, chockfull of people who want to hear from the symphony, who want to receive the email newsletters and buy tickets to the concerts.

Was it a gamble? It sounds like one when you’re talking 96%! Did it pay off? It sure sounds like it!

Published On: November 9th, 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.

Recent Posts