How to Avoid List Fatigue

List fatigue is what happens when people get tired of hearing from you. Their name might be on your in-house email list for a bona fide reason, but they are done with those emails. Bored by them. Don’t want them any longer. Thank you very much but good bye.

The other day, we talked about the signs, so you can recognize list fatigue before it gets out of control and leads to a diminishing email marketing ROI. Today let’s make sure you’re not the cause of that said list fatigue, okay? Because the best email solutions in the world won’t help you if you are.

First let’s be clear: To a degree, list fatigue is unavoidable. That’s because there are two types of causes, those you can control and those you can’t.

List Fatigue You Can’t Avoid
People change. Situations change. Moms give birth and no longer need your prenatal products. Managers switch jobs and no longer need your software. People retire, move, switch jobs, get married/divorced, have kids, send kids to college, get promoted/fired, etc. When the inevitable change happens, people simply do not need what you’re selling any longer. You can’t do anything about any of that.

List Fatigue You CAN Avoid
However, there is list fatigue actually caused by email marketers. People can get tired of hearing from you when you are irrelevant or even annoying. You can be the cause of list fatigue by sending them content that doesn’t interest them or by sending emails too often.

You don’t need fancy email solutions to avoid this. You avoid list fatigue by adhering to the email best practices we tout all the time, and they all stem from one simple source: being customer-centric. When you put the customer first, you will also:

  • Be relevant—Segment your list and send targeted messages to those segments.
  • Be careful—Carefully monitor your email marketing to ensure your frequency is optimal, not too many and not too few.
  • Be timely—Test and monitor to make sure you’re sending emails at the best time of day and on the best day for your audience(s).
  • Be diligent—Always watch for signs that you’re not meeting the needs of your prospects and customers by watching for signs of list fatigue. (Link to earlier post here)
  • Be different—Change things up so you’re not always sending the same content over and over.
  • Be thoughtful—Send content your customers want to get, not only what you want to send.

Think about boring people who trap you in a corner and tell you the same stories over and over. You avoid them, right? They are tiresome, right?

Don’t be a bore. Being customer-centric can go a long ways towards avoiding list fatigue. And that’s an email solution you can bank on…at absolutely no cost.

Published On: June 15th, 2012Categories: Email deliverability

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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