List quality absolutely affects engagement rates. If you have a subscriber list compiled from several old sources or perhaps that didn’t follow best practices at one point (i.e., you prechecked the “Newsletter sign-up” during registration), you should consider a reopt-in email confirming that this person does in fact want to hear from you.
Many people consider re-opt-in emails too risky to try. They start trembling at the thought of it and say things like, “But . . . what if we lose half the people on our list?”
Well, the fact is that it isn’t about quantity. It’s about quality. Is it better to have lots of people on your subscriber list who ignore you, or a few that hang on to every word you say? Why would you want to keep wasting time and money on an audience that continually ignores you and may not have asked to hear from you in the first place?
ExactTarget recently ran a re-opt-in campaign for those very reasons. Allow me to note some of the strengths of our reengagement efforts:
We made it easy for the subscriber to understand why ExactTarget sent the email.
The call to action was above the fold in every version.
There were eight different versions tested in sample audiences (rather than blasting off the same variation to everyone and hoping it worked). The winner was mailed to the entire list.
Each version contained a “TIME DATE” field that told the subscriber the reply deadline, thus adding urgency.
The subscriber was made aware ...