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Zombies are Killing Your List: Day Two – The Cost of Survival

by mturk

(This is the second installment of a five part series looking at the impact the Living Dead have on your email list. For part one read “Reanimating the Dead: The Zombie Apocalypse and Your Email List”)

The Living Dead have infected your list.

Email addresses that don’t bounce, but never open or respond to your messages are the marketing equivalent of the undead.  In part one of this series, we looked at the long-term impact of zombie addresses – ISP blacklisting.

Today, we’re going to look at the sunk cost of care and feeding for your zombie.

In some zombie fiction, there are survivors who fundamentally believe in a cure.  They are positive that someone will be able to reverse zombification and bring their loved ones back (minus an arm or a kidney, I suppose, but alive just the same.) My favorite of these is the final scene in Shawn of the Dead where Shawn plays video games in a shed with his former friend, now a pet zombie.

Similarly, there are some who will advocate for continuing to email The Living Dead.  These generally fall into two camps – the optimists who believe they’ll spontaneously reanimate, and the pessimists who simply don’t want to do a list purge (for a number of reasons that we’ll cover later this week.)

The fact is, zombies as pets can be very costly.  Unless you are using an in-house solution for mailing, you’re likely paying for email sends through a formula like this

[# of email addresses] * [number of messages sent] * [price per message] = [your monthly bill]

Some platforms try to cover the cost of bandwidth, as well, by charging you based on the size (in bytes) of the message.

Lists vary, but it’s not uncommon for large and older lists to see zombification rates moving north of 50%.  In other words, perhaps as much of 50% or more of your mailing costs are being wasted.

Survivors firing heavy machine guns at the advancing horde soon realize that Zs keep coming until you hit the head.  As a result, that barrage of bullets is a) unlikely to stop them unless by accident and b) requires a wheelbarrow to haul that much ammo around.

Does your organization have wheelbarrows full of money it can throw at zombies?  If the answer is no, you need to better target your fire, and use a weapon with less recoil.

Think about that number again…  Zombies could account for half, or more, of your email costs.  You could shave 50% off your email budget by reanimating what you can, and purging the rest of the Living Dead.

Later this week we’ll get into specifics discussion of how to do that.  Tomorrow, however, we’ll continue making the case for combating zombies when we look at their impact on the response rates you share with your boss.

Until then, I’ll leave you with a preview of AMC’s upcoming zombie series The Walking Dead: