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Zombies Are Not Rapid Responders

by mturk

Day Three – Zombies Aren’t Rapid Responders

(This is the third installment of a five part series looking at the impact the Living Dead have on your email list. For the rest of the series, visit our Guide to Protecting Your Organization From The Living Dead.)

In zombie flicks, it always seems the military and police are overrepresented amongst the undead. While uniformed first responders may constitute a fair chunk of the horde, there is nothing responsive about the Living Dead on your list.

We’ve looked at the threat to your list from blacklisting and costs of delivering email to the living dead.  Today we’re going to look at the threat to your job.

Back in the day (which was a Wednesday, by the way), your boss was probably concerned with one number – how big is our list.  That’s still the 400-pound trucker zombie in the room, but we’ll get to that.

Today, however, your boss may have learned phrases like “open rate”, “click-through”, “conversion”, “bounce rate”, and “A/B Testing”.  They are paying more attention, but often may not understand the intricacies of those terms.

Your boss looks at reports, sees a very low bounce rate.  “Great!,” he says, “We’re reaching all two million of our supporters!”

Then he sees a low open rate.  Your click-through and conversion can be really strong, but only a very small portion of your list is opening the message. Actions are a good size piece of a very small pie.

He loves throwing that “2 million supporters” number out to the press, and can’t understand why 2 million subscribers works out to 200,000 opens (on a good day).

This is where the zombies become a threat to your job.

Unless you can educate him on the finer points of email deliverability, in his eyes you have just provided evidence that your email program is a failure.  After all, the Living Dead aren’t bouncing, they just don’t find your brains all that attractive.

The guy he met at the cocktail party that says he is the world’s foremost email marketing expert suddenly seems appealing.

You and I both know there are a million things that make an address go stale.  Your boss, however, probably has no such knowledge, nor does he care.  Welcome to Zombieland! Population? You.  The next thing you know the Zs are munching on your skull. You are out of work and find yourself living on a steady diet of government cheese, living in a van down by the river.

Running a reactivation and purge campaign may provide two benefits –boosting your active subscribers by engaging some members, and raising your response rates by focusing only on people who show a tendency to interact.

The upside to you is your boss will see numbers that are more realistic.  Rather than judging success based on “registered” supporters, he will see success based on “active” supporters.

As we noted yesterday, delivering email to the undead can eat 50% or more of your budget.  At this point, you can suggest your organization reinvest in active recruitment the money you would have spent mailing Zeke.

Tomorrow we’ll take a look at the reactivation campaign and some suggestions for ways to execute it.  We’ll conclude the series on Friday with some tactics for making the case to the boss when you finally decide to take a shovel to your list and start bashing zombie skulls.