Loss aversion monkey cage rage

The subject of deleting inactive email subscribers really triggers some people.

I think I understand why.

Building an email list is a lot of work.

Unsubscribes are bad enough—the thought of deleting subscribers that you worked so hard to acquire…

It’s enough to set your inner “loss aversion monkey” screaming and rattling the bars of his cage.

Contributing to this is this axiom that gets tossed around a lot in marketing circles:

“The money’s in the list.”

This is NOT true.

I’ve seen many times over where huge lists failed to produce sales—often spectacularly.

In the Great Email Subscriber Purge Experiment, a “list” of 80,004 inactive subscribers received more than 896,000 email messages.

The result was less than $500 in “profit” (if you discount all of the time that went into setting up the offers, writing the emails, etc.)

If you look at it over the longer term, this list actually has NEGATIVE value, since maintaining these subscribers would add an extra $6,000 per year to our Drip bill.

The real value in an email list is in the RELATIONSHIP you have with your subscribers.

No engagement, no relationship.

So stop stressing about “reengaging inactive subscribers”—that bottom 10-30% of your list that couldn’t care less that you exist.

Focus instead on serving your MOST ACTIVE subscribers, especially the top 5-10%.

That’s where the action is.