Exhausting your email database

Email databases can be incredibly valuable resources, but unfortunately in the pursuit of short term profits many businesses are unwittingly endangering the health, even the survival of their email database.

When I am talking about an organisation endangering their email/direct mail database I am not simply talking about natural attrition. Attrition of email databases is simply a reality even for the more savvy, creative and disciplined email marketer. As your subscribers change jobs, often their email addresses can change too; their interests or buying patterns can also change, sometimes making your newsletter offering irrelevant over time for some subscribers. I would recommend you aim to sign up around 10% of your email database each month if you want to grow your database despite natural attrition.

However I simply want to warn against wanton bombardment of your database for short term gain, it will accelerate attrition and reduce the effectiveness of each campaign. 

Case in point:

9 months ago Myer announced it would be spending more on direct advertising to their 2.7 million Myer One customers than through all of its other marketing activities put together. I was quite surprised when only a couple of months later many of my colleagues and friends whom previously had had nothing but good things to say about Myer One began complaining about Myer spamming them with offers both through email and direct mail.

It appears Myer had opened the floodgates, allowing their suppliers what seemed like unfettered access to send promotion upon promotion to the hapless subscribers. I have heard enough times from enough individuals to convince me that the balance and targeting of promotions over the past 9 months has not been right, the effect has been a diminishing effectiveness of each campaign as subscribers either unsubscribe or consider each new promotion BACN at best.