Not emailing to inactive email addresses has long been a best practice in email, but is it still the right approach? Panelists debated this issue at the Email Insider Summit in Montreux,
"When you are sending email, it is a negotiation with an ISP, they don't have to deliver that email," argued Laura Villevieille, email delivery manager at IBM, stressing that marketers should be careful about emailing inactive customers because of the risk of not getting delivered. "Part of that negotiation is the open rate," she explained.
Dela Quist, CEO of AlchemyWorx, called this "nonsense." He argues that deliverability experts take a doom and gloom perspective to mailing inactives for fear that email delivery will be hurt, but he says that deliverability issues can be fixed. He argued that it is worth mailing people who have disengaged because the more email you send, the more revenue your email will generate. "You can't engage with an email you didn't get," claimed Quist.
Jan Niggemann, regional director of central Europe at Return Path, agreed that brands should cut loose their inactives list. He cautions that a disengaged audience members are most likely to take negative actions such as an opt out, a negative comment or a complaint. However, he says that it should be done differently than it has been in the past and that marketers need to work harder before cutting people off of the list. Rather than simply not emailing inactives, he recommends doing very careful testing and striking the right balance by working on a reengagement series.