Getting Out of the Graymail

Getting Out of the Graymail

Don’t waste your efforts sending graymail. Here’s how to clean up those contacts.

Growing your subscribers and database of contacts is almost always a goal among businesses. We agree, growth is good. But there comes a time when you may have too many contacts. Too many? How can I have too many contacts? The amount of graymail you’re sending is the clearest sign of too many contacts.

What is Graymail?

Graymail is e-mail that someone receives because they opted in at one point or another, but now do not want to receive. We all know the kind. You bought a baby shower gift for your sister online and were able to get 30 percent off on your first purchase when you subscribed to the seller’s e-mail list. It was a great deal, but you don’t have other babies to shop for. Every week you get their e-mails – “20% off diapers!” “How to make the coziest crib.” None of which are relevant to you. These e-mails abide by all the spam rules and laws, but they are often still unwanted e-mail clutter.

These e-mails are annoying to the audiences that do not wish to receive them, but haven’t made an effort to opt out. More importantly for business, these contacts are annoying to you because they lower your open rates, click-through-rates, and can cost you to keep sending them. Some of these people may click the ‘junk mail’ or ‘spam’ button on your e-mails, which can really hurt your deliverability rates.

Solving the Problem

There are a few ways to address these issues. Once you are honest with yourself that not all of your contacts are good contacts, you will be on your way.

Automate It

If you are running or can run marketing automation on your e-mail this is a great place to start. Set up a workflow that will automatically unsubscribe people once they are showing a certain lack of engagement. For example, this could mean they haven’t opened the last 3 e-mails.

You could also implement a workflow that will move the non-engagers to a new list so that you can try to interact with them differently to restore their interest.

Manually Review

Depending on your e-mail system, you may be able to run a report to see who hasn’t opened your e-mails. Then you can choose to remove them or make a new campaign to re-engage them.

You always have the option of getting to know your list personally. Go through each contact and see if they open or click your e-mails, then act accordingly. With a small enough database and enough time you could even reach out to those disengaged individuals for feedback. Sometimes people need a more personal touch.

Prevent Your E-mails from Becoming Graymail

Don’t want to go through the process of editing all those contacts in the future? We don’t blame you. Here’s a few ways to prevent your e-mails becoming graymail.

  • Let subscribers choose what kind of e-mails they get from you
  • Be transparent in letting your subscribers know what they are opting in to
  • Include an unsubscribe or manage subscriptions option in your e-mails, preferably in an easy-to-find spot and an easy-to-opt-out process
  • Segment your lists so that subscribers receive more targeted content

Ultimately, having less subscribers but a higher percentage of valid prospects will be best for business. Putting the right processes in place to keep your contacts valid and interested will save you time and money in the long run.

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Image courtesy of Miles

Posted: May 16, 2016
Updated: Oct 08, 2019
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