It's a question I've always asked myself. It's certainly a concern of email marketers. I like the analogy Melinda Krueger provides in EmailInsider. "I've always thought of a customer list as a leaky bucket," she says. Leaky may be an understatement -- every six months 17% of the U.S. online population creates a new email address. Over the course of three years, enough new email addresses are created to replace existing addresses.
How do you stem the flow of that "leaky bucket." Krueger provides a few simple guidelines. The first priority should be at the front end: Ask for an alternate email address from the customer opting in. Offer this alternative as an option, but indicate how important it is for the customer in order to be aware of future updates and changes. Another strategy would include reactivation efforts. Often reactivation is coupled with bonus offers, coupons, discounts, or gifts with purchases.
Addresses always churn and recycle, but with an effective reactivation tactic and an alternate contact information strategy, you can ensure that you won't lose valuable customers.
Email Sign image by piccadillywilson [cc, 2.0]