Tricks or treats? How should you revive those email ghosts?

Ghosts exist in your marketing system. They are the subscribers and people on your email list who actually don’t read what you send them; everything you provide goes into some kind of void, into the ether.

Clearly having ghosts in your machine for marketing is doing you no good. You think you have 1,000 subscribers, say, but many of these may be dead. Having people on your mailing list or RSS subscriber list that are not actually engaged with what you do is worthless. All that is being massaged is your ego – they are adding nothing to your bank balance. Indeed, if you use an email system for a newsletter, for instance, that charges by the number of subscribers, those dead email addresses are costing you dear.

So, how do you revive the dead? Should you trick them into waking up or provide them with a treat of some kind? Let’s look at the possible reasons as to why people may be ignoring your emails or blog postings in RSS feeds.

Firstly, they may simply have too many other emails and feeds to read – yours just doesn’t get the same amount of attention as it used to. Secondly, they may have become bored with what you write, but they hang on in the hope that you may return to the early wonder you gave them when they first decided to subscribe. Another possibility is that their spam filter may be blocking you, so they never actually get your messages in the first place.

Here’s what to do. Send your list a message from a different email address (to avoid potential spam filter blacklisting). Make it short, snappy and give them a link to something where they will get a “treat”, such as a free report on a current issue that faces your audience. Ensure your subject line is enticing, interesting and personalised so that you gain attention in a busy inbox.

Doing all this will revive interest in what you do – especially if your free report carries reminder messages of how useful your blog or emails can be to people. In other words, create a short promotional campaign to remind your list you exist. That way you’ll wake the dead. Happy Halloween…!


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Graham Jones
Graham Jones is an Internet Psychologist who studies the way people use the online world, in particular how people engage with businesses. He uses this knowledge to help companies improve their online connections to their customers and potential customers and offers consultancy, workshops, masterclasses and webinars. He also speaks regularly at conferences and business events. Graham is an award-winning writer and the author of 32 books, several of which are about various aspects of the Internet. For more information connect with me on Google+
Graham Jones


Graham Jones is an Internet Psychologist, professional speaker and author of 32 books who helps businesses understand the online behaviour of their customers
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