Tuesday, 10 January 2012, 8:14 PM

How Long Is a Subscriber’s E-Mail Address Alive?

If you don’t know the answer to this question maybe you should take a look in your subscriber list and figure it out. Next step is to consider how you can give your subscribers a possibility to register their new addresses and cancel the old ones. Then you don’t have to experience the ”hard bounces” – e-mails that ”bounce back” because the addresses don’t exist any more.

My new colleague Gun recently experienced what it means to change an e-mail address. She has several newsletters that she would like to keep, but she doesn’t remember all the newsletters she has subscribed to. So it would have been helpful if she’d been able to change address in the newsletters she received during the last month on her old job.

To check this out I looked at some of the newsletters I regularly receive in order to see if I easily could change my e-mail address – without having to unsubscribe and then subscribe with a new address. I did find one example, with a minimal text at the bottom of the page:

This is the footer of Rue la la and the grey text in the first paragraph tells you that you can visit ”My Pages” to change your address. Sorry to say but I was disappointed to be guided to the first page and there I had to fill in my log-in data – which I don’t remember.

Gilt Group’s newsletter could have solved this much better … They started out so well. In their e-mail I am able to update my interests myself. (The text is extremely small!)

When I click on the suggested link I’m guided to a simple form. Wouldn’t it be nice if I could have changed my address there as well?

No, I don’t think that the desired function will have a dramatic effect on your sales or on the number of clicks or on the number of opened e-mails. But wouldn’t it be a nice thing to offer your customers? (Considering the amount of data that is stored on member sites!)

Anyway, we will add it in our newsletters for sure!

So how long is the life span of an e-mail address? About 2.4 years, they say. I’ve already mentioned that (and some more interesting figures) in this blog post.