What exactly does a “better” email subscriber list look like? ... Let's start at the beginning, we all know that email marketing is highly effective, in part because it's so accessible and inexpensive. But what many people don't realize is that email marketing success is contingent upon the strength and scale of your email subscriber list; the better your subscriber list is, the better your email marketing campaign is going to perform.
So how do you build and maintain a “better” email subscriber list? And what does “better” even mean in this context?
What a “Better” Email Subscriber List Looks Like
Good email subscriber lists are capable of providing more value to your business, incentivizing more traffic generation and eventually greater revenue generation. They also have a smaller risk profile, allowing you to improve deliverability while reducing your chances of being flagged as spam.
Generally, the best email subscriber lists have the following in common:
- Size and scale. As you might imagine, when all other factors are equal, a bigger email list is going to be a more powerful email list. If approximately 1 percent of your subscribers make a purchase when you advertise a new product in an email blast, and you multiply your number of subscribers by 10, you'll instantly multiply your number of purchasers by 10 in the process. That's why most email marketers make it a priority to attract as many subscribers as possible.
- Accuracy. From welcome emails to thank you emails, your messages are only going to be effective if they get sent to actual, live, accurate email addresses. If you keep sending to email addresses that are no longer valid or ones that have been mistyped, you'll be wasting resources and potentially triggering spam flags.
- Activity. You also need to think about the level of activity associated with each subscriber's email address. There's a big difference between sending an email to a junk account that's rarely checked and sending an email to an avid fan who reads every word of all your messages. You can't always control how people engage with your material, but you can work to improve your understanding and tailor your messages to the people most likely to engage.
- Interest and engagement. What are your email subscribers interested in, specifically? And are you capable of sending messages and materials in such a way that you keep your best fans happy? Are you sure you're sending relevant information and materials at all times?
- Customer data. Great email lists also feature robust customer data, capturing variables like subscriber names, areas of residence, and even prior purchasing habits. The more you know about your customers, the more you'll be able to serve them with custom offers and personalized email content.
So how can we achieve these when building and maintaining our email lists?
How to Start a Great Email Subscriber List
It's going to be much easier to build and maintain an email subscriber list if you start with a strong foundation. These are some of the most important tips for starting an email subscriber list from scratch:
- Never buy a list. Most email marketing experts recommend that you never buy a list. This is a tempting possibility, since buying a list makes it easy to instantly start sending messages to thousands of people. But if these people didn't sign up for your email list, you'll be speaking to an irrelevant (and potentially irritated) audience. On top of that, you'll be more likely to get flagged as spam, and if you end up sending unwanted messages to the same person multiple times, you might end up breaking the law in some areas.
- Advertise the list everywhere you can. Instead, it's much better to build your list organically, catering only to the people who are already familiar with your brand – at least in passing. Do what you can to advertise the list prominently, and in a way that maximizes its appeal. Include calls to action (CTAs) for signups on your website, social media, and even in paid advertising campaigns.
- Incentivize signups. Most of us are already subscribed to dozens of email newsletters already. Why do we need another one? If you want people to sign up, you need to provide some kind of incentive. When people sign up for your email newsletter, what do they get in return? Do they get exclusive deals? Can they access a hidden area of your website? Are you sending out freebies or bonuses?
- Provide early value. When you start sending out emails for the first time, make sure those first few messages are extremely valuable, incentivizing people to remain subscribed for as long as possible. For example, with Viewed, you can embed autoplaying videos in your emails, showing off a much higher production value and providing more information or entertainment to your fans. Free gifts are also highly effective for improving retention.
Maintaining a Better Email Subscriber List
What steps can you take to maintain your email subscriber list?
- Make unsubscribing easy. It might seem counterintuitive to make unsubscribing easy, since your goal is to increase the number of subscribers you have. However, if someone no longer wants to remain subscribed to your email list, they’re no longer a valuable subscriber. It's best to let them go and weed themselves out. Including an easy unsubscribe button will make sure people are less likely to flag you as spam and more likely to leave of their own accord.
- Gather more data over time. See if you can gather more data on your existing email subscribers. Can you monitor and analyze their behavior in response to your email messages? Can you get them to answer a questionnaire in which they provide more details?
- Periodically scrub your list. Occasionally, use automated tools or take the time to manually scrub your list. Remove duplicate entries, remove entries that are no longer active, and run a check for accuracy.
- Segment and refine your lists. If you want even better results, consider segmenting and refining your email lists. Instead of sending one generic newsletter to everyone who has subscribed, send more specific, relevant newsletters to various subsets of your subscriber population. For example, you can segment by location, demographic, or customer status.
- Keep adding new subscribers. Building and growing an email subscriber list isn't a one-time strategy. It's something you have to practice constantly, since even the best email marketing experts lose subscribers to natural attrition. Keep advertising your list, reaching new audiences, and growing your number of subscribers.
Do you want your email subscribers to be more satisfied with your content? Or are you looking for a way to “hook” your latest signups? Embedded video in your emails could be the answer. Sign up for Viewed today, for free, and see for yourself how simple it is to upgrade your email value!