It’s a fact that email marketing generates the highest Return On Investment | ROI when you take the time to build and maintain an engaged subscriber list.
And because an email list is one of the most valuable assets that any organization has, it’s more important than ever to practice good email list housekeeping. Organizations that are succeeding with online marketing understand that the more time they invest in building their list, the more value it accrues over time.
Why a quality Email List is so valuable.
If your email list has these characteristics, it may be worth a lot more than you realize.
- | Detailed inventory of the people you value
- | Best access point to the most preferred method of communication
- | Extremely cost efficient
- | Custom built to your requirements
- | Increases over time as more names and detail are added
- | Owned and can’t be taken away—unlike social media
Your list should be comprised of contacts, prospects, and past customers that have engaged with you, purchased your solution or have expressed some level of interest in what you offer.
Unlike social media, with email marketing, you are in total control of how frequently you send messages and interact with the select people on your list. As a result, it pays to remember that the quality of the email that you send directly affects the outcome that you seek.
If you disrespect or abuse your list, the result could be low engagement by your email recipients. Or worse, increased risk of having your domain blacklisted by Google as a spammer. Due to the high cost and time required to extricate a domain from this nightmare, it’s never where you want to be.
Have confidence that your list members are legitimate.
Everyone on your list should have opted-in to receive emails from you. Their permission should also be explicit and verifiable. So if you’re not using double opt-in subscription forms, it’s questionable if you’ll be able to track each list member’s permission as a voluntary subscriber of your content.
The best way to qualify the subscribers on your list is to use double-opt-in signup forms throughout your website. This proven method sends a confirmation email that a subscriber has to click on in order to complete the subscription process to your list.
If you just use the “single opt-in” method, your list is vulnerable to fake submissions, typos, and spambots that can plugin spam trap addresses.
As a result, it may not make sense to send an email to everyone in your address book.
Why? Because this catch-all repository more than likely contains email addresses that you don’t even know are in there. So if someone didn’t sign up to be a member of your email list, don’t annoy them by sending an email they didn’t ask for or need.
Avoid purchasing a nightmare.
If your primary objective is to try and grow your list as fast as possible, never purchase an email list.
Data supplied by list sellers is suspect or often out of date. What that means is that a high percentage of the email addresses on a purchased list are, more often than not, invalid. That’s because many of the list members no longer work at the company identified on the list. Or they have changed their email address. Either way, you’re virtually guaranteed of getting a hard bounce if you send an email to these addresses.
Another downside of a purchased list is that you pay for ALL of the names on it—even if they’re no good. And it pays to remember that it only takes a small percentage of spam complaints from bad or unsubscribed addresses to get blocked by Google.
If you’re collecting business cards at a trade show or one of your events to grow your list, it makes sense to individually contact those people to see if they want to subscribe to your list and content. The best way to do that is by making a separate list of high potential subscribers.
A great way to convert them and to meet the double opt-in requirement is to send these select people an email with an offer to entice them into legitimately subscribing to your list. As a best practice, you should send this group an email soon after capturing their email address—for example at an event or in a face-to-face meeting.
Hit your dashboard to get smart.
When you send an email to your list or a segment of it, you need to dedicate thoughtful time to analyze how your email campaign performed.
It’s vital that you continually confirm your list member’s interest in your content. And if subscribers aren’t responding to what you send, you need to understand why.
The best way to do that is to check your analytics dashboard to measure conversions and answer:
- | Who’s interacting with your content?
- | What’s resonating with them?
- | Why does one message or content asset perform better than another?
- | What actions are people taking consistently?
- | How many email platforms are being used to read your email?
- | Where are the geographies or locations that perform best?
- | What percentage of subscribers are reading your mail on mobile devices?
People will engage if they recognize that you consistently and regularly send valuable content to them. They can, in fact, start to expect emails from you if they find that your content addresses their unique needs or challenges.
So make sure that you reward their effort for opening your email with great stuff that inspires action and sustains interest for your next campaign.
Recognize that you need to continually experiment with content, delivery times, offers, and seasonal opportunities that can all enhance the success of your efforts. So when you find the right equation of all of these variables that delivers the results you’re looking for, do more of it often.
For lead insight, drill into your conversions.
With email marketing, conversions are what so many try so hard to achieve.
By analyzing those select few list members who actually convert on your emails with a Call-to-Action CLICK to an offer, you’ll uncover content that resonates with your tribe.
Drill into those leads that have converted and are of special interest by understanding what actions they have taken, what they are looking at, how long they are engaging and what they are doing next. These people are either interested in mimicking your email marketing tactics or they are truly interested in the value of your product or service.
So if you notice a consistent pattern or interest in a specialized component, feature or dimension of your content, reach out to them individually to inquire if they would like to learn more or just want to talk about their needs.
You can do this with a one-to-one personal email or through marketing automation email. Just don’t miss the opportunity to nurture an interested reader to the next stage of becoming a new or repeat customer.
Merge, purge and repeat with vengeance.
It’s a good idea to always be growing your email list from a variety of sources including:
- | Marketing automation software that captures site visitor information from website forms
- | Special software plugins + apps that pop-up over website content to capture an email address
- | CRM/Sales Management software
- | Trade shows
- | Special events
- | Face-to-face introductions + meetings
- | Referrals from past customers
All of these sources have value. But it can be costly to maintain multiple lists. So if you have duplicate subscribers across different lists, consider combining your lists into a master list and using groups to organize your subscribers. This can simplify your list management and may help to reduce the costs of email campaigns if your ESP | Email Service Provider charges you for the volume of email that you push each month.
If you plan on sending different types of content to different segments of your subscriber list, then you should create one list for your company and then divide it into groups based on interest.
For example, current customers may be more interested in content that helps them get more value from their relationship with you. And new leads will require different content to help convert them into paying customers including special limited-time-offers and promotions.
And without a doubt, there are plenty of opportunities to send emails to your entire list when a campaign has value to everyone on your list.
Combining disparate data sources to update your email list can be a bit of a challenge. It’s wise to remember that any time you integrate a non-verifiable source, some email addresses in that data will already be out of date as soon as you merge them into your house list. And after the integration and merge are completed, it’s more than likely that your next email push to the new larger list may see a slight drop from past performance.
This is the result of the natural cleansing and quality sharpening takes place over time with all addresses on a list. So don’t freak out. Just push ahead and keep sending great content that includes a single-minded Call-to-Action. Things will settle down and performance should improve over time.
Forget delivery frequency and focus on quality.
There’s no substituting for this. People want original content that’s relevant to them. You should also communicate with some regularity so people develop a relationship with your brand or solution.
Weekly or monthly emails are options that don’t overwhelm a community. If you always show up in someone’s inbox on Tuesday, people come to expect it. And when they open your content and are rewarded with thoughtful, quality writing and content that is formatted for easy reading, you will instantly be recognized as a cut above the ton of junk that most people receive way too much of.
Call to Action.
By following best-practices to build a CANN SPAM compliant, permission-based email list, organizations can create a win-win situation for both their customers and themselves. That’s because when customers receive valuable offers and content that is meaningful and relevant to them, the opportunity to enhance a long-term, profitable relationship gets easier.
To keep up on good email list housekeeping, start removing addresses that aren’t engaging or interested in what you’re sending or what you offer.
If you want to do email marketing well, never stop analysis of how you can do better. And experiment by changing small variables such as subject line, size of image, and prominence of Call-to-Action to see if any of these adjustments can improve your performance by even a few percentage points.
Want more great Content Marketing and email marketing tips? Join our email list by entering your email address in the field at the bottom footer of this page or just click the button below. We’d love to have you in our tribe so that we can share all that we know to make you more successful.
As president and creative director of TeamworksCom, Paul develops brand strategy, engineers content to express customer value and creates integrated online and content marketing solutions to help businesses succeed. Connect with Paul, send an Email, or just call 415.789.5830.
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