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How to Create the Perfect Email List

Email marketing continues to be a top choice among marketers when it comes to generating return on investment (ROI). It brings major results to the table since it helps create positive brand awareness and continued touch-points with prospective and loyal customers. But the thing is, email marketing only works if subscribers choose to hear from your company through emails. This is why you need to have an email list — one that exhibits quality and is highly engaged.

Reaching the right audience with the right message at the right time is vitally important to drive positive results in your email marketing. And it all starts with growing an engaged audience. A healthy email list is one valuable asset that can help steer your business to the path of success. Moreover, you have 100% control over your list, which means you can use it to contact prospects at any point in time, with any kind of message you desire.

Creating the perfect email list

The importance of building an engaged email list

The best campaigns start with the best list, so building an email list should be one of your top priorities. But it doesn’t stop there. Given a competitive business climate, it’s crucial to improve the quality of the email list you built to get better campaign results.

Small and medium-size businesses (SMBs) find this to be true. According to a survey by Campaign Monitor, 66% of SMBs want to increase email list quality, viewing it as more important than increasing list size and conversion rates.

importance of email lists

In building an engaged email list, you have to prioritize quality, relevance, and volume. The people on your list should be genuinely interested in your brand. When the first two priorities are met, you can start focusing on quantity.

Tips on creating the perfect email list

Growing an engaged email list requires an ongoing effort that pays off big time. Whether you’re working on an existing list or starting a new one, there are key ways you can create a high-quality email list that drives engagement. Below are some helpful tips on how you can build an engaged email list the right way.

  1. Use opt-in and sign-up forms.

Every single subscriber in your list must be acquired through opt-in. It’s vital that your subscribers explicitly request to be on your list and opt-in to hear from you — something we call as permission-based.

Permission-based email lists matter because they deliver 30-40% open rates and 20% click-through rates, as well as drive significant levels of sales and revenue. These numbers should be enough to make you use an opt-in form.

The first thing to consider is to make it easy and exciting for anyone to opt-in through a sign-up form. Keep your forms simple and clear. Moreover, make sure your opt-in forms are strategically placed in your website. Some good places to consider include your header or navigation bar, sidebar, about page, website footer, and checkout page, among others.

Future Learn placed a sign-up form at the footer of their website.

Sign up box bottom of the page

2. Collect the right data from the start.

Many marketers consider quality data as a gold mine. After all, data-driven email marketing optimizes subscriber engagement and drive conversions. However, there’s always the struggle to acquire the data you need to accomplish your campaign goals.

The key here is to collect the right data right from the start — hint: in your sign-up forms. Collecting information from subscribers can help improve engagement in the long run. For example, you can ask for their birthday information and then send relevant birthday offers as a reward. This way, you get to track and analyze the data you need that’s related to your email marketing campaigns.

However, there are instances when all you’ve collected are email addresses. What you can do is figure out the data you already have — it can be past purchase behavior, customer status, geography or length of time on your email list — and leverage it for personalization that will improve your list quality. More on this below.

3. Add an opt-in incentive.

Not everyone likes sharing their personal information for free. So how do you cater to those people to make them join yet another newsletter? You offer them something valuable in exchange for a sign-up, also known as a lead magnet.

Have the right mix of incentives, sign-up forms, and valuable content to send out. Putting all these ingredients together can drive more sign-ups and sales.

In choosing what incentive to give, the key is to make it worth the price of admission — that is, an email. You can offer exclusive deals and discounts, free content and downloads, the list goes on. Changing your offer from time to time is also a good idea. Find out which offer works best for you.

A Beautiful Mess offers valuable content in exchange for a sign-up.

giveaways for signing up

4. Ensure email list health.

Having a healthy email list helps you get the most out of this highly valuable email marketing asset. A strong email list has stable or increasing open and click-through rates and a decreasing list decay. You have a quality list if you can segment and personalize messages and tie your email campaigns directly to ROI.

High engagement is the biggest indicator of a quality list. Ensure your email list is healthy by keeping an eye on your engagement metrics. But what metrics show high engagement? Open rate, click through rate, revenue generated and social shares are significant metrics to measure.

email engagement metrics

Source: Campaign Monitor

5. Segment your email list.

Sending the same email to everyone is something you must avoid at all cost since not every subscriber on your email list is equally engaged. It’s critical to make your emails relevant to the recipient as often as possible to improve the effectiveness of your email marketing campaigns. This is why you need to use email list segmentation.

In essence, segmentation sorts your contacts into different lists or “buckets” based on the information you have on them and their engagement. You can differentiate your contacts based on interests, preferences, location, behavior, customer type, etc. List segmentation lets you deliver content that’s relevant, useful and worthy of your recipient’s time

According to DMA, email segmentation and personalization were the most effective email strategies of 2017. In addition, 74% of marketers reported an increase in customer engagement due to targeted personalization. These stats alone emphasize the benefits you can get from segmenting your email list.

Below is an example of an email sent based on the subscriber’s location.

targeting emails

6. Provide valuable, personalized content.

People want content that delivers benefits. Balancing your promotional offers with value-added content, such as newsletters, e-books and blogs, is one key to maintaining an engaged email list. Likewise, personalized emails provide relevance to subscribers and help increase your open and click-through rates.

Personalizing your content adds value to your customers’ experiences, thus leaving a measurable impact on your ROI and revenue. In fact, revenue is 5.7 times higher in emails that employ personalization. Through list segmentation, you can personalize your emails to include recipient name, location, product recommendations, and other things relevant to their individual interests.

Send your subscribers valuable, content-rich emails personalized to their interests and preferences early on. Doing so will make them more likely to open your promotional emails in the future, click-through and potentially convert.

Pizza Hut knows how to combine personalization with a promotion.

personalized emails

Wrap Up

In today’s era of email marketing, having a quality email list matters more than having one with hundreds of thousands of unequally engaged subscribers. Focusing on growing an engaged list — and constantly improving it — is vital to increase the success of your email marketing campaigns. Put your best effort into building the perfect email list as it serves as the key to building and nurturing customer relationships over time.

Jericho Gonzales

Jericho Gonzales is a Content Marketing Specialist at Campaign Monitor. After seven years of feeling empty and dissatisfied with his career in the financial industry, he decided to follow his dreams and become a writer. When not busy with wordcraft, he immerses himself in the worlds of fantasy and science fiction, whether it be in the form of novels, video games, or movies.

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