How to build an Email Marketing List that Actually Works
You are only as good as the company you keep, and in email marketing, that means maintaining a vibrant, growing list of engaged customers.
But, as many will attest, doing so is hard work:
- According to industry experts like the Relevancy Group’s David Daniels and FreshAddress‘s Bill Kaplan, about 30% of subscribers’ email addresses “churn” every year.
- Compounding this challenge is increasing pressure from major ISPs to remove “disengaged” subscribers from lists. At last month’s Mediapost Email Insider Summit, a representative from Yahoo! Mail told attendees that user engagement is an increasingly important metric in how a sender’s “reputation” or deliverability-worthiness is calculated. Unfortunately, however, industry insiders say too many mailers deploy messages to people who show little-to-no signs of life: “We’ve analyzed lists where the retailer was seeing below average response rates and showed that nearly 40% of their lists were unengaged subscribers, many of whom had not opened or clicked on a message in 90 days,” says Chip House, VP of industry & relationship marketing at ExactTarget. “Another 30 – 45% of the list had just a few actions in 90 days. Truly the 80/20 rule. We’ve found with the appropriate frequency and relevancy you can engage a much larger segment of your audience. That’s why user-defined frequency and content preferences are key.” Marketers have had few options for growing their email databases “the right way.” Aside from organic growth (i.e., direct opt-in on their web sites or in retail stores), the choices have been limited, and often extremely insensitive to consumer privacy (a.k.a., back-alley brokers who sell pre-packaged names of people who had no idea what they were getting into when they checked–or didn’t realize they needed to uncheck–some subscription box).
So what is a marketer to do?
First and foremost, follow the industry’s gold-standard for permission, “Confirmed Opt-in.“ Here’s how:
- Grow your list in a manner that always puts the consumer first.
- Find consumers where they are and generate list growth, don’t buy it.
- Make sure that consumers opt-in directly to receive communication from your brand, and verify that their information is never resold, rented or otherwise misused.
- Use a platform that enables seamless followup: once the consumer sign ups, send him or her an immediate confirmation or “welcome” email.
Then, adapt to consumer behavior:
- In our burgeoning era of Digital Attention Deficit Disorder — with consumers truly surfing the web a mile a minute — take advantage of the ability to capture people’s attention “in the moment.”
- Don’t wait and hope for people to find your site, click through a bunch of pages, and maybe (or maybe not) find your email registration page. Get your call to action in front of your target audience where they shop, look for information, and socialize online.
The stats might look daunting, but don’t let them scare you. Do the right things and your list won’t just be safe, it’ll thrive.