What matters most in email marketing? Using effective email marketing software is important and having creative designers and copywriters on your content marketing team is a big plus.
At the end of the day, though, it’s all about your email list. The people you send your emails to will determine whether or not your campaign is a success.
Marketers in ecommerce strive to grow their subscriber lists as large as they can, but does your email list size actually matter? Generally, no. It’s not the scale of your list building that matters, it’s the quality.
You could blast your email campaigns out to millions of addresses across all the email service providers, but if only a small number of those recipients actually open and engage with your emails, how much an email list worth? Not much at all.
How can you increase your email list value, then? In this article, we show you how you can tell a good email list from a bad one, then we dive into the ways you can increase your email list value for future lead generation.
What indicates a lack of quality in your email list?
Here are the most obvious ways you can tell if your email list lacks quality:
Low open rates. You might be sending emails to inactive email addresses, or perhaps your recipients simply don’t recognize the sender and the subject line isn’t eye-catching enough to get them to open.
Low click-through rates. The content of your emails isn’t inspiring your audience and, as a result, your call-to-actions (CTAs) aren’t attracting clicks.
High unsubscribe rates. Your recipients have either lost interest in your content, or it’s irrelevant to them (either in their life at large or at that stage in their customer lifecycle).
High bounce rates. Chances are you’re getting a lot of spam reports and abuse reports. Your email list likely contains a lot of non-existing addresses, people who haven’t explicitly subscribed to your list or people who are disappointed with your content.
If you’re seeing these indicators, it could be because you didn’t follow the email marketing best practices. Perhaps you:
Bought a third-party email list.
Didn’t ask permission from your contacts before sending them newsletters.
Didn’t deliver on the promises you made when they subscribed (e.g. regular discounts, webinars or free consultations).
Built your subscriber list using deception. For example, you automatically subscribed people when they registered or purchased on your website without making it clear.
In short, if your email list isn’t delivering the email marketing metrics and conversion rates you’re looking for, there’s a good chance you’ve been focusing on quantity over quality.
Just as you would with Google Analytics or SEO, you should compare your email marketing campaign results with digital marketing industry averages to work out if you need to improve. If you’re coming up short, it’s time to review your email list, get rid of inactive contacts and increase the value. This should be a priority in your marketing strategy.
What makes for a high-quality email list?
The goal is to have a high email subscriber value. A smaller but well-targeted email list can be more fruitful than a huge audience that is less interested in the content.
So, how do you know when the quality of your email list is high?
Permission. Your email subscribers have agreed that you can send them email newsletters, so you know you have a targeted audience.
Double opt-in. This ensures a person really wants to sign up, that their email address exists and that their subscription was not by mistake.
Confirmation. By asking your new subscribers to enter their email address twice, you can be sure there are no spelling mistakes.
How to increase the value of your email lists
Here’s how you can improve the quality of your email list and thus improve your email deliverability rates.
Send re-engagement campaigns. Before you remove inactive contacts from your email list completely, send them re-engagement emails to get them interested again. Perhaps offer them a special promotional benefit or coupon to come back and make a purchase.
Use customer surveys. These will help you get feedback on your campaigns and templates. Based on the results, you’ll know if you need to tweak your email content or move certain contacts to a new segmented list so they get sent more relevant content. This could improve your email open rate and click-through rate (CTR)..
Leverage autoresponders for inactive contacts. Marketing automation is a great way to save time and lower overhead costs. You can use it to send reminder emails at fixed intervals to people who don’t open your emails, rather than manually chasing them down.
Clean your email list. Remove all non-existing and inactive contacts. In other words, practice good email list hygiene. This can boost your email engagement metrics (less inactive users means higher engagement) and subsequently, improve your email health.
Know when to say “goodbye”. If individual subscribers no longer want to engage with your emails, let them go and direct them to your unsubscribe link or unsubscribe them manually. Instead of spending energy on inactive contacts, focus more on making active ones happy. This can increase the lifetime value of each subscriber and improve your return on investment (ROI) and return on sales ratio.
Don’t rush your email list cleaning. If someone doesn’t buy your product after receiving your first business email, that doesn’t mean they’re never going to buy it.
Give people an appropriate time frame before you cut them loose from your list. After all, just because someone isn’t clicking through to your landing page, it doesn’t mean they’re not forwarding your email to friends and family, or sharing it on social media.
It can hurt to see your email list fall in numbers, but when your remaining subscribers actively open, click through and engage with your content, your email list value goes right up.
Remember: it’s quality over quantity.