Email Marketing Priority #1: List Building

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Photo by Markus Spiske on Unsplash

The money is in your list. This is as true now — in the post-GDPR era — as it has ever been. Despite this, list building is often an afterthought for many email marketers who instead focus on hitting the same old names with the same old campaigns in the hope of squeezing every drop of revenue from them.

There are a number of things email marketers who adopt this strategy should consider:

  • The average useful lifespan of an email address is only 18 months. The longer you own a subscriber, the more likely it will bear diminishing returns.
  • List fatigue is a very real threat to your business. The moment you start boring your subscribers with the “same old, same old” is the moment that you lose future sales (no matter how relevant and engaging your future campaigns are).
  • The most successful email you will ever send will nearly always be one of the first emails a subscriber receives from you (since this is the time when your subscribers are at their most engaged).

Start Building

With all this in mind, list size can be a bit of a vanity metric. You might have many thousands of subscribers, but how many of them are productive?

A good way of checking how well your “historic” lists perform against new subscribers is to segment sends based on the age of subscriptions.

I can guarantee, as soon as you see the comparison between old and new subscribers, you’ll want to start building.

Note: Old email addresses still hold value but might need re-engaging to breathe new life into them. Check out this post for some great re-engagement advice.

Fresh Ideas

Segmenting subscribers by age will also help you drive maximum efficiency from your email marketing campaigns. Even if a campaign is old, as long as it is relevant, it will remain fresh in the eyes of someone who has never seen it before.

Constantly creating fresh content is one of the biggest challenges marketers face. It’s time-consuming and expensive — so anything you can do to extend the useful lifespan of a piece of content should also be a priority.

Set Objectives

Setting targets around subscriber acquisition will help you focus on list growth. Testing the various routes to acquisition (comparing and contrasting engagement from subscribers acquired from sales, blog posts, webinars, etc.) will also help you focus on which strategies drive the optimum results.

Is list growth a priority for your business? Share your comments below:

This post first appeared on the iContact Email Marketing Blog.

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Marketing Strategist, Author of #BecomingTHEExpert, Content Marketing Trainer, and Cyclist. Check out my author profile:

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