In the email marketing world, the widely accepted mantra is that the money is in the list.
This saying is trying to imply that the more people on your email list that you're actively engaging with and consistently sending content to, the more money you'll be able to pull out of that email list and the more ROI it will drive to you over time.
This is mostly true. However, what a lot of people are not accounting for with that mantra is the quality of people on that email list. The quality of people on your email list is often determined by the methods that you're using to acquire those people.
It should also take into account that people on your list may not be interested in what you're offering that far down the line. So, maybe they'll be interested a couple months from now, maybe even in a couple years, but this really varies by industry and advertiser.
Ultimately, a larger list does not necessarily mean that every time that you email that list you can be extracting more and more money from it. One thing to take into account with an email list is that it is acquired from a quality source and that the people who are on your email list are genuinely interested in what you have to offer.
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An example would be if you have a store, and people provide an email address to enter a contest and you drop those entries into the email list. While this is an opportunity to get your brand in front of them, these are a different quality of people from those who seek to join your business’ list. Those people are more substantial to your business than those that are just entering a contest.
Over time, your list can get bloated especially if you're pulling in all different qualities of leads and quality of people into this list. For example, a restaurant puts people into their list who are extremely well qualified and interested in what their upcoming events are, et cetera.
Maybe that same restaurant is dropping in email addresses of people who have dined there and who have happened to book online through OpenTable or a site like that.
Now over time this builds up to this giant email list, which goes back to the mantra that the larger the list the more money you're going to make. Eventually you look at it and you realize that only a small percentage of these people on this email list are remotely interested in the business. You can see that because very few people are actually opening those emails, let alone acting on them.
This can be a very big problem, considering you're wasting a lot of time and money and potentially harming your reputation with all of these people you're emailing who are obviously not interested.
My advice is to run an email re-engagement campaign. This is where you send out an email to your entire list with the intention of understanding who is actually interested in staying on your list and who isn’t. The “how-to” is a simple, two-step process I’ve outlined below.
- Start a new list on your current ESP or get set up with a completely new email service provider, and start a new list with them. (The rest of these steps assume you are changing your ESP.)
- Create four emails blasts in your existing ESP to your existing list. In each of these emails, say something like, “We're not sure that you're still in love with us and we want to know that we're not wasting your time. We would hate ourselves if we did that. Click this link and sign up for our new list if you're still interested in staying a part of our newsletter. Otherwise, no hard feelings we'll stop emailing you.” This is a nice way to see who on your email list still wants to be in contact with your brand.
Why Send Multiple Emails?
Your goal is to get those people who do not want your emails off of your list. Of course, you want to keep the ones who do want to get your emails engaged. So you need to make sure that you're not losing them just because they missed that first email. In a perfect world, it would take one email and people would get the message and the people who are interested would stay on onboard, click the link, re-subscribe and the people who weren't would simply drop off.
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However, what usually ends up happening is a lot of people miss that initial email or don't take it seriously. I suggest that as you're setting up that initial email, also set up at least two or three follow ups with an increased urgency in each message, driving home the fact that if that person does not take action on that email, they will not be receiving any emails from you in the future.
This is definitely going to cut down on the amount of subscribers on your list, often very substantially. You will know one thing for sure, this new list that you're building is going to be much more engaged and much more interested in what you have to say. The value that you have to provide will also be much improved than a massive, less targeted list.
What Do I Put in the Re-Engagement Emails?
Regardless of if you're keeping the same email service provider, like Constant Contact or Mail Chimp, or if you're switching to a new one, here is what I would put in the re-engagement emails.
- When you're putting the link to subscribe to the new list, call it an “update profile”. Say, “We want you to update your profile. Click to make sure you update your profile and keep getting our emails.”
- Create the link to subscribe to your new list and when you are sending that out, use what are called “tokens”. Tokens are a way to insert information about the subscriber into the email message. So for example, tokens are what you're using so that every email is getting customized to the person you're sending it to, for example, it will say “Dear John” or “Dear Mike”, etc. I would suggest to use those tokens in that subscribe link. Read up on how to prepopulate the subscription form of whatever mail service you're driving the person to sign up with. And you'd use URL variables to pass these tokens, so it might look like this: your-list-name.mailchimp.com/subscribe/firstname=$First.Name$&lastname=$Last.Name$&email=&$Subscriber.Email$
- When your subscriber clicks the link, they're seeing that subscribe form but they're already seeing their first name, their last name and their email address already plugged in. Whatever information you have on that person is already going to be there, and it's going to look to like they're just updating their profile. This will let them do it with one click. If need be, they can fix any wrong information like a typo in their last name.
- Tip: On this new list subscribe form, offer multiple options for list segmentation. For example, offer a newsletter, specials, tips and tricks, and offer people the ability to opt into one but not the other, or all of them. Create these as fields when you’re making your new list. Having the ability to segment your email blasts by interest means that every time you're emailing these people, they're only getting the exact content that they want from you. As a result, they're going to engage with your brand and convert substantially higher.
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I hope you find these tricks useful, and I hope that you make it a business New Year's resolution to run some type of list re-engagement campaign with your newsletter if you’re not seeing the numbers you want.
Don't just buy into the hype that the money is in the list, and believe that you don't have to do any work at all for your list. If you follow the tips, you’ll see the engagement on your email list grow.