Email Marketing Lists – The good, the bad and the ugly

Email marketing is worth your money, time and effort – statistics have shown that. It’s a great way to expand and grow your business and brand, develop consumer relationships and streamline your sales process. As you can probably tell, we love it, and we’re a bit obsessed.

It’s very well choosing email marketing as part of your marketing strategy, but it’s no good without one important thing – data. You need a data list to send your emails too.

According to email marketing analysts, around 30% of your subscribers will be removed from your list every year, meaning you need to continually grow and develop your list.


The good

  Good email marketing lists have been built by you. It includes existing customers, hot prospects and those engaged with your brand. It’s not easy to build good email marketing lists, and it certainly cannot be done overnight. If you don’t have a good list, with engaged subscribers, your email marketing campaign won’t have a great amount of impact.

Here are our top tips for generating a really good email marketing list:

1. Create great content – Your content needs to be amazing if you want people to stay subscribed. If it’s really great content they’ll forward it to friends, family and colleagues who aren’t on your list.

2. Create a lead generating campaign – Offer a whitepaper or an eBook, make your visitors enter an email address to unlock the content and they’ll come back for more.

3. Promote an online contest – Have entrants submit their email address to enter.

4. Use social media – Promote your content on social media, with a locked gateway. This forces users to enter an email address.

5. Capture email addresses on your website – Encourage sign ups by placing submission forms in an obvious place on your website. Don’t make visitors hunt for it.


The bad

There are many ways to gather bad email marketing lists, and there are many bad ways to treat your email list. Avoid doing these things – at all costs:

1. Focus on quantity, not quality

It can be easy to gather a bunch on email addresses and send campaigns out to them, known as a ‘batch and blast’ send.  A large list isn’t necessarily a good thing. A large list of unknown contacts is difficult to manage, and large amount of people may only be remotely interested in what you have to say.

Try this: Be ruthless with your email list. Get rid of those contacts who are not engaged, instead focus on those who are hot prospects.

2. Setting incorrect expectations

When someone signs up to your email campaigns, you should send a follow up introductory email about what kind of content the recipient should expect and how often. Your subscribers should know this before they have signed up, but send a confirmation email out of courtesy.

Try this: Explain the content, inform the subscriber of the frequency, and inform them of the design of the emails. This way they’ll know what to expect when your email arrives.

3. Only analysing open rates

Like most marketers, you’ll probably enjoy analysing your campaign metrics. It’s important to focus on all areas of your reports, and not just open rates. Open rates are sometimes counted by how many people chose to display the images, and not the actual amount of emails opened.

Try this: Look at other metrics, such as, total clicks, soft bounces, hard bounces, abuse complaints and unsubscribes, to get the bigger picture of how successful your campaign has been.


fast-ways-get-get-subscribers-to-unsubscribeThe ugly

  There are bad email lists that can be helped. And then there are The Ugly email lists. Despite the senders best interests, some of these mistakes are unforgivable.

 1. Buying a terrible list  

Of course bought data lists have their own pros and cons. Buying data is a quick fix for companies who have no data to begin with, and want to showcase their brand or latest deal to a large amount of people quickly. Once you have contacted your cold list, the interested contacts can be nurtured, so that your list improves. It is a good starting position.

But on the flip side, buying data can be risky. Some companies prey on new email marketers, and will sell lists that are useless, or full of dead data. Buy data from a DMA approved data house.

  2. You don’t honour unsubscribes and bounces

Most email marketing providers will have systems that automatically quarantine those contacts who have unsubscribed or the email has bounced, so that you can’t send to those people again. But not all do. This should be something you check before signing on the dotted line – or you may just have given yourself a lot of work, and a great big headache.

It’s frustrating receiving emails that you don’t want or need, so to avoid damage to your brand, unsubscribe those contacts quickly.

3. Your list isn’t relevant

You’ve gathered or bought a list, but it isn’t relevant to the message you want to convey. Think about the type of content that your subscribers want to receive. There’s absolutely no point sending emails regarding pensions to a list of under-25s that you’ve bought. As mentioned before set realistic expectations and don’t lie about what kind of content you will be sending out.

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