How to Create an Email List That Works

As a marketer, you can bet I get asked this question all the time. And while I do enjoy a good email campaign, I can’t deny that they have some weaknesses.

First up, they can be pretty hit and miss. Sometimes you’ll send out an email and it will work great, other times it can be a disaster. If you’re in marketing, you’ll know that success with email marketing is heavily reliant on having a good list. So, how can you create an email list that works?

There are several different ways you can go about doing this, but I’d like to suggest one approach that can help you create very specific and measurable results.

Segment Your List

I’ve discussed this a lot on my podcast, The MarketingSherpa Podcast, with Mynisha Munshi. And I’ll continue to discuss it here because it’s so important. When it comes to email marketing, there are three main things you need to have in mind:

  • Your target audience
  • Your email marketing message
  • Your segmented list

If you’re wondering what the big deal is with segmented lists, here’s a quick example:

Let’s say you’re the CEO of a luxury goods company. You’ve gotten to know your customers really well through social media (you have a popular Instagram account with 100K followers). You’ve also seen how valuable they are to your business. So, to keep in touch with these customers, you decide to send out an email. Now, you know that your customers are divided into two groups:

  • Buyers
  • Non-buyers

You’ll want to send the email to both groups but you don’t want to send it to everyone on your email list. This is when segmented lists come in really handy. So, you create two separate lists. One for buyers and one for non-buyers. Now, when you send out your email to the segmented list, you’ll see much more engagement and a higher open-rate. This is because your email will be more relevant to that particular group. When you send out an email to your entire list, you’re essentially throwing it out to the people who aren’t even interested in what you have to say. So, you’re losing out on valuable engagement and open rates which in turn hurts your bottom line.

Activate Your List

Now, I get it. You’ve got a list of 50K people and you want to make sure they all get to hear about your news tips or your newest product launch. But, there’s another way to go about this. You can activate your list. What does that mean?

You see, when you send out an email to your list of subscribers, you’re not actually getting that many more people to hear your message. You’re actually engaging with your list to get them to visit a particular site, to download a particular file, or to take some sort of action. So, while you want to make sure your email is getting to everyone, you’re not actually gaining new subscribers. You’re just encouraging current subscribers to do more of what you want them to do. This is where a lot of email marketing pain comes from. People not knowing what to do once they’re on the list. You see, when someone subscribes to your list, they shouldn’t have to do anything other than wait for your email. Once they receive it, they’ll know exactly what to do. This is why you’ll always see signs up for your email list at the top of the page. So, by simply providing them with enough value to make them want what you have to offer, you’ll gain a long-term subscriber who is much more likely to engage with you throughout the year.

Measure The Result

To understand if the effort you put into creating a good email list was worth it, you’ll need to measure it correctly. So, when you send out an email, you’ll want to look at things like:

  • Opened-rates
  • Clicks
  • Conversion rates
  • Demographics

You’ll want to track these metrics over time to see how they change. If you see that your opened rates, for example, increase after you send out an email with a special offer, then you know that you’re onto a good thing. But, if this number stays the same or decreases, then it’s time to question what you’re doing.

When you get started with email marketing, it can be a bit of a hassle to figure out what works and what doesn’t work. But, with a little planning and segmenting, you’ll be able to create an effective email list that will help you grow your business.

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