How to Build a Highly Engaged Email Marketing List


Out of all of your marketing strategies, email marketing still ranks among the most effective ways to connect with your audiences.

When it comes to B2B marketing, it’s the most effective channel for revenue generation, according to 59% of marketers surveyed by BtoB Magazine. The statistics are just as impressive among B2C retailers, with 80% indicating that email marketing is the greatest driver of customer retention, according to a report in eMarketing.

But even with those type of results, you’re likely settling for a decent email strategy when it actually could be great.

To get stellar results from your email marketing strategy, you need a great foundation—a highly engaged email marketing list. That means your list should be filled with subscribers who are really interested in what you have to offer.

With a list filled with subscribers who find your email messages compelling enough to open and further engage, you’re able to significantly increase the likelihood that you hit your goals for conversions, including sales.

15 best practices for building a highly engaged email marketing list

To get started, take a look at this list of 15 best practices for building a highly engaged email marketing list.

1. Don’t take that shortcut.

Never take the easy way out by buying or renting email list. It may seem like a good idea if you’re trying to get contacts quickly, but it’s not sustainable.

Even if the subscriber list seems ideal — hitting all the demographic requirements of your targeted audience, resist the temptation to purchase it. The likelihood that any of the subscribers will be highly engaged for the long run are minimal if they didn’t opt in to join your list from the start.

2. Develop the right mindset.

Before developing a strategy for growing your list, it’s also important that you have a healthy appreciation for your prospects’ time. You’re asking for permission to make an appearance in their inbox for one-to-one interactions.

By approaching your email campaign with a high level of respect for your subscribers, you’re more likely to be more thoughtful when personalizing messaging and promotions. It’s also important to avoid the urge to choose quantity over quality.

You’re not growing your email list just for the sake of growing it. You want highly engaged subscribers who will be more likely to convert. And to keep them engage you must focus on personalized experiences.

3. Perfect the intake form.

When requesting contact information, you have the opportunity to ask for a few more details that could help you further personalize the subscriber’s experience with you. Ask for a few more relevant details, including birth date, preferences in services/products and other interests.

There’s no need to go overboard; choose questions that make sense for your brand and your products/services. If, for instance, your ideal customer has an annual revenue of $50 million or more, include a field requesting information about their company’s annual sales. Keep it simple with a drop-down menu.

Remember that this step will set you up to start delivering personalized email messages to your subscribers.

4. Get to know your audiences.

Developing highly engaged email marketing lists requires getting to know who you’re talking to. That’s the No. 1 experience customers said that they want from you, according to the Adobe Experience Index.

The survey revealed that the top customer expectation for successful experiences is to “know me and respect me.”

With email marketing automation pulling in relevant data about your subscribers, you can increasingly deliver more personalized experiences that increase your ability to connect with them. Use the data to gain those insights to develop more creative, relevant promotions and content.

5. Further segment your audiences.

More than likely, audience segmentation already is integrated as part of your marketing strategy.

If so, consider further segmenting based on the data you’re constantly gaining about your subscribers. Using features like dynamic content through your marketing automation, you can easily customize your emails to match each of your subscriber’s interests—another critical way to increase engagement.

6. Personalize content.

As you gain more insights about your audiences through marketing automation, use that information to become more thoughtful about developing your content. Pay attention to the cues that inform you about the types of promotions different audience segments prefer, as well as the design and messaging.

The data you’re gaining from marketing automation can help you further customize your email marketing campaigns to engage with your audience segments. Always keep your customers in mind. Ask how can you delight them, engage them or help them with each of your emails.

7. Offer a promotion as an exchange.

If you’re in the B2C business, a discount on a purchase can be the incentive a prospect needs to get on your mailing list.

Your offer could anywhere from 10% to 30% off for a limited time. Figure out what moves your targeted audience to make a purchase, the next key to building a personalized campaign.

With every purchase your subscribers make, your marketing automation platform is able to capture that data. As a result, your email marketing campaigns can become more and more personalized with every interaction—the key to boosting engagement.

8. Create valuable content as an incentive.

In the B2B sector, it’s particularly important to fill your email list with subscribers who are interested in your products/services, especially if you’re trying to send qualified leads to your sales team.

One of the keys to attracting the right audience—and encouraging them to join your subscriber list—is through rich, downloadable content. Think of the pains your ideal client is experiencing.

Maybe it’s related to making adjustments to the quickly evolving tech industry or choosing the right time-saving platforms from among hundreds of options.

Develop an ebook, a worksheet or other gated content that can only be downloaded after the prospects have submitted their email address and other contact information.

Prospects who take the time to submit their personal information are indicating that they have an interest in your product/services.

By continuing to offer that type of value through other relevant content, you can increase the likelihood that you will have a highly engaged subscriber list.

However, it’s important to remember that the deliverable should be well executed and viewed as valuable to your audience. Anything less will be a bad reflection on your brand.

If a subscriber downloads your content only to find that it doesn’t live up to the value of submitting their personal information, they may feel like they’re the victim of a bait-and-switch tactic.

9. Host a webinar.

Another way to find your ideal audience—subscribers who will be engaged with your products/services—is to host a webinar.

Invite experts, from your own team or those from outside, to discuss a trending topic that would be of interest to your targeted audience.

Whether or not the attendees are already on your subscriber list, those who sign up and actually attend should be further segmented in another audience category.

These are among your most engaged audiences. Pay them special attention with highly personalized email marketing campaigns.

10. Perfect the timing.

Nothing quite diminishes your efforts to connect with your audiences than poor timing. No matter how much effort you put into developing your content and promotions, your subscribers may totally ignore your emails if they’re hitting their inbox at the wrong time.

Leverage your marketing automation to gain insights about the right time to send emails to each subscriber based on past activity.

11. Create engaging landing pages.

Devote as much effort to creating engaging landing pages as you do to your efforts to attract subscribers. Invest time into creating visually interesting pages and rich content to further pull your subscribers into their experience with your brand.

Keep the customer journey in mind as you develop emails campaigns. Tailor the experience to ensure that the subscriber is getting more value from your content as they move closer to making a purchase.

12. Ask questions.

In addition to gaining insights from your marketing automation software, it’s important to solicit direct engagement from your subscribers. You can simply ask them to rate their experience with you. This is a way to deepen the relationship with your subscribers; it shows that you’re interested in what they have to say.

Wrap up

For more help on developing a highly engaged email marketing list, talk to us about Delivra’s marketing automation and how it can help you better connect with your subscribers.


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