Building an email list is no simple task, especially if you're a small to midsize company in the Bay Area managing a plethora of other day-to-day tasks (so big kudos to any of you who have successfully done this!). It takes time and thoughtful effort to craft strategic messaging that shows a prospect or client the value of giving you their contact information. We would know. We've cultivated email lists upwards of 49,000 local opt-in subscribers who trust us to deliver them fact-based and award-winning local news and lifestyle content daily.
Aside from the challenge of getting the emails, understanding how to use them to build relationships and ultimately increase revenue is a vital piece of your marketing strategy.
5 Ways to Optimize Your Email List
Having a list of emails can be one of the most valuable marketing tools, but only if you know how to use it. Providing regular valuable content is essential to growing and retaining your database. Gone are the days when you can email sporadically and expect a significant response. Instead, here are five ways you can start building profitable relationships with your email list.
#1 Send out a newsletter consistently
Sending out promotional emails is a great way to boost sales. However, you're missing the opportunity to build trust with your list if you're not also sending informative and engaging content on a regular basis. Your relationship with your contact list is an essential component not only to your conversion rate (i.e., the percentage of readers who end up buying from you) but also to creating repeat loyal customers.
We send out newsletters to our opt-in subscribers of all five local news websites and two online lifestyle publications, The Six Fifty and Peninsula Foodist. Across the board, these emails receive our highest open rates. Express, our daily news digest email, is sent to over 49,000 locals, has a 50% average open rate (twice the industry average) and is the largest driver of traffic to our websites because our readers see the value in receiving and reading it.
We do sell advertising in this newsletter, but the content is what drives our readers to continue opening it.
#2 Find the sweet spot for promotions
Whether you have a sale, new product or special event to tell your readers about, promotional emails are one of the most effective ways to increase demand. However, there is a delicate balance between spamming people's inboxes and letting them know you have something special going on. Unfortunately, there is no direct answer to how many you should send, so it's very important to take note of your email statistics (open rate, click-through rate, unsubscribes, etc.) to be able to gauge if too many people are feeling spammed.
We only send out two promotional emails per month that tell our readers about other local businesses' special promotions, events and/or branding since we send out a large amount of other content on a regular basis. But other companies sometimes send out two promotional emails per week.
#3 Always have a call to action (CTA)
Your email should always have one specific call-to-action which tells the viewer exactly what you want them to do after reading. A couple of examples include: Buy Now, Limited time offer, Get a quote, Learn more, RSVP.
#4 Don't underestimate the importance of your subject line
Your subject line may be the most important detail of your email campaign. It's what convinces the reader to open your email. A few best practices for subject lines include:
• Keep it short and sweet, under 50 characters
• Put all important information first
• Avoid words like "free," "offer," "credit," "act now"
• Do not use all caps or too many exclamation marks or symbols
#5 Monitor your stats
Your email statistics are your crystal ball into what email practices are and are not working. The main statistics you want to pay attention to are:
Open rate: How many people opened your email. A low open rate can be a reflection of poorly written subject lines or an indication that readers are not finding value in the content you've been sending.
Click-through rate: How many people clicked on a link in your email. This reveals how effective your email design and copy was in convincing your reader to take action.
Unsubscribe rate: How many people clicked "unsubscribe." An unsubscribe rate over 0.5% indicates that people are not seeing the value in the content you're sending them or feel spammed. A big red flag!
Bounce rate: How many emails that were undeliverable. If you have a high bounce rate (over 5%), it is probably time to clean your email list and make sure you aren't sending to inactive/undeliverable emails.
Becoming an email marketer doesn't happen overnight
However, like anything else in business, sometimes it's just about optimizing one more part of your email marketing strategy, like adding a monthly newsletter or starting to pay attention to your email statistics. Of course, continuing to build your list with locals interested in your business is a vital part of the process. It's important to not only reach as many people as possible, but the right people. We have a growing list of over 49,000 locals, so if you're looking for new ways to attract new subscribers and/or customers, we can help.