A big email marketing list is a good thing, right? Not always.

Too many marketers view their email marketing list in terms of size alone and not by the quality of the individuals (e.g., your existing and potential clients) that make it up. If you don’t take time to get to know the people in your list, you stand the risk of sending irrelevant, untimely, and potentially boring emails to the majority of your subscribers. This will result in poor engagement—sometimes referred to as email fatigue—and will lead to declining open rates and click-throughs, and ultimately poor sales. Remember, if you are sending irrelevant emails to your list, you will not only see limited success from your current campaigns, but you also risk your future campaigns.

Get to Know Your List by Identifying the Following People:

  • Customers/Clients: The further you can segment your customer lists the better. Segment by purchase type, frequency of purchases, purchase value, time of purchase (highlighting any seasonal activity), and any recent purchases.
  • Hot Prospects: These are people who have expressed an interest in your company by joining your mailing list, but have yet to make a purchase. Again, you should look to segment your lists by product interest and potential opportunity (e.g., a B2B marketer might want to create a list featuring SME prospects versus enterprise prospects, whereas a B2C marketer might want to segment by sex, age, or geography).
  • Brand Ambassadors: This group of people might never become customers. They could be made up of students researching a particular topic, consultants in your industry, competitors, business partners, journalists and bloggers, etc. While they may never pay for a product or service, they can be very useful in helping you distribute your message and influence new customers along the way.
  • Dead Wood: This group is unengaged, disinterested, or simply just not there anymore. Either reengage these people or get them off your list. They are costing you money and could potentially damage your reputation.

Only once you have segmented your lists into these various groups (and subgroups, remembering the same names can appear in multiple lists), can you start effectively planning truly engaging campaigns. This doesn’t mean you need to create a bespoke campaign for each group. Instead you should look at tweaking the message depending on the list. Remember, a regular customer may need less of an incentive to make a purchase than a less frequent buyer, so be careful how you distribute discounts and sales promotions. A simple change to a subject line, call to action, or offer may be all that is needed to optimize your message accordingly.

Important: Your entire list does not need to receive every email you send. Make sure your subscribers only receive messages that are relevant to their interests. You should also be careful not to flood your subscribers’ inboxes, so be sure to spread your campaigns out.

Who Can Help?

  • Your CRM System: If your business uses a CRM system like Salesforce.com correctly, most of the information you will need to segment your list down to the finest detail will be stored within this system.
  • Your Ecommerce Platform: Depending on how sophisticated a platform you are using, a great deal of the information you will need to segment your lists should be available within your ecommerce software.
  • Your Accounting Software: Again depending on the sophistication of the software being used, you may be able to pull usable data from your accounting software to help you get to know your lists a little better.

For more great tips on building creative email marketing strategies check out this free white paper from iContact.