Email List Growth Strategies: It’s All About the Relationship

Part III: Audience Development: It’s All About the Relationship

In our last post, on list growth we talked about how capturing an email address is the first step towards building a relationship with your audience. But just because you got the email address doesn’t mean your work is done. Now it’s time to talk about how to grow that relationship in a way that maximizes the lifetime value (LTV) of your audience while keeping them delighted with your content.

Why do I need a relationship?

If you’ve achieved significant growth in your email list size, then you’re doing great. But even the largest list won’t do you any good if there are no opens or clicks on the emails you send. There are a few things you need to be aware of once you have this nice big list:

  1. The unengaged. This is the part of your email list that does you no good – they’re not opening or clicking on your emails. Your options are either to find a way to get them to engage or remove them from your list entirely before they start affecting your inbox placement rate.
  2. Unsubscribers. People will unsubscribe from your list; it’s inevitable. The bad news is once they leave, it’s incredibly difficult to get them back. You need to be thinking about ways to minimize unsubscribes, and a solid relationship is the best way to do that.

So how do you build this relationship? Here are a few tools that will keep the engagement – and the love – growing:

  • Cross-promotion. Once your subscribers are getting your emails, offer them the chance to subscribe to additional email newsletters and programs. The more content they’re willing to accept from you, the better your relationship is.
  • Preference Centers. You can use preference centers two ways:
    • When a user clicks to subscribe, take them to a preference center to immediately let them know the other things they can subscribe to. This can increase the opportunities you have to reach them: if this causes them to subscribe to two newsletters rather than one, that’s double the chances for engagement.
    • If a user is unsubscribing, take them to the preference center to see if there are options there that might make suit them better – a last attempt to save the relationship. It’s possible that they still enjoy your content; they just don’t want so much of it. They may prefer other newsletters or a reduced frequency.
  • Re-engagement campaigns. If you have subscribers who have fallen by the wayside in terms of opens and clicks, design a re-engagement campaign to help bring the dormant parts of your email list back into the fold. (You can read how one company did this here.)

These are just a few ways that you can make the most of your relationship with your subscribers and increase their LTV, but the most important thing is to keep sending great content that they love. They’ll come back to you again and again, and it all starts with a large, healthy list.

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