Issue #24

How to build an engaged email list: 3 tactics to use this year

Conversions Email Marketing
6 min read
In this Article

3 Tactics to Build an Engaged Email ListAre you collecting emails, but not getting the engagement you desire?

This looks different for everyone.

Maybe people aren’t opening your emails.

Or perhaps they aren’t taking the next step to buy from you.

Whatever the cause, there’s a chance you’ve got some laggards on your email list. And, an email list is no place for inactive subscribers. But, there’s more going on here.

There’s also a good chance that you need to clean your list. The simplest thing to do is to delete everyone. (I know. I know. You just clenched your pearls but give me a chance to explain.)

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Why do you need an engaged list anyway?

It’s one thing to build a list. It’s another thing to create an engaged list.

As a business owner, you should focus on how to build an engaged email list. After all, the difference between creating an engaged list and growing a big list could be sales or engagement.

Having better engagement means higher open rates, higher conversions, and an overall audience who is interested and waiting to hear what you have to offer next.

Personally, I’d rather have 1,000 engaged subscribers instead of 100,000 subscribers and a 10% open rate.

What about you?

How to Build an Engaged Email List

How to build an email list that converts

While the easiest thing to do to re-energize your list is to delete everyone or a group of subscribers, it’s also not the smartest approach for a goal digger like yourself.

Rather than removing all of your subscribers, you can clean your list, segment your subscribers into behavior-based tags, or use re-engagement campaigns to win-back your subscribers.

How to create an engaged email list that converts- Clean your list early and oftenClean your list early and often

There are a few ways to clean your email list.

Delete older or unengaged subscribers

Though this is a valid option, I recommend collecting data to support your decision.

Start by seeing how many bounced email addresses are in limbo. Many email service providers will weed out email addresses that have bounced and remove them after the third try.
How to clean your email list- deleting unengaged subscribers

You’ll want to identify these email addresses first because these are the ones you can either update if it’s a simple typo, like .con instead of .com. You can also use this list to identify the email addresses that you don’t need to take action on (since your provider will remove them for you).

ConvertKit’s cold subscriber filter is another resource to help you capture data about your subscribers to help you determine who should be deleted and when. This filter enables you to identify the subscribers you can eliminate by locating anyone who hasn't opened or clicked an email in 30 days.

This allows you to keep active subscribers and remove or re-engage those who no longer want to hear from you. That way, you’re not blindly deleting people who love your emails.

Use an email verification service

These services allow you to find bounced and inactive email addresses on your list. They also remove known spam traps. These are old email addresses that internet service providers (ISPs) flag and use to label senders as spammers.

Using one of these services will cleanse your list and allow you to delete poor subscribers before they begin to impact your deliverability.

Some email verification services include:

How to create an engaged email list that converts- segment your subscribersSegment your subscribers

According to Hubspot, the average email list for a B2B company loses about 22.5% subscribers annually due to natural causes (unsubscribes, bad or old email addresses, incorrectly typed email addresses). It’s estimated that this percentage is higher for B2C businesses.
22.5% subscribers annually due to natural causesSo, how can you ensure that your list continues to grows despite that natural drop off?

The first thing you can do is stop sending everything to everyone.

Whether you know it or not, it’s hurting your deliverability and the know-like-trust factor that you want to build with your community. Not everyone on your list wants your newsletter. Not everyone wants your daily promotional emails. Stop sending your subscribers emails they don’t want.

There are a few built-in features to help you accomplish this with ConvertKit.

Tags and segments

Tags are used to organize people. You can use them to identify where subscribers come from, group them together, or to create your own customer or active subscriber lists.
Tags are used to organize people

Link triggers

You can use link triggers to create use the internal survey method to make sure you are giving your community a chance to voice their desires, fostering co-creation, and removing the guesswork out of determining what they want from you.

You can also use them to create custom unsubscribe links. This way, your subscribers can remove themselves from promotional campaigns, daily emails, etc.

Why is segmentation so important?

According to Return Path, segmentation is a critical component of deliverability 2.0. Building on the foundation of deliverability 1.0, marketers will need to take segmentation and quality personalization to the next level. That means personalization will need to go beyond the first name and custom content.

Similarly, segmentation will need to go beyond having different lists. Business owners will need to anticipate when customers and pre-customers will become disengaged and proactively send content and custom offers to counteract these points of disruption in the customer journey.

How to create an engaged email list that converts- use re-engagement sequencesUse re-engagement sequences to help with list management

Here’s the thing– subscribers are people, and people have the right to change their minds.

By offering your subscribers a re-engagement campaign, you’re giving them the option to raise their hand and say, “I do or do not want to receive your emails.”

This is better than the alternative which is to have your subscribers mark your message as spam because they believe that’s the only option.

Re-engagement campaigns are a series of automated emails that you can send to your cold or inactive subscribers. The goal is to remind them why they subscribed to your list.

If you’ve changed topics, the goal is to tell them how you can help them now.

It's fairly simple to put a good re-engagement campaign in place. All you need are three things:

  • 3-5 emails
  • A gift (lead magnet) for sticking around
  • The option for your subscribers to share what they’re interested in learning and/or when they want to hear from you

Here’s an example of a re-engagement campaign built using ConvertKit’s visual automation editor.Cold Subscriber Re-engagement

Ready to clean your email list?

Taking these simple steps to clean your list won’t take long at all, but will make a huge difference in how you connect with your audience.

We recommend running through these steps every three to six months to make sure the people on your email list are the ones who really want to be there.

So take some time today and start tidying things up to create your most engaged email list ever!

Connect with your audience

Share what you love to connect with your followers and grow your business with a free ConvertKit account.

Create a free ConvertKit account

Semonna McNeil

As a self-proclaimed email marketing junkie, Semonna loves all things email from sequences to list building and all points in between. She's excited about sharing her technical experience and helping with ConvertKit's webinar and lead generation efforts. When she's not working, you can find her drooling over ABC’s fall line-up.

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