The Importance
Of A Solid
Email Database

Flemming_eMailPlatform

Written by Flemming C. Lund
CMO, MarketingPlatform
12 November 2019

No matter if you own a website or a webshop, no matter if you have physical products or sell a service, email marketing can and will help you gain more sales, leads, and maintain loyalty towards your brand.

Numerous reports have countless times proven that the average ROI (return on investment) on email marketing efforts sit around 40:1. Others have stated insane numbers like a 122:1 ROI.

Email marketing is as important and relevant for you today as it was five or 10 years ago; perhaps today it’s even more important with reduced organic social reach and increasing paid media prices!

Having a solid email data is the absolute essence of succeeding in your email marketing efforts and fulfilling your strategy. Well, that, and having a sufficient amount of data.

A solid database will see

  • Higher open rates

  • Higher click-through rates

  • Higher conversion rates

  • Increased loyalty

  • Fewer unsubscribes

There are numerous ways to grow your email database. Gamification, pop-ups, pop-ins, slide-ins and exit pop-ups on your website, subscription in the checkout process, subscription after an order has been made, content upgrades on your website articles, hosting webinars, Facebook Lead Ads, or LinkedIn Lead Gen Ads are all options. Google is even starting to implement lead ads in YouTube.

Caveats of growing your email database

As such, growing an email marketing list is not that big of a deal. At least it’s not if you have sufficient funds. Setting up a Facebook Lead Ads campaign is pretty straight forward, and within a short time you can grow your email database.

However, not all email addresses are created equal. The intentions of the person owning that particular email address will vary a lot. Not only on an individual level, but also based on the offers or promises you made in you campaign. So you will not always benefit from adding more email addresses to your database. In some cases they might even hurt you.

Many have had tremendous success adding more subscribers and email addresses to their database by offering gifts like “Sign up for our newsletter and receive this iPhone cover for free.” The problem here is that a lot of people will give away their email address in exchange for the giveaway. They basically do not care about you or your brand. Afterwards, they might unsubscribe from your newsletter once the winner has been selected. The worst case is that they stay subscribed to your email database but without any engagement whatsoever. This leads us to the next important thing to take into account when maintaining your email list.

Inactive contacts can hurt you

Most would agree that having a large database of email addresses is a positive thing. And many fear losing subscribers.

However, losing newsletter subscribers is not always a negative thing. It is much better to have a smaller solid email database than having a large list with a lot of inactive contacts. Contacts that are inactive can potentially trigger spam traps and hurt the performance of the remaining contacts in your email database. You need to clean out your database of inactive, unengaged contacts as well as email addresses that bounce or simply do not exist anymore.

So don’t be afraid of a little spring-cleaning in your database from time to time. You will end up with a better, more engaged email database.

Try CPR before deleting

One word of advice: Before you decide to clean out those unwanted email addresses, you should schedule one final try to rescue, reactivate, and re-engage that user.

You can do this by creating a marketing automation flow in which the inactive user is being send a final flow of emails to re-engage him/her. It could be a “We miss you, come back” email with a discount code or whatever would be most relevant for
your audience.

By creating this marketing automation flow, people will automatically receive an email once they match certain criteria. For instance, they would enter the flow if she/he has not opened an email for the past 12 months or not engaged with your brand in the last six months. 

If they still don’t respond, then remove them from the list at the end of the flow. 

How to grow your email database the healthy way

So, what can you actually do to grow your email database and get those contacts who are of actual value to you?

First of all, if you try to harvest email addresses from a platform like Facebook and their Lead Ads, it would be recommended to start out by setting up a target group you know fits into the limits of your most high-performing customers. Set up targeting based on demographics, geography, psychographics, and behaviors (previous purchases that match the profiles of your best customers). Remember to exclude the email addresses already signed up for your email list. Look-a-like audiences (Facebook) and similar audiences (Google) will often prove to be efficient too. Test and see if it works for you.

Regardless of whether you use gamification, paid ads, or other ways to harvest new subscribers to your email database, consider using a promotion where the potential lead/customer has to give something in order to receive the promotion. For example, give a promotion code where a purchase on your webshop is required. Or give a free shipping promotion that can be used on an order from your website. 

This guarantees a commitment. You know that those who sign up will be interested in purchasing something from you, and not just winning a prize and
becoming inactive.

Let's get to work

Using email is a no-brainer for your marketing mix. It is important to keep your email database healthy in order to keep the performance as high as possible. 

You should not be afraid of clearing out those inactive contacts that potentially harm your performance.

Focus on only getting email subscribers that actually care about your brand, and send email marketing campaigns tailored to the individual subscriber personas to boost your results.

You will see fewer unsubscribes, increased engagement and loyalty, and a
spike in sales.

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