1. Your List/Database.
Size matters, but list quality matters more.
If you’re giving away something with a real or perceived high value, you’ll attract a lot of visitors looking for freebies. If it is a condition that they have to submit their email address to get the freebie, you’ll quickly build a large list. But, are these people really interested in reading what you have to say or buying what you have to sell? If not, you’ll see it in your open rates, unsubscribes, or worse, spam complaints.
Better to be very targeted, very specific about who you want to join your list. Offer opportunities for them to self-select. A smaller list of self-qualified subscribers translates to longer subscriber relationships and higher conversion rates over the lifetime of the relationship.
Adhering to a double opt-in policy and including a specific request at the top of the first email along with directions for adding your email to the recipient’s address book to ensure that you’re whitelisted are critical. Not only does it protect your deliverability rates, but it confirms that these people are truly interested in receiving your emails.
About deliverability…it is no longer just your ESP‘s (Email Solution Provider’s) responsibility to ensure your emails get where they’re meant to go, your subscribers’ inboxes. Pretty much everything you do impacts deliverability.
Side bar – While some may recommend web scraping, aka harvesting emails off of websites, as a smart growth hacking tactic, it is *completely* illegal, not to mention deleterious to the reputation of your domain, website, email, and relationship with ISPs. Yes, it is illegal, as in prohibited by Federal CAN-SPAM regulations.
If you’ve been working to build a very targeted list, then engagement becomes easier.
Needless to say, if you’re giving something away, be sure it has real value. Make people deliriously happy. Deliver a delightful experience. Give them something they haven’t seen before or give them a different perspective on something familiar.
Start with that and you will see higher open rates, click throughs, forwards, and new subscriptions.
Deliver on what you promised, not only with regard to quality content or offers, but on the frequency and relevancy of your emails.
Become familiar. That is, always have your emails come from the same recognizable source. Consider using a convention, e.g. [xyz newsletter] in the Subject line but use the rest to pique your readers’ interests. They’ll look forward to your emails, instead of just deleting them (and adversely affecting your deliverability).
There’s a ton more I could write about what goes into successful email campaigns. But, why don’t you just reach out? Drop me an email. Let’s chat!