Growth hacking your email marketing list

The quality within your email marketing list

A heck of a lot of blog posts are out there related to email marketing lists.  These usually focus on tips and strategies to grow your email list, expand your email list, build your email list.  This type of content usually focuses on quantity, rather than quality.   

The thing is, email marketing is a garbage in – garbage out process.  If your data is rubbish, your results will be rubbish too.   

So this post is about the quality of the data you collect.  So let’s start with one simple principle.

IT’S NOT AN EMAIL MARKETING LIST.  IT’S PEOPLE.

That’s the first step to focusing on quality not quantity.  Accept your list is not a list.  It’s a group of people.

The poor email marketing list

Perhaps the term ‘email list’ is part of the problem here, after all I can’t recall ever hearing someone refer to a group of people as a list.  I’ve heard a group of people referred to as a crowd, as fans, as a gang, an audience, a community or even a rabble.  Never – points finger > look at that list of people over there.

But in email terms, those people that have signed up to receive your marketing tend to be referred to as your email list.

It’s quite sad really.  In comparison, social media have things much sweeter in terms of respectful terms for the same thing,

You have Facebook friends and likes.

You have a professional network on Linked In

You have followers on twitter.

A big part of what you do with your marketing strategy might involve the managing or curating an online community, that is likely to involve…

Building your reach through your Facebook likes,

Expanding your linked in ‘network’

or your Twitter following.

And of course, using email marketing.  (I’m no longer going to use the term email marketing list, sorry SEO I’m making a point about email marketing lists here).

Are you feeling sorry for email marketing yet?

You shouldn’t really, although it not often regarded as sexy, it has a massive ROI – totally kicks other the arse of pretty much every marketing channel out there.  PPC, SEO and Social.

PPC vs Email
Image Source : https://blogs.adobe.com/digitalmarketing/wp-content/uploads/2013/06/Email-Marketing-ROI.png

More proof that email marketing is an incredibly powerful and profitable marketing channel.

The Social Networks know the power of Email Marketing

And guess who some of the biggest users of email marketing are?  You’ve guessed it. Facebook, Twitter, Linked In.  Take a look in your inbox.  Like me, you’ll be getting regular email marketing messages from them all to boost my engagement and get me back into their marketing channel.

It’s not really social media anymore.  They are now marketing channels, the same way as Google is a marketing channel, and the same way as commercial TV and radio are marketing channels.

Some people still don’t see it that way, but the upcoming data protection changes will drive transparency on how social channels actually use the data they collect – for profit (shock horror, how else can they expect to give you that service for FREE) – and that will lift the lid on that.

Turning your email marketing list into your audience

Anyway, let’s focus on some practical advice to growth hack your email marketing list.

Earlier this week, we had a meeting with a start up, Lizzy from The Sweet Beet (http://www.thesweetbeetuk.co.uk/), makers of fine Maple Bacon Jam.   

Like most people selling online, Lizzy has been building her email list.  She wanted to talk to us to see how she could get better with email marketing.

Here is a summary of the conversation.

Move from an email marketing list to your email marketing audience

First thing we explained, is that Lizzy doesn’t have an email list, what she actually has is an audience.  An group of people that are all at different stages of their relationship with that business.

Here is what that group of people consisted of.  Let’s call them gangs within that community group.

Firstly the most important difference.  The money.

People that have bought from that business

People that haven’t

So that gives you two very different groups of people rather than a single vanilla Email marketing list.

Let’s dive a bit deeper, and look at the people that have given you money.  Your customers.

Creating Spend Personas

We can separate them into more relevant groups.

People that have bought specific products, for example, Maple Bacon Jam vs Habanero lime jelly.

You might also want to break this even further based on when they last bought?  That’s jam won’t last forever, so it’s going to be useful to understand who has bought recently vs those people that bought a while back.

So we’ve got the spend people separated into distinguishable groups based on what they have bought, and when they bought it.  Once you separate your audience this way, creating content for these people is much easier.  You can even create ‘spend personas’.    

Creating Prospect Personas

Now what about the other people.  The people that have signed up but not bought.  Now these folk have expressed an interest, but it’s not turned into action yet.

For these people, we suggested separating them into three groups.

People that have recently signed up (last 4 weeks).

People that signed up more than 4 weeks ago and have expressed interest (opened)

People that signed up more than 4 months ago and haven’t expressed any interest (not opened).

So we’ve got the signup people separated into distinguishable groups based on how interested they are. Once you separate your audience this way, creating strategies and content for these people is much easier.  You can even create ‘prospect personas’.   

Taking care of your business community

Once you start to recognise your email marketing list as people, it’s not an email marketing list anymore. It’s a little organic community that is growing around that business.  You can use email marketing to communicate to your new personas.  After all that’s what the social networks do. Using email marketing you can do that too.  It’s all about the data.

Of course, you’ll need a platform such as Websand that will easily allow you to create segmentation and manage your audience in this way.

Remember, Your email marketing list will be jam packed with opportunity, the sooner you get started, the sooner you will see better results.  So just get to it.

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Also published on Medium.