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Keeping your email subscribers engaged

Building a large email list isn’t enough – for successful email marketing, you have to keep the subscribers you win engaged. Here are a few things to keep in mind as you continually delight your audience.

Don’t bury the lead

Excite your audience from the very first opportunity. This starts with a lead magnet that makes would-be subscribers salivate – and makes those folks squeal with delight once they’ve subscribed. (If you aren’t sure what a lead magnet is, have a look here.)

In other words, a great title and tag line aren’t enough. Those may be enough to attract subscribers, but the content you deliver after they’ve clicked “yes” has to keep the promise your teaser makes.

Be sure to welcome

Not everyone needs a lead magnet to entice them. For the folks who sign up via a basic subscription form, find a way to reward them. Email them immediately with something that delights them, something unexpected. Maybe another great piece of content. Maybe a funny joke. Maybe a beautiful photograph. It all depends on your brand. The goal is to make them happy they’ve subscribed and to help them remember they’ve subscribed. That’s most important if your email only goes out quarterly. You don’t want spam complaints or unsubscribes just because too much time has passed.

More promise-keeping

As already noted great tag line and title (or subject line) also aren’t enough on their own and aren’t enough even when combined with a great lead magnet. Your stream of ongoing content has to deliver, as well. You can’t phone it in. You’ve got to continue to provide value in each and every email.

Think of their journey

Value comes in all sorts of shapes and sizes. Make sure you’re providing value not only to folks who have just discovered you and are starting their search for a solution, but also to those folks who are already familiar with you and digging deeper into the possible solutions.

Design matters too

Even if you think, “Forget design, my best leads are motivated to learn more about what we do so I’ll just give them great info,” recognize that your best leads still probably have to share what they’ve learned with someone else before a final decision is made. Those folks won’t be as motivated. They will want to be wooed (and wow-ed) and they’ll want content that’s easy to consume, including being easy on the eyes. Lay it out nicely and don’t make your potential clients apologize to their colleagues for your refusal to invest in great visuals.

Don’t ask for too much too soon

When it comes to subscription forms, less truly is more. The first form a prospect sees should ask for an email address. Anything else is gravy. Maybe a first name. You can ask for more later.

Don’t ask the same things twice

Ideally you’ll set up a sophisticated enough data gathering system – being careful to be GDPR compliance if that’s relevant – so that once you’ve interacted with someone, you don’t have to ask their name and email address again, but can ask for one or two new pieces of data.

Daily, weekly, monthly?

You’ll know. Your audience will tell you if you monitor your open and click-through rates. Adjust as necessary, including the time of day and day of the week you send your emails.

All of these efforts should add up to delighted and engaged email subscribers. That doesn’t guarantee you’ll turn them all into clients, but it does increase your odds of successful email marketing dramatically.

Andrew Schulkind

Since 1996, Andrew Schulkind has asked clients one simple question: what does digital marketing success look like, and how can marketing progress be measured? A veteran content marketer, web developer, and digital strategist, Andrew founded Andigo New Media to help firms find a more strategic and productive mix of tools that genuinely support online brand goals over time. With a passion for true collaboration and meaningful consensus, his work touches social media, search-engine optimization, and email marketing, among other components. He views is primary goal as encouraging engagement. Getting an audience involved in your story requires solid information architecture, a great user experience, and compelling content. A dash of common sense doesn’t hurt, either. Andrew has presented at Social Media Week NY and WordCampNYC, among other events, on content marketing and web-development topics. His technology writing appears on the Andigo blog, in a monthly column on, and for print and online publications like The New York Enterprise Report, Social Media Today, and GSG Worldwide’s publications LinkedIn & Business, Facebook & Business, and Tweeting & Business. Andrew graduated with a B.A. in Philosophy from Bucknell University. He engages in a range of community volunteer work and is an avid fly fisherman and cyclist. He also loves collecting meaningless trivia. (Did you know the Lone Ranger made his mask from the cloth of his brother's vest after his brother was killed by "the bad guys?")

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