It’s a bit of a no brainer, but if email marketing is part of your digital strategy you need your target audiences’ email addresses. In fact, email marketing tends to deliver the highest ROI of any digital strategy, so email addresses could be considered as the gold currency of digital marketing. Nearly everyone has an email, which means nearly every company wants your address. All of this competition is forcing brands to step up their game when it comes to email acquisition.

Before I focus on strategies for acquiring email addresses, I want to point out that while the end goal is growing your database, quality should still be the primary focus over quantity. Essentially, you want to increase your audience engagement and motivate them to become brand loyal customers by providing them valuable content. So it should go without saying, but if you cannot provide them the value or utility they’re seeking, they shouldn’t be in your database.

That’s right, email marketing strategies have evolved and it’s all about personalization and delivering highly targeted, valuable content to your audience. Subscribers are more likely to open and take action following an email that feels personal, duh. And don’t worry, marketing automation tools are making this once daunting task easier than ever.  

But I Already Have an Email List

Valid point. Yes, it is the 2010s decade and email marketing is not new, so any worthwhile business already has a list of email addresses they’ve acquired over the years. That means the effort to update your database is obsolete, right? Okay, that’s wrong and hopefully you already knew that.

Remember, the email addresses in your database belong to real people. They are living breathing organisms who mature, attain new interests, change location among many other developments that happen throughout their life. Knowing that, you need to treat the people in your database like people. Your challenge is to continually improve your list and provide valuable content to increase audience engagement and influence consumer behavior.

In order to increase the quality of your list, you must assess your current database. After that set some new goals and build your acquisition strategy using these tips.

Trim the Fat

Harsh I know, but as I mentioned it’s common for living things to move on… You probably have subscribers on your list who haven’t open your emails in the past six months, year, or more. Where they went or why they’re no longer interested is an entirely different conversation. In short, you need to accept that they’ve moved on and you need to move on as well. Yes, removing inactive addresses will put a dent in your subscriber count, but it will increase your list quality and that is the essential element to successful email marketing.

Offer a Last Call

Bartenders do it before they kick everyone out for the night, and you should also offer a last call before booting people out of your database. Email marketers typically refer to this a re-engagement email. It’s a message that has one purpose, it asks your inactive users if they’d like to remain part of your mailing list or be remove. If you don’t receive a response from the user, you can feel confident that removing them from your email list is the right move.

Make New Friends

I’ve mentioned quality a few times, but you also need some quantity. You’ll need to make new friends along the way to grow your database and your email marketing success. Like making new friends, find people who you would feel comfortable bringing home to your parents. Yes, this is my cute little way of telling you to stick to your target audience. It’s also my way of telling you to stay away from companies or people who make you feel yucky. Buying email addresses from aggregators is repugnant, and it’s also grossly ineffective. True friendship is where you have each other’s interests in mind, and building your email list so follow similar values. In other words, seek an audience that views giving you their email address as a win-win scenario.

Step Up Your Game

It’s simple, create better sign up forms. Your audience needs to opt in to your email list, but are you collecting information that will help you serve them better? A common example is asking for people’s birthdays and providing offers or opportunities that are personalized based on their birthday. A basic example like this can teach a variety of ways you can capture email addresses and relevant information along their buying journey.

The classic calls to action of “join our newsletter” or “create an account” are still relevant is some circles, but in many ways you can offer your users more opportunities and value by building on milestones similar to the birthday example or landmarks in their buying journey.   


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Email marketing is a maturing strategy. It’s continually advancing and when done right, it’s a win-win scenario providing brands with customer engagement, and consumers with the value and utility they’re seeking. Since email marketing is evolving, it's not enough to simply grow your list with a bulk of new subscribers. You need to focus on the quality and adding people you intend to connect with on a personal level. Doing this right requires a sound email acquisition strategy. If you’re spinning your wheels to get your email off the ground, contact us and we’re happy to answer any questions you might have.