The 5 Keys to Email List Growth

The 5 Keys to List Growth

Building A Healthy Email Database

According to BlueHornet’s Consumer Email List Management Report, 95% of B2C companies say list growth is an important measure of success for their marketing programs. However, 74% find that their email lists are growing slowly or not at all.  So how do you grow your list while maintaining data quality?  What are the best ways to acquire new subscribers? And most importantly, what are the right success metrics?

By following these 5 keys to list growth, you will be on the path to acquiring quality subscribers who will deliver higher engagement, conversions and customer lifetime value.

List Hygiene

Bad email addresses are entered up to 20% of the time, and 41% of email marketers identify list hygiene as one of the most challenging obstacles when it comes to their email list growth success. Improve data quality by identifying your list hygiene pain points: invalid email addresses from the point of acquisition, unengaged subscribers and lapsed subscribers. Implement campaigns to overcome these challenges. Implement real-time email validation to ensure addresses are accurate. Consider running a re-engagement or win-back campaign to dormant subscribers. Protect your delivery and sending reputation with regular cleansing and maintenance of your database –at least twice a year — will help ensure you are sending to the most engaged and active subscribers on your list.

Content Relevancy & Value

Content relevancy and value was also rated as one of the most challenging obstacles to email list growth. We know that sending relevant content at the point of acquisition is crucial to building a positive relationship with your subscriber, but don’t forget to provide a compelling opt-in experience too. Right at the point of acquisition, on the landing page, clarify what your subscriber can expect from you, and when. Tell them why opting in will be of value to them. Keep copy simple and concise. Provide examples of what they will get from your brand in the future. Consider incentives for profile completion and stating preference at this early stage. As your relationship with new subscribers evolves leverage this data as well as click/onsite behavior to send increasingly targeted content to reduce list attrition and increase engagement.

Streamline the Opt-In Experience

First impressions are paramount, and on a web page, you get about 7 seconds max – so make sure your brand stands out right at opt-in. Keep opt-in forms concise and easy to submit. Forms with too many fields have much a higher abandonment rate. Only ask for the information you absolutely require to start:  name and email. Get more in-depth information later – use your welcome program to encourage subscribers to identify their preferences and complete a profile.  Consider form fields, interstitials or pop-ups right on your homepage. They take little to minimal effort and testing and will quickly tell you what your audience responds to best.

Social Acquisition & Sharing

Almost half of email marketers surveyed for the Consumer Email List Management Report stated that while social media sharing is one of the most effective tactics for acquiring new subscribers, it is also one of the most difficult. An easy and effective way to capture your social subscribers is to always include an opt-in link when sharing great content. Get your followers excited and intrigued with content that keeps them coming back for more, and ultimately, opting in to your email program. Once they’ve opted in, turn these social subscribers into brand advocates; encourage them to share your images and posts. Consider providing incentives to your social subscribers for sharing content to further brand reach.


First you need to understand the size of your list and the growth you are or aren’t experiencing. Not sure how to determine your email list growth rate? The formula is “New Subscribers – Opt Outs – Invalids / Previous List Size”. What objectives or benchmarks do you want to meet and exceed? What’s working and what isn’t in regards to the rate at which your list is growing? Once you have identified where you are and where you want to be, you can then create your plan for how to get there. Analyze your acquisition sources and understand when your subscribers begin to disengage so you can implement timely win-back campaigns to keep them active.

Implementing the 5 keys above will set you on the path to healthy list growth.  For immediate impact, capitalize on low hanging fruit, measure results and take action — you will then be well on your way to effectively growing your list!

All information sourced above from: Email List Growth Survey, N-106, B2C. Ascend2, FreshAddress and BlueHornet, Published Jan 2015

For more information on the these 5 keys to list growth view BlueHornet’s The 5 Keys to List Growth On-Demand Webinar or Consumer Email List Management Report to access even more survey findings, results and recommendations.

Julie Graham @bluehornetemail
eec Member
Sr. Marketing Manager | BlueHornet