How to Grow and Engage Your Email List

We recently attended a presentation held by TechSoup called How to Grow and Engage Your Emil List lead by marketing guru, Eric Squair. The information was so great, we had to share. Here’s what Eric says:

How To Grow Your List

According to Eric, the secret to growing your list is simple: offer people something they value.

What can you offer? Well, first determine what it is that makes your organization unique. What is your superpower? What can you tell people, teach people, connect people with that no one else can? Then think about what your readers value. Therein lies your answer.

How To Keep People Engaged

When it comes to keeping your audience engaged, there are a few things to keep in mind. Open rates, he says, depend on two key elements:

  • The subject line: Make it compelling, interesting, simple and personal. If there’s a hint of recognition in the subject line, it’s more likely that it will be opened.
  • Previous experience with the sender: People open emails from people they know and trust.

Other important rules of thumb for making sure your email is engaging:

  • Bluntly put, “Don’t send crap!” If you don’t have anything relevant to share, then just wait until you do before sending an email.
  • “Email, like all good story telling is by, for, and about people.” So, keep people as the focus of your email. If your content is not particularly people-focused, find a way to make it so. And include pictures whenever possible, preferably of people.
  • Keep the tone conversational and personal. Make sure you are speaking to someone, not at someone.
  • Make the email about the reader, not about you. This means providing useful information to your readers, offering them chances to attend events, and asking for their opinions.
  • Segment your list in order to make it more personal. Use what you know about your readers to provide them with the best messaging. This is especially useful in fundraising; for example, if you know someone is already a monthly donor, perhaps you would put them on a donor thank you email list instead of asking them to donate again.

Here is an example of a good email newsletter that Eric shared. He says it’s good because they only subtly mention their product, and they’re offering workshops on how to use it better. Otherwise it’s all about how to do better at what you do: news you can use. Other things people liked:

  • Social media links
  • Organization and colour consistency
  • The cartoon at the top which is cute and gives it personalityYou’ll notice we used a lot of Eric’s tips to improve our newsletter. We hope they help you do the same!

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