Don't get sucked into the notion that list growth is the absolute highest priority.
Why are your open rates so low? Why are you constantly disappointed in your email results, even though you have such stellar list growth? If you're opting people in automatically, then there's really only one reason: nobody wants your emails!
Too often, email marketers get sucked into the notion that list growth is the absolute highest priority and they do everything they can to get more subscribers. Trust me, I get it; it feels good to tell your boss you grew your list by 10 percent last week because that's a result email nerds and regular nerds alike understand. But if your web forms are set up to opt people in without giving them the choice of checking a box that specifies they want to receive your emails, then saddle up for a year of substandard results.
When you don't give people the choice to receive your content via email and they are forced into it, they will resent you. They will be much more likely to mark your sender address as spam, which negatively affects your email strategy in the long term because you'll obtain a poor email reputation over time, which makes your content more likely to be pulled in by the spam trap before ever reaching an inbox. It's also a bad practice for positive branding, overall email results, and practically every other element with the exception of list growth. While list growth is important, it does not take precedent over the rest of your best practices, and promoting list growth does not give us an excuse to get lazy and ignore the quality of the list we're growing.
I strongly recommend always including a checkbox in your web forms to make it optional to subscribe to your email alerts. Yes, your list growth won't be as impressive, but in email marketing, quality should take priority over quantity every time. With high-quality strategies, lists, and content, the quantity will come naturally. Patience prospers in the email world, so sit tight, throw in some checkboxes once in a while, and watch your results trend up.
Checkbox image on home page via Shutterstock.
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Christine Doré is an e-mail marketing manager at PETA in Los Angeles. As part of the Marketing Engagement team, she focuses on email strategy and optimization. Her team's innovative tactics for audience segmentation and online advocacy have been twice awarded at the national level and continue to be trailblazing strategies for the non-profit community.
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September 23, 2014