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What is an email list? – Understanding the basics

Have you ever subscribed to an email newsletter on a website in order to receive weekly emails or free eBooks?

Then you are on the mailing list of that specific website.

But have you ever asked yourself “What is an email list exactly and how does it work?”

The answer is pretty simple and, once you understand everything on the topic, you will be able to build an email list of your own.

What is an email list?

An email list is a collection of emails that you have received through your blog or website.

It’s a collection of email addresses used by an individual or an organization to send marketing material to multiple recipients.

In simple terms, an email list refers to the total amount of subscribers you have, which basically is a synonym to “the mailing list”, or “subscriber’s list”.

What makes an email list valuable?

If you have been around long enough you probably know that email marketing has a higher ROI compared to all other marketing methods.

Fan fact: Did you know that for every 1$ spent on Email Marketing the average returns exceed 38$?

This is true in most industries and basically shows how much you can make if you decide to sell products/services to your subscribers.

In the long term, this makes email marketing one of the best digital marketing methods you can use to grow your business.

And while a solid ROI is often enough to make most people adopt email marketing, there are more reasons that should make list building a priority:

1. Email allows for more personalization

When emails are collected organically, businesses know that the individual is interested in their product and/or industry.

And depending on the signup process alongside other metrics, these subscribers can be further segmented into different email lists so that email marketing becomes more personalized.

For example, if you offer a lead magnet called “Beginner’s guide to email marketing” you can safely assume that everyone in your list will be a beginner.

If, on the other hand, your lead magnet is a guide that talks about the “best email marketing practices for Brazilian restaurants”, there is a high probability your new subscriber owns or works in a Brazilian restaurant.

And just like that, you can split your list into more specific subgroups in order to send more personalized emails with a CTA that taps into the audience’s current struggles and challenges.

Aside from that, Mailigen allows for more personalization thanks to its large number of template designs.

2. Email keeps things professional

Even though many businesses are currently using Social Media, email is still the preferred method to reach out to support teams.

Aside from that, connecting through email is also considered to be more professional when it comes to requests, complaints, partnerships, and other reasons.

Finally, when it comes to product promotion, platforms like Instagram or Facebook will not get as much attention as personalized emails, since there is a large volume of automated and spammy messages.

Different types of email lists

Giving a simple answer to the question “what is an email list” will not get you far. It is important to understand the different types of lists and how these function best.

An email list can be built, obtained or rented for campaigns.

How to build an email list

Any email marketing expert will tell you that organic email lists that are built over a long period of time, provide the best results.

And by that, I mean that your campaigns will get higher open rates, great click-through rates, and more sales.

This is why we will explain this step in further detail.

There are three main points to look out for when building an organic list. These are, in no particular order:

  • Quality – You want to make sure that your emails go to real people, who regularly check their emails.
  • Relevance – Your subscribers should belong in your niche and show an interest in your industry.
  • Volume – All throughout the process of building your list, keep in mind that the frequency of your email campaigns has to remain the same. Changing the volume as your email list grows can have a negative effect on your key metrics.

Step One: Start Early

A good piece of advice to ensure an effective and timely buildup is to start building your mailing list early on. Doing so will allow your results to compound over time while decreasing the time you spend on email marketing efforts.

Step Two: Make use of your existing contacts

Import all of your existing customers’ contacts that you have in your CRM system. This should give you a decent working start for your email list.

Start your list by sending emails to everyone that is on your contact list. You may have email addresses from previous campaigns or contact details from previous customers.

So, use them.

Import them all into Mailigen and you will be one step closer to building a great organic email list.

Step Three: Add an Opt-in Incentive

Finally, find a creative way to “earn” your readers’ email address. The best way to do this is by creating a lead magnet that users can use or download by providing their email address.

More often than not, a lead magnet can be a free eBook, a checklist or a short guide that solves one or more problems that your reader has.

If you are trying to create a list for a software product you can also offer free trials or discounts that your audience can use.

Renting an email list

Another option that is mostly used by companies looking to promote their products is to rent an email list.

When it comes to this particular method, you will never receive an actual copy of the rented email list.

What this means is that you never get to see the email addresses you are about to send your campaign to.

Instead, the owner of the list is responsible for the delivery of your emails.

Adding to that, list renting will sometimes offer additional exposure, as you may be featured as a sponsor or partner in the renter’s newsletter to the list.

Buying an email list

You can also buy an email list. The list of addresses you receive will contain people that have never heard of you or your brand and may very well not be interested in your product.

Except for very low open rates and minimal click-through rates, using bought email lists can quickly lead to an increased spam score, which can be devastating for your business.

Not to mention the legal trouble you could face along the way.

The worst part of bought e-mail lists is that they simply don’t work, because:

  • They are overused (many people buy and send to the same list)
  • they don’t have permission (emails are not collected with user consent)
  • they do not contain good quality email addresses
  • sending to third-party lists is a bad email marketing practice

Summing it all up

In this article, we set out to explain what is an email list and voila, there you have it.

In case you suffered from information overload and want to remember just one thing…

Then remember this – essentially, an email list is a collection of emails that you can use to stay in touch with your fans and community.

You can either:

  • Build an email list
  • Rent an email list
  • Or buy an email list (not recommended)

From there, it is all about testing to find out which method works best for you and your brand.

Now it is your turn – go & build your email list.

And let us know for any questions you might have, in the comment section below.

What is an email list? – Understanding the basics
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