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Growing and Monetizing Your Email List: Best Practices

For businesses and influencers, few assets are more valuable than an engaged email list. While social platforms come and go, direct subscriber access lets you build relationships over the long-term. Growing and monetizing your list provides a sustainable income stream if you continually deliver value. This comprehensive guide covers proven email marketing strategies toprofitably scale your reach.

Why Email Marketing Still Matters

In an age of declining organic social reach, email enables reliably reaching your audience. Benefits include:

It’s Your Channel

You own your list vs renting social media fans. No algorithms or policy changes can restrict access to subscribers.

Higher Engagement

People expect usefulness and personality from email. Click-through rates top social posts. Subscribers who requested content are highly engaged.

Trust and Conversion

Email converts 3x higher than social media. Subscribers trust brands they willingly shared their inboxes with through opt-ins.

CRM and Data Benefits

Email integrates with CRM data on contacts. Tracking provides rich analytics on engagement.

Personalization Opportunity

Emails can be personalized and segmented at scale based on subscriber data and behaviors.

Versatile Monetization

Email enables multiple income streams – advertising, affiliate sales, lead gen, digital goods etc.

Dedicated audiences and metrics make email a superior channel compared to rented social reach. Value-driven email marketing fuels business success.

Structuring Your Email Sequences and Funnels

Strategically map out email flows to convert cold traffic into loyal customers. Typical structures include:

Lead Nurturing Sequences

  • Send autoresponders upon sign up over days/weeks to onboard with valuable info
  • Segment by interests, behavior etc to personalize content tracks
  • Transition from education to promotions strategically

Customer Re-Engagement Campaigns

  • Win back inactive subscribers with special offers and re-orientation content
  • Promote new arrivals, features and initiatives to re-engage

Transactional and Behavioral Triggers

  • Automate post-purchase receipts, surveys, support issues etc
  • Send cart abandonment, membership renewal and milestone emails

Evergreen Evergreen Drip Content

  • Continually add subscribers to evergreen autoresponder flows on topics always relevant

Map email journeys to business goals. Ensure segments receive appropriate content and calls-to-action.

Optimizing Signup Forms and Landing Pages

Your signup forms make critical first impressions. Follow best practices for converting visitors into subscribers:

  • Clearly convey the value subscribers will receive – content teasers, freebies etc
  • Use benefit-focused headlines – not just “Submit Email!”
  • Ask only for essential info – email, name, interests etc
  • Uselonger scrolling forms for more fields vs multi-page
  • Minimize required fields to reduce abandonment
  • Set expectations for email frequency after signup
  • Use email validation to ensure accuracy
  • Display trust signals – security seals, policies, brand logos etc
  • Follow up with an immediate “Thank You” page restating next steps

Thoughtful signup experiences drive list growth. Always A/B test form placement, layouts and copy.

Choosing the Right Email Software

Critical tools for executing effective campaigns include:

Email Service Provider (ESP)

Send, track and analyze campaigns, handle deliverability challenges etc. Top providers include MailChimp, ConvertKit, Constant Contact.

CRM and Marketing Automation

Nurture subscribers based on data and behaviors. Examples: HubSpot, Keap, Ontraport, ActiveCampaign.

Landing Page Builder

Create optimized signup and sales pages. Consider Leadpages, Instapage, Unbounce.

Email Copywriting AI

Draft emails rapidly with artificial intelligence. Ex. Jasper, Phrasee, Persado.

Analytics

In-depth metrics on opens, clicks, conversions and ROI. Built into most ESPs. Google Analytics works too.

Integrations streamline loading subscriber data from ads or webinars into your ESP and CRM for unified data.

Growing Your Email List Strategically

Success requires dedicated list growth strategies across channels:

  • Promote signups on your website – popups, headers, footers etc
  • Run social media, PPC ads, retargeting ads driving to opt-in landing pages
  • Swap/rent sponsored email ads with partners reaching your audience
  • Gate premium content behind email signups – ebooks, webinars, trainings etc
  • Encourage signups at events, in-person purchases etc
  • Monitor weekly subscriber growth and cost per lead KPIs

Avoid buying generic lists – poor quality. Only market to subscribers who clearly consented.

Writing Killer Email Copy That Converts

Words make a major impact. Follow proven email copywriting guidelines:

  • Draft benefit-focused subject lines – before/after, numbered stats etc
  • Establish rapport and warmth in opening sentences
  • Quickly summarize what’s inside – wins attention
  • Adopt a conversational tone with short paragraphs
  • Guide readers through content and CTAs with bullets etc
  • Use emotive words – “amazing”, “guaranteed” etc
  • Lean into positivity and empowerment over fear or doubt
  • Finish with a clear CTA and minimal fluff

Testing subject lines and content variations is key to maximizing open and click-through rates. Study metrics to continuously optimize copy.

Strategies for Engaging Subscribers

Beyond great content, engagement requires building relationships with subscribers. Tactics include:

  • Send welcome and onboarding sequences when users join
  • Make unsubscribing easy to show you respect their choice
  • Segment users based on interactions and tailor content accordingly
  • Balance promotional and non-promotional emails
  • Share exclusive insider news before social media
  • Encourage sharing via forwards and social sharing buttons
  • Treat each email like a conversation vs a broadcast
  • Personalize copy dynamically where possible
  • Handwrite subject lines for VIP subscribers
  • Reward loyalty – giveaways for top engagers etc
  • Ask for input on content and make subscribers feel heard

Happy subscribers read, click and convert more. Deliver extreme value and watch your list grow.

Getting Past Spam Filters and Deliverability Hurdles

Reaching the inbox requires learning email deliverability best practices:

  • Avoid flagged words commonly used by spammers – “free”, “act now” etc
  • Warm up new sender reputations by gradually increasing volume sent
  • Double opt-in and confirm consent to email receives
  • Honor unsubscribe requests immediately
  • Ensure mobile responsiveness and image compatibility
  • Stay up to date with authentication protocols like SPF, DKIM and DMARC
  • Use services like MailChimp or Sendgrid instead of your own server
  • Keep emails personalized and varying – not generic blasts
  • Monitor bounce rates, spam reports and placement in tabs
  • If blacklisted, understanding why and rectify the root cause

Proactive deliverability minimizes quarantining into spam folders. But some still happens naturally.

Building Reliable Revenue Streams with Email

Boost income by strategically promoting products, services and partnerships, including:

  • Driving ecommerce sales with promos, coupons and product launches
  • Promoting high-margin digital goods like online courses
  • Driving affiliate sales through links – perfect for blogs
  • Converting B2B leads through gated premium content
  • Cross-promoting partner products and deals
  • Renting sponsored ad space to aligned advertisers
  • Promoting events, webinars and paid speaking gigs
  • Offering subscriptions for exclusive content and communities

Always closely monitor conversion metrics on campaigns and fine-tune approaches over time. Authenticity and transparency maintain subscriber trust.

Avoiding Spam Traps and Bad Email Marketing Practices

While promoting products is expected, avoid tactics that sabotage trust and deliverability:

✅ Ask explicitly for consent

❌ Assume consent based on weak evidence

✅ Allow instant unsubscribes

❌ Make unsubscribing difficult

✅ Important content first

❌ Burying content after lengthy promotions

✅ Transparent subject lines

❌ Deceptive subject lines

✅ Honoring contact preferences

❌ Ignoring unsubscribes, spam reports

✅ Personalizing content

❌ Overly generic blasts

✅ Double opt-in signup

❌ Single opt-in without confirmation

✅ High quality data

❌ Buying cheap generic lists

Think long-term. Tactics that temporarily boost open rates but destroy trust always backfire. Deliver consistent extreme value.

Tying Email to Your Overall Strategy

Email doesn’t exist in isolation. Integrate with your broader initiatives:

  • Promote high-performing email content on social media
  • Retarget engaged email subscribers across channels
  • Load email, CRM, and site analytics into your data warehouse
  • Surface key behavioral insights about subscriber segments
  • Feed campaign response data into your ML models
  • Attribute email contribution to sales using UTM parameters, unique promo codes etc for reporting
  • Cycle promoted products and content across platforms
  • Coordinate timing with seasons, external events, or campaigns

With unified data and coordinated messaging, channels multiply results.

Continually Optimizing and Innovating

The best marketers never rest on their laurels. Always aim to take your email initiatives to the next level by:

  • Regularly audit metrics – open rates, CTRs, unsubscribes, spam complaints etc
  • Set performance benchmarks and monitor trends
  • Test new subject lines, content formats, send times, designs etc
  • Explore emerging channels like SMS marketing with opt-in subscribers
  • Intermix highly personalized emails when possible
  • Evaluate and budget for new automation tools, technologies and capabilities
  • Talk to subscribers directly for feedback on how you can improve value
  • Watch competitor innovations you may be able to adapt
  • Bravely experiment – not every campaign will succeed, and that’s okay

By continually optimizing and evolving your approach over time, your email marketing will only get better.

Email may seem old-school but remains one of the most powerful tools for engaging your audience when done right. Building a loyal list that eagerly anticipates your content takes time and consistency – but pays dividends for years due to that direct relationship and access. With the strategies explored above, you can turn subscribers into your most valuable asset.

By Dani Davis

Dani Davis is the pen name of the writer of this blog with more 15 years of constant experience in Content marketing and informatics product, e-commerce niche.

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