Commentary

Challenges To Email List Growth

According to a new study, the Email List Growth Survey from Ascend2 and BlueHornet with marketing, sales and business professionals from around the world, 68% of B2C companies consider email list growth very important to the overall success of their marketing program. Email list growth is felt to be not important to only 5% of consumer marketing programs.

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Most Important Email Marketing Objectives

Increasing list size ranks second of the eight top email marketing priorities for B2C companies. Improving list hygiene ranks sixth, indicating that marketers may be sacrificing quality for quantity.

Most Important Objectives

Objective

% of Respondents

Increase conversion rates

62%

Increase email list size

44

Increase open/click rates

39

Improve lead generation

37

Improve brand loyalty

26

Improve list hygiene/accuracy

20

Improve email relevance

19

Improve social integration

11

Source: Ascend2/BlueHornet, February 2015

Choosing quality over quantity is challenging when you’re trying to grow your list, says the report. but invalid subscribers don’t contribute to meaningful list growth, says the report. Valid, engaged subscribers will drive higher lifetime value, they’re worth the effort to identify and acquire.

How is Email List Size Changing?

Despite the challenges, consumer email lists are growing rapidly for 20% of companies and growing slowly for another 54%. Email list size is not changing or worse, shrinking, for the remaining 26%.

Reason For Email List Size Changing

 

Change

% of Respondents

Email list growing rapidly

20%

List is growing slowly

54

List size is not changing

20

List is shrinking slowly

5

List is shrinking rapidly

1

Source: Ascend2/BlueHornet, February 2015

74% of B2C marketers feel that their email lists are growing slowly or not at all. If your email list is growing slowly or shrinking, first understand why, says the report:

  • What is the ratio of new subscribers to opt outs and hard bounces?
  • Which acquisition source is most effective? Least effective?
  • Do you have a preference center or opt-down page to help prevent opt-outs?

Most Effective List Growth Tactics Used

Providing access to private, value-added sections of a website barely tops social media sharing as the most effective tactic used for growing consumer email lists. At the bottom of the list are offline tactics such as capturing email information in-store or in call center conversations.

Effective Tactics Used For Email List Growth

Tactic

% of Respondents

Website access

35%

Social media sharing

33

Content downloads

25

Purchase process

24

Email forward to friend

20

Upcoming events

20

Paid search campaigns

19

Call center/in-store capture

11

Source: Ascend2/BlueHornet, February 2015

Capitalize on website opt-in opportunities, says the report:

  • Include homepage, additional main page and interior page opt-ins on visible, easily-accessible real estate
  • Test using interstitial and pop-up opt-ins. Your consumers may respond well -or may find them intrusive
  • Validate subscribers at every point of acquisition to ensure data quality

Most Difficult List Growth Tactics to Execute

Social media sharing requires significant time and effort, but little direct expense. However, it is still ranked as the most difficult tactic to execute for consumer email list growth purposes.

Most Difficult Tactics To Execute For Email List Growth

Difficult Tasks

% of Respondents

Social media sharing

35%

Email forward to friend

34

Paid search campaigns

29

Call center/in-store capture

28

Content downloads

19

Website access

18

Purchase process

11

Upcoming events

9

Source: Ascend2/BlueHornet, February 2015

Social media sharing is time consuming and resource intensive, says the report, but essential for B2C brands. Increasing both social acquisition and sharing can be accomplished by running an opt-in campaign on social channels with a sweepstakes, or contest, by offering incentives to subscribers for sharing content, suggests the report.

Tactical Effectiveness Versus Executional Difficulty

Providing access to private, added-value sections of a website is a far more effective email list growth tactic to use than it is difficult to execute, says the report. Social media sharing, on the other hand, is almost equally effective and difficult for consumer marketers to execute, says the report.

Tactical Effectiveness Vs. Executional Difficulty (% of Respondents)

Tactic

Most Effective

Most Difficult

Website access

35%

18%

Social media sharing

33

35

Content downloads

25

19

Purchase process

24

11

Email forward to friend

20

34

Upcoming events

20

9

Paid search campaigns

19

29

Call center/in-store capture

11

28

Source: Ascend2/BlueHornet, February 2015

To get the most out of your social media sharing campaigns says the report:

  • 1.Make it easy for your campaign to go viral; include share links with pre-populated content you provide
  • 2.Track social sharing data and reward your brand loyalists when they promote you socially or encourage others to engage with your brand
  • 3.Incentify product reviews on your social sites with special offers, loyalty points and discounts

This survey was conducted online from a panel of more than 50,000 US and international marketing, sales and business professionals representing a range of company sizes and roles.

For access to Ascend2 studies, please visit here.

 

1 comment about "Challenges To Email List Growth".
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  1. Kevin Lee from Didit, February 24, 2015 at 8:11 p.m.

    I've got some ideas I'm testing that look very promising as an inexpensive list growth method. Happy to share with any email marketers who have an interest. I'm easy to find ;-)

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