Shaken Not Stirred: The Importance Of a Name In Email Marketing

Have you ever seen a 007 movie? You know… Bond… James Bond.

The ultimate British spy who always manages to come out on top no matter what dire circumstances he faces.

One of my favorite things about James Bond is that he was more than just a number (007)…he was also a name.

What does James have to do with online marketing?

Well, quite often, we see email addresses being added to our email marketing platforms and it is easy to forget that these are actually connected to real people, who have given you the right to contact them.

They are not just another piece of data in our contact database. So, with that being said, the goal of every email marketer should be to continually engage with contacts and make email marketing more human.

If you have used contests and sweepstakes (those promotions that Antavo help to build) for your list building efforts, you undoubtedly know the incredible rate at which you can grow your contact list. This is great, and with this post, I want to try and give a few practical tips for maintaining relationships with the contacts in these lists, over the long haul.

This is paramount to your email marketing efforts for one very simple reason: If contacts are not engaged with you, then they hold no value to you. I would much rather have a list of 5000 contacts with a 50% interaction rate rather than a list of 100,000 contacts and a 2% engagement rate because in my opinion, it holds more value.


Below are 5 simple things you can do to help your list maintain value and continually provide a strong return on your investment through platforms such as Antavo and ActiveCampaign.

#1. Remove non-engaged contacts

Although they will never give out the exact methods used to calculate a good vs bad engagement rate, companies like Gmail definitely use engagement as a metric for determining if your messages are going to an inbox or a spam folder.

Some newsletter tools, like ActiveCampaign actually provide an engagement management tool for deleting non engaged contacts based on specified time frames (e.g. 1 Month, 3 Months, etc). The thing to remember, as mentioned above, is that non-engaged contacts hold zero value in the world of email marketing.

In fact, they are costing you money.

Think about it.

You are paying for a contact that does not open your emails, and they are hurting your overall deliverability. Get rid of those contacts, and they can re-join your mailing list later, if they want too.

#2. Give them what they want

Try to learn about your customers and their desires to help improve the emails you are sending.

If you notice your engagement rates slowly declining, it would definitely be in your interest to figure out why. Most people get dozens and sometimes hundreds of emails everyday, and even though I am sure your content is worthwhile, what is going to make your readers want to read it?

Is it because you always have great stories, videos, links, etc?

The point is, do not assume you know everything, or that the same things will always bring you success. Look at the data your email marketing platform provides through the reporting (here are some examples what points to focus on) and make educated decisions based on that information.

At the end of the day, a good choice, predicated on bad information is a bad choice.

#3. Send more emails to fewer people

Within most email service providers there is a segmenting tool that can help you to send emails to people with a desired criteria. E.g. only CEOs who are interested in email marketing.

This ties directly into point #2. Using tools like this, or making areas of content focused directly on specific contacts, allows you to provide emails that are going to contain more value adding content to a more focused section of your list; instead of taking a shotgun blast type approach and hoping people open your emails.

The customers I see putting this into practice are the best online retailers. They tend to gather a large amount of data and then dramatically filter that initial list, allowing them to send emails containing content to only relevant customers for each send.

segmented emails

It works.

The customers I’ve seen segmenting their list, tend to have a much higher open rate, when compared to the industry average (aka higher engagement).

#4. Don’t settle for less

Once you start sending emails, do not allow yourself to become complacent with where your stats “average”. What I mean, is if you have an open rate of 30% (slightly above the industry average) why stop there?

What things can you do to get it up to 32%?

When companies become satisfied or start thinking, “that’s good enough…”, then they are setting themselves up for future failure.

Continually evaluate where you’re at, where you were and where you are going. Then be willing to honestly critique the work being done to see what can be improved.

#5. Educate yourself

One thing I often notice while working with customers, is that marketers can get stuck in a rut – relying on a limited amount of features which they have used for years, and failing to branch out to newer tools as they are developed.

The beauty of cloud-based services is that they typically evolve much faster than traditional software companies. E.g. at our company we push updates in every 1 or 2 months.

With that being said, don’t lose out on capabilities that could enhance your marketing efforts because of an unwillingness to learn. After all, knowledge is power.

Paying attention

To bring this post full circle, I highly encourage you to view each and every email contact you have as a unique asset.

Consider each and every contact your own personal British super-spy and give them the respect and attention they deserve.

Remember, that these are actual people you are sending information to and they hold value. Email marketing can be a highly successful form of digital marketing; however, it should not be viewed as a “set it and forget it” type of resource. The companies who are the most successful with email are those constantly reviewing data and making choices based on what they are learning.

Shaken Not Stirred: The Importance Of a Name In Email Marketing by
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Adam Tuttle

Adam has a wide-ranging background from startups, manufacturing, and marketing. At ActiveCampaign he works with small businesses to help them strategize their marketing efforts & grow their businesses.

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