How many times have you heard marketers claim “email marketing is dead”? Should you still care about creating and nurturing an email list?

If you have an email list, could you benefit from implementing an email marketing strategy to turn your cold leads into hot ones? Do you know whether your list is cold or hot in the first place?

These are all very pertinent questions, and this post will answer all of them and more. Follow along, and you will clear away the dust and turn your cold email list into one that will lead to more leads and customers.

Is Email Marketing Dead?

Social media has given everyone a voice and though this is the backbone of a good digital marketing strategy it can also make for a confusing world when you’re trying to look to other marketers for advice on your inbound marketing program.

Some of the “influential marketers” you follow may tweet passionately about email marketing best practices. Others may post feverishly about why email marketing doesn’t work.

I don’t know about you, but, the contradiction that gets spread in the form of “fact” and “advice” makes me want to do the Charlie Brown walk back to my desk and hand write letters to my prospects.

However, I have dived in to this topic extensively and run plenty of email marketing campaigns that have led me to conclude that being equipped with a hot email marketing list is one of the best assets I have as a marketer.

Let’s take a look at the facts before I give you my take on turning your email list into a responsive list full of people who want to get emails from you.

A very recent study released by Extole and Gigaom shows that 86% of marketers still implement e-mail marketing and that it is the most effective digital marketing tactic for building awareness, acquisition, customer retention, and conversion.

The huge 2014 Social Media Marketing Industry Report from Social Media Examiner came out a few months ago. Though a social media marketing focus, it shows that 86% of social media marketers focus heavily on email marketing.

So there you have it.

Email marketing is very much thriving.

I think the only thing “dead” in the world of email marketing is using spammy tactics. But you already knew that.

Things to Avoid

Now you know that email marketing is still thriving, and you may be starting to feel excited about all of the contacts you have in your database that you have not reached out to in a long time.

Be careful with this excitement.

While email marketing is a great way to close deals and surface new leads, it can also have negative effects on your company if not executed in the right way.

Things we want to avoid:

  • Being marked as “spam”
  • Having a high bounce rate
  • Getting into legal trouble
  • Mass emailing
  • High unsubscribe rate
  • Low open rate

These things (seemingly scary, I know) are easy to avoid when your list is examined and turned into a hot one.

What Makes a Cold Email List

A cold email list will be sure to trigger several of the bullet points I just gave you of things we are trying to avoid. Use these “cold list criteria” as guidelines when considering who to leave on and whom to take off of your email marketing lists.

It’s created inorganically:

A list that is purchased or “rented” does not fall under the “good email list” category. Emailing people who have never heard from you or your brand leads to high bounce rates and spam reporting.

It’s out of date:

Email contacts move companies and change email addresses often and the longer your list sits there, the more email addresses that you have will bounce. Therefore, you need to remove anyone who has been on the list without communication for an extended period.

What Makes a Hot Email List

Now that you’ve removed your list of inorganic names and out of date contacts let’s warm things up a bit, shall we? Easy to do once we’ve gotten rid of the contacts weighing the list down so let’s take a look at what we want our list to look like.

The names on the list were put there purposefully:

These people opted into your network or downloaded a piece of content. They know who your brand is and will be more likely to open your email and less likely to mark you as spam.Contact has been consistent. You’ve maintained contact with the names on your list. Through dripping content and company updates, your brands name has stayed familiar.

It’s segmented:

Depending on your business your list should be segmented in some form or another so that you can send personalized messaging.

How to Warm Your List Up Right Now

The backbone of a strong inbound marketing campaign is a go — to list of people who want to digest your targeted content and who want to take in your awesome updates.

Don’t fall into the trap of rushing things by saying “I don’t need to pre-target” and just send a blind, cold email. You’ll burn your list and not get the results you want or need.

Lincoln Murphy, Gainsight

What I outlined previously is what I consider the “dusting off” phase of the list. It’s been shaken down a bit and plucked of contacts that haven’t heard from you in a long time or haven’t ever heard from you.

Once your list has been dusted off, it doesn’t mean that it’s ready to go. It’s time to re-engage these people and allow them the opportunity to decide whether or not they want to continue to hear from you.

Speaking of Re-engagement…

Now, you may be thinking, “what exactly is the best way to re-engage with my list?”

  • Do they want to hear from you at all?
  • What kind of content would they like?
  • How do they want to digest this content?

Your re-engagement email should aim to create a situation where you can provide your contacts with an easy way to answer those three questions.

Time to Make a Second Impression

Put a lot of thought and planning behind your initial email to make a strong second impression. It’s crucial to so that you can get a pulse on all of the contacts on your email marketing list and quickly transform it into a hot list.

This re-engagement email is not a piece of contact you think they would like or a fun brand update. Those will come later.

There are a few ways that you can reach out and have your contacts tell you the answers to the questions that will breathe some life back into your email list. Popular techniques include:

  • Send an email saying, “we miss you and haven’t heard from you in a while” and allow them to re-subscribe to your mailings because you’re promising them hot industry news and updates.
  • A touching base email that allows them to click the types of content or mailings they would like to be part of.
  • A survey where you ask for their input and assure them it will all be taken seriously and steer the way your brand communicates from now on.

Though a fairly easy email to craft and send off, the re-engagement email will define your new email marketing list and set the stage for what comes next in your efforts.

Are You Ready?

Have you ever dove into something and wish that you had slowed down and thought it through and pieced together a plan from start to finish?
I know I have.

That’s why I can speak from experience and am going to beg you to plan out your re-engagement campaign before you send a single email.

So, don’t just plan out your re-engagement email. Plan out what comes next. How can this email help you further segment your contacts? What emails can you create to keep the buzz going?

Write out a schedule and the next few weeks of emails so that contact remains consistent.

If you take one main idea from this post, I hope it is that you can clean up any list and turn it into a warm list that generates leads and customers.

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