Keeping your email list engaged can be tough.
How do you know what’s going to resonate with your readers? How do you continue to deliver the type of value that makes them think every time they see an email from you, “This is going to be great!” (despite the 20 other email lists they might be subscribed to?)
Fact is, you never know if something is going to work until you actually do it.
It’s all about trying different things, listening to feedback from your readers, and then tweaking those things until you find the best way: continuous improvement from all sides.
Patience and practice
What I’m talking about here, of course, requires patience and a lot of practice.
There are some great resources on the Internet – frameworks, guides, tools, tips – and along with this content, some unintended (or perhaps intended) assumptions that “If you do X, then you will end up with Y as a result.”
But unless you are literally the person giving the advice, and you have the exact same audience as they do, then whatever they’re sharing, at the very least, is going to require that you add YOU to it before implementing – across the board. Always.
This is important to come to terms with: keeping your email list engaged isn’t a perfect science, but you will figure out how to best keep YOUR email list engaged if you can successfully follow the steps I’m about to share.
4 Steps to keeping your email list engaged
1. Study others who have engaged lists
It starts with investing the time learn from others who are already doing this successfully.
I’ve learned a lot from studying others who have engaged lists, like Pat Flynn, David Siteman Garland and Amy Porterfield.
When I say study, I don’t mean copy; it’s not about following a guide to how someone else does it. Instead, it’s about picking and choosing certain things you want to test, adding YOU to the equation, and then tweaking it until you find something that works.
Some of the top email tips I’ve picked up
- Pat Flynn suggests telling your subscribers what to look forward to in your communications.
This piece of advice has helped us reshape our Welcome Sequence once someone opts in to our list, which is the most important sequence when it comes to keeping your email list engaged.
If you don’t win them over right away, chances are they’ll either stop opening your emails, or they’ll unsubscribe altogether.
- David Siteman Garland and Amy Porterfield both have a treasure trove of knowledge and tips when it comes to crafting great subject lines, like don’t be so formal, and make them wonder.
These are two tips we keep top of mind every single time we’re crafting our subject lines, because when it comes down to it, if you can’t grab their attention with your subject line, they aren’t going to take the time to open it – let alone read it.
Perhaps the biggest lesson I’ve learned from following all 3 of these email engagement rockstars is that every single email they send out is so unique to them.
I could pick them out without even seeing names, which is a skill that’s hard to come by.
This brings me to step 2…
2. Find your unique voice
What is it about YOU that got your readers to subscribe to your email list in the first place?
If you’re able to uncover your unique voice, then you’ll start to connect with your readers on a whole new level. I know this because it happened to us here at EntrepreneurOnFire with our own list.
For a time I had taken over our email newsletters, sharing tips and advice like, step-by-step processes entrepreneurs could follow to grow their email list, or things like the Top 15 books Recommended on EntrepreneurOnFire.
Here are some actual stats from one of the last emails I sent out with the Subject line:
3 ways to generate income while still building your biz
Our readers definitely appreciated this content, and when we’d send out these types of emails we’d see about the same number of open and click throughs: just average numbers.
But then we did something to shake things up – just to try something new to see what would happen – and John started writing emails and sending them out to our readers. He referred to these emails as a look “inside the mind of JLD”.
Guess what? Our readers went crazy over them – they absolutely loved the new style!
Here are some actual stats from one of the more recent emails John sent out with the Subject line:
Why the huge increase in open rates? Because we gave them a unique voice – John’s voice – which is the reason why they subscribed to our email list in the first place.
3. JUST ASK your readers
Bottom line: I can’t teach you how to keep your email list engaged.
I can share tips and best practices with you, but at the end of the day, I’m not your reader; therefore, I don’t know what their biggest pain points and struggles are.
But YOU CAN find out – by just asking them.
A while back I wrote a post and an accompanying email that asked our readers: What do you like most about our emails, and what would you change?
Here are some of the things we heard over and over again:
- Love the inspirational stuff!
- The sidebar is distracting
- Tell more stories with examples
- Take out all of the images
- More step-by-step, “behind the scenes” stuff
Increase your engagement by giving your readers exactly what they want. Make them feel a part of it, and show them you ARE here to serve THEM by just asking.
Once we took action on the feedback our reader’s provided, this is what we heard back from them:
“I love the new email format. Got totally sucked into it – just awesome. Felt very personal.“
“Wow! That was one of the BEST emails I’ve ever received from someone I follow & do not know personally. I felt like you were talking right to me, it was inviting, motivating & created a ton of value!“
Pretty great to hear this from our subscribers – and it was all because we just asked them what they wanted.
4. Segment your list
Segmenting your list can be very powerful in increasing engagement because you’re enabling yourself to be super targeted with the content you’re sending.
What does segmenting mean exactly?
Well, depending on what it is you teach in your business, you could have separate lists for several different categories based on what your subscribers are most interested in.
An example from EntrepreneurOnFire would be that we have segmented (or separate) lists so that we know exactly what people are interested in hearing about. We have:
- Our overall, main subscriber base (those who have opted in to our email newsletter);
- Our Podcast interest list (those who have opted in to watch our Podcast workshop, have opted in to Free Podcast Course, or who have told us they’re interested in podcasting);
- Our Webinar interest list (those who have opted in to watch our Webinar workshop, have opted in to The Webinar Course, or who have told us they’re interested in learning how to present webinars).
These are just a few examples of lists we have separated out, or segmented, that are very targeted, and because we’ve segmented them we’re able to send them very targeted content based on their specific interests.
Check out our open and click through rates on an email sent directly to our Podcast interest list:
The open and click through rates are a lot higher than normal because we’re sending them very targeted content that we know for sure they’re interested in.
Keeping your email list engaged
Keeping your email list engaged isn’t a perfect science, but you will figure out how to best keep YOUR email list engaged if you can successfully follow the steps I’ve shared above.