How To Grow An Engaged Email List Of Subscribers Who Pay Attention

Discover two simple ways to avoid lazy subscribers who ignore or delete your emails so you can build a high-quality, engaged email marketing list.

Grow An Engaged Email List

You join the email marketing lists of brands and people for a variety of reasons: you made a purchase, signed up for a webinar or training, took advantage of a free offer, or subscribed to keep your finger on the pulse of what they were doing. You chose to join their mailing list and community because it was a fit at the time.

But over time, things change.

Maybe you pivoted and changed direction, maybe they pivoted and their message no longer resonates, or maybe you simply don’t have time to look at everything you’re subscribed to. The problem is that now your inbox is full of content you don’t pay attention to — content that gets deleted or moved into a folder and ignored.

Do everyone a favor and unsubscribe.

  • When you unsubscribe, you’re freeing yourself from the burden of unread emails, cleaning up your inbox, and saving time.
  • An unsubscribe is also a gift to the brands and people you’re not paying attention to. No one wants a big email list of people who ignore their content — it’s expensive and creates inaccurate data.

Large Lists, Low Engagement

Everyone wants a big email list of thousands of subscribers who open their emails, read their messages, click their links, and make purchases. Unfortunately, while many brands boast big lists, behind-the-scenes subscriber engagement is in the toilet and open rates and click-through rates are abysmal.

It’s all because just like you, everyone is subscribed to email lists they ignore.

The truth is that email marketing lists of all sizes, big and small, suffer the consequences of subscribers who are too lazy to unsubscribe and it not only creates lists that under-perform but skews things like open rates and subscriber engagement.

  • Lazy subscribers delete emails.
    They don’t open emails and they don’t subscribe. Instead, they stay on the list and keep clicking delete. Sometimes they’re interested but too busy to pay attention, other times they subscribe aspirationally, and still others subscribe just to lurk and watch.
  • Lazy subscribers save emails for later.
    They stick your emails in a “read later” folder or even set up rules to reroute all email marketing away from their inbox. They have the intent to look at everything they subscribe to, but instead, messages end up accumulating in that folder until they simple get deleted and the process begins again.

Grow An Engaged Email List

List-building email marketing strategies like hosting free webinars and training, creating free opt-in offers and ethical bribes, providing access to resource libraries, and extending invitations to join communities are designed to get as many people as possible to join your email list and brand community. If done strategically, with the right offers and messaging, these efforts attract subscribers aligned with your freelance business niche or ideal client persona.

But even with the best intentions, there will always be those who just want a free thing and those who join your email list and don’t pay attention.

So how do you avoid building an email list bloated with unengaged, lazy subscribers who ignore or delete your messages?

1. Make It Easy To Unsubscribe

Don’t bury or hide the unsubscribe link or make it impossible for someone to leave your list. It’s better for everyone if it’s easy for those who don’t want to hear from you to unsubscribe as quickly as possible. It’s also a smart idea to encourage people who regularly don’t open your emails to leave your list. Remember, they can always come back later.

It’s better to have a small list of people who pay attention than a big list of people who ignore you.

2. Provide Open Incentives

Getting your email saved in a “read later” folder puts it out of sight, out of mind. Chances are high that it will never get read because those subscribers will never have time to go through that folder of content. The trick is incentivizing subscribers to open your email and not save it for later.

Here are a few ideas to encourage timely opens and boost subscriber engagement:

  • Include timely offers that expire.
  • Make it personal and give subscribers a glimpse into your live and business they don’t get on social media.
  • Always include links to other content and a call to action — train your subscribers to click, even if it’s for something simple and free.
  • Stick with a reliable publishing schedule subscribers can count on and look forward to.
  • Include subscriber only downloads and resources.
  • Provide helpful, high-value content that helps subscribers advance their goals.
  • Leverage enticing subject lines that grab attention without misleading or tricking people.
  • Sprinkle in some fun and do something unexpected every once in a while.
  • Provide unique content only available in your email newsletter.
  • Make the content about the subscriber more than it is about you… they want to know, “What’s in it for me.”

No matter what approach you take to encourage subscribers to open your emails and engage with your content, always remember that quality must come first. Being allowed and welcomed into subscribers’ inboxes is a privilege that must be respected.

Before clicking send on any email marketing messages, always ask yourself, “Would I want to receive this in my inbox?”