Nurture (and Grow!) Your Email List

by Emma Email Marketing

Nurture Your Email List to Make More Sales

Email marketing has the highest ROI of any marketing channel — we’re talking over $40 for every dollar spent — according to the Direct Marketing Association. Your email list represents your most valuable leads and your inner circle of fans, so it’s well worth your time and resources to nurture them toward making a purchase from you. You’ve got to keep filling the sales funnel too, so promoting your email signup experience is also key.

What Is This?

Email nurturing just means you’re communicating with people who have shown interest in your business. When someone gives you their email address, they’re not necessarily ready to buy something from you right at that moment, but they are opening up a door for you to step in and convince them why they should pay attention to you.

A well-timed series of emails — one that provides value and keeps subscribers thinking about your brand — will pay off when they move into the buying phase of the sales funnel. Nurturing emails are not the place to make the hard sell, so focus on sharing expertise and creating a memorable brand experience. Just be sure to track the success of your emails, and be ready to change what’s not working and do more of what is.

Why Should You Do It?

A study by Jupiter Research shows that relevant emails drive 18 times more revenue than broadcast emails. So don’t assume one email series fits all. That’s why it helps to personalize your email content based on how the lead was acquired in the first place. Here are a few examples:

Leads that first met you at a trade show or conference came to your booth to figure out who the heck you are — and to pick up a free t-shirt. So use nurturing emails to remind them what kind of product or service you offer, and consider keeping the giveaway going a little longer. For example, ask new subscribers to post photos of your t-shirt in action on social media, and reward those folks with another piece of exclusive swag for doing so.

Bonus points for also referencing the amazing keynote speaker or the delicious cookies served at the afternoon break. Connect readers back to a shared experience.

Webinars and content gates:

If someone provides their email address in order to download your latest white paper or attend a webinar, don’t pull a switcheroo on them and start pushing the sale right away. These leads are higher up in the sales funnel, and they might not even be shopping. Keep sending them content that helps them feel smarter, though, and you’ll be top of mind when they need what you’re selling.

Bonus points for shareability. Let your new content leads do your marketing for you: Include tips, advice and interesting stats that can tweeted easily and watch your thought leadership and your brand pop up in front of new audiences.

Website signup form:
Leads that are browsing your pricing page are more likely to be shopping for whatever you’re selling, so focus the content of your nurturing emails on how your product or service solves specific pain points. Send customer success stories or case studies, or go more direct with a strong headline, image and call to action.

Bonus points for connecting these leads to your social sites where they can stay updated on company news. Treat people like insiders right away, and they’ll feel more engaged with your brand.

Existing customers:
According to KISSmetrics, it can cost up to 7 times more to acquire a new customer than to retain an existing one. Use email to send helpful resources that coach your current customers and inspire them to use your products in new ways.

Bonus points for featuring additional products or services. Don’t assume current customers are aware of everything your business can do.





Welcome carpet

How Do You Do It?

  • You can set up effective nurturing emails without delving into the granular marketing automation rules. At first you’ll be taking your best guess at what content works best, but your email analytics will help you refine your approach over time. Use these four guideposts for success right off the bat:
  • Everyone deserves a warm welcome. The moment someone signs up for your email is when they’re most interested in hearing from you. Set up an automated welcome email that introduces your brand and thanks them for subscribing. You should find that these welcome emails have a high open rate — they’re 86% more effective than email newsletters. And studies show that 33% of subscribers who receive a welcome note show more long-term engagement with a brand.
  • You can automate and keep it personal. Marketing automation doesn’t have to feel robotic. Smart marketers map out messages that can hit inboxes automatically while also peppering in personal emails from sales reps. If you’re just starting out, keep things simple with a few high-level messages from the company, and let your sales people work around them. If your email service provider (ESP) integrates with your CRM, it should be easy for them to see the last email a lead received and pick up the conversation from there.
  • Always give an option to buy. Even though you can make some assumptions about how close a lead is to making a buying decision based on how they learned about your business, people can surprise you. Include a strong call to action in every email so you never leave an opportunity on the table.
  • An opt out isn’t necessarily a bad thing. When a lead unsubscribes from your emails, they’re giving you the permission you need to stop wasting efforts and move on to the better qualified folks. If you’re sitting on a batch of unengaged leads, consider sending a “last-ditch” email that simply asks if they want to continue hearing from you. Make it clear you want to keep them in the loop if they’re interested, but also make the unsubscribe link a little more prominent. People will appreciate the easy out and be left with a positive impression of your brand.

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Keep Growing

Around 30% of every email list churns each year, so put effort into attracting new subscribers from a variety of places you interact with people online and in person. Consider these questions to make sure you’ve got your bases covered:

Do you have a website? Put that signup form front and center. You might even want to experiment with using a lightbox that interrupts the webpage and forces the visitor to interact with the form.

Do you have a brick & mortar location? Give visitors a chance to sign up at your counter, or simply ask for an email address as part of your in-store conversation.

Do you attend events? It doesn’t matter if it’s a giant show or your monthly Kiwanis club meeting. Take every opportunity to turn personal meetings into a longer term relationship by asking the people you meet if you can add them to your email list.

Do you use an email signature? Include a link to sign up for your company’s emails there.

Do you use social media? Regularly post an email signup link for your social fans and followers, especially when you’re about to send something valuable.


3 Must-Dos for a Stellar Email Signup Experience

  • Explain what’s in it for them. The number one reason people subscribe for emails is because they think they’re going to get something. Whether it’s exclusive offers, tips or the latest product news, state the best reason someone should bother to give you their email address.
  • Make it easy on everyone. When it comes to form fields, only ask for the details you absolutely need. And use a form that automatically syncs to your ESP so you’re not manually entering email addresses in your downtime.
  • Always be up front about your business. If you request an email address in person, be extra clear about the business you represent. You don’t want your first impression in the inbox to be questionable just because your new subscriber didn’t make the connection between you and your business name.


Emma is a web-based email marketing service that helps organizations communicate in style. Designed with small and midsize businesses, nonprofits and agencies in mind, Emma makes it easy to collect new subscribers segment contacts, create automated emails and newsletters, and track the response.