Email list quality vs. size of list: Striking the right balance

Building an email list is an important aspect of any successful digital marketing strategy. It allows businesses to engage with their audience, nurture leads and drive conversions. However, the effectiveness of an email marketing campaign depends not only on the size of the list but also on the quality of the subscribers. In this article, we'll explore the importance of balancing email list quality and size to maximise the impact of your email marketing efforts.

The size factor: Quantity matters, but not alone

Having a large email list might seem enticing, as it implies a broader reach. More subscribers mean more potential customers or clients, right? While there is some truth to that, size alone doesn't guarantee success. If the subscribers are uninterested, unengaged or not genuinely interested in your content, a large email list can turn into a liability.

The pitfalls of an unfocused approach

1. Decreased engagement

With a large but untargeted list, you risk lower engagement rates, open rates, click-through rates and conversions. People who receive irrelevant content are more likely to unsubscribe or mark emails as spam, affecting your sender reputation.

2. Increased costs

Managing a massive list comes with costs, whether it's paying for an email marketing service or dedicating resources to handle the volume. So, if a significant portion of your list is uninterested, you may be wasting resources.

3. Lower deliverability

Sending emails to a disengaged audience can hurt your email deliverability. Internet Service Providers (ISPs) might view your emails as spam if they consistently receive negative signals from uninterested subscribers.

The quality aspect: Nurturing a targeted audience

Here’s what you get when you have a quality list:

1. Relevance and personalisation

A smaller, targeted email list allows for better segmentation and personalisation, leading to more relevant content for each subscriber. This personal touch can significantly improve engagement and foster a sense of connection with your brand.

2. Better conversion rates

When your subscribers are genuinely interested in your content and offerings, they are more likely to convert into customers. Quality subscribers are more valuable than a large number of disinterested individuals.

3. Enhanced sender reputation

ISPs appreciate consistent engagement and low complaint rates. A quality email list can positively impact your sender reputation, ensuring that your emails reach their intended inboxes.

What shows a lack of quality in your email list?

  • Low open rates: A lack of quality in your email list can be seen when a significant portion of your subscribers consistently don’t open your emails.
  • Low click-through rates (CTR): If your subscribers are not engaging with your content and clicking on links within your emails, it may suggest a lack of interest or relevancy.
  • High bounce rates: A high number of bounced emails indicates that the email addresses on your list are invalid or inactive, negatively affecting your deliverability.
  • High spam complaints: An unusually high rate of recipients marking your emails as spam shows that your content or targeting may not align with subscribers' expectations.
  • Declining conversion rates: If you notice a steady decline in the number of subscribers taking desired actions (e.g., making a purchase or signing up for a webinar), it could indicate a lack of quality.
  • Low engagement in re-engagement campaigns: When attempting to re-engage inactive subscribers, if the response remains low, it may signify a disinterest in your brand or content.

Striking the perfect balance

1. Regular list maintenance

Regularly clean your email list by removing inactive or disengaged subscribers. This ensures that you are sending content only to those who are genuinely interested in your brand.

Here are the essential steps to achieving effective email list hygiene:

Tactic #1: Regular list cleaning

  • Identify and remove inactive or disengaged subscribers who haven't interacted with your emails for an extended period.
  • Set a time frame for inactivity and if subscribers don't engage within that period, consider their removal.

Tactic #2: Remove duplicate entries

  • Scan your list for duplicate email addresses and eliminate any redundant entries to maintain an accurate and streamlined database.

Tactic #3: Optimise the unsubscribe process

  • Make it easy for subscribers to unsubscribe by providing a clear and prominent unsubscribe link in your emails.
  • Respect unsubscribe requests quickly to avoid potential spam complaints.

Tactic #4: Implement double opt-in

  • Consider using a double opt-in process for new subscribers, where they confirm their subscription by clicking on a link sent to their email.
  • This ensures that only genuinely interested users join your list, reducing the chances of spam complaints.

2. Optimise your onsite email capture tactics

Optimising onsite email capture tactics is important for any business looking to build a robust list and increase customer engagement. A well-executed onsite email capture strategy can turn website visitors into valuable subscribers, providing a direct and personalised channel to communicate with potential customers.

Implementing eye-catching and strategically placed email capture forms, offering valuable incentives such as exclusive content or discounts and ensuring a seamless user experience are all must-haves for your onsite email capture.

So, here’s what you can do to get those quality subscribers:

Tactic #1: Have eye-catching pop-ups and banners

  • Use visually appealing pop-ups or banners to grab visitors' attention.
  • Implement exit-intent pop-ups to capture leaving visitors before they abandon your site.

Tactic #2: Offer valuable incentives:

  • Provide enticing incentives like discounts, exclusive content or free resources to encourage email sign-ups.
  • Clearly communicate the benefits of subscribing to your email list.

Tactic #3: Have slide-ins and scroll boxes

  • Use slide-in and scroll box forms that appear as users scroll through your site's content.
  • Make sure they’re non-intrusive and complement the user experience, though.

3. Segmentation and personalisation

Segment your email list based on demographics, interests and behaviour. This enables you to tailor content to specific groups, increasing relevance and engagement.

4. Optimisation and testing

Continuously optimise your email campaigns through A/B testing. This helps you identify what content and strategies resonate best with your audience, leading to improved results.

5. Focus on content quality

Deliver valuable and engaging content consistently. When subscribers find your emails informative and helpful, they’re more likely to stay subscribed and engage with your brand.

Mail Blaze advocates this as an essential step. Our mantra revolves around creating captivating, relevant and valuable content that keeps subscribers eager for more. By offering real value through your emails, you'll build trust and strengthen your relationship with your audience.

6. Targeted sign-up forms

Craft sign-up forms that attract your desired audience. Implementing a clear value proposition and setting expectations will help you attract subscribers who are genuinely interested in your content.


7. Double opt-In

Use double opt-in verification to ensure that subscribers willingly confirm their interest. This step filters out potential fake or mistyped email addresses, guaranteeing a more engaged audience.


Here’s the thing…

By maintaining a balanced approach and continually striving to improve engagement and relevance, you can create a successful email marketing campaign that drives meaningful results and strengthens your relationship with your audience. Remember, it's not just about reaching a massive number of people; it's about reaching the right people with the right message.


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