Who is an Email Marketing Subscriber and How to Engage Them for More Sales?

email marketing subscriber cover image with a man reading and reacting to something on his mobile

An email marketing subscriber is a person who opts in to receive regular brand communication via email.

So, you have a great business idea or product but an almost empty email list. Perhaps, you have a list of subscribers who are a bit disengaged but still hold potential.

These people are your subscribers and require constant nurturing to turn them into loyal customers.

But the question remains: How do we turn that interest into sales?

With the strategies and practices outlined in this guide, you will be able to make personal connections with customers and build a loyal follower base. 

Who are Email Marketing Subscribers?

Subscribers willingly give you their email addresses in exchange for a brand communication or promotional email.

This permission typically comes through an opt-in process where people sign up on your website, landing page, or social media platform. 

Although subscribers are a diverse group with varying levels of engagement, they share a common thread: they have shown some level of interest in what you have to offer. 

Email subscribers can be:

  1. Potential customers: These people are interested in your brand offers and may have signed up to receive updates, promotions, etc. You may have to nurture them with a welcome series or onboarding emails to retain excitement and engagement levels.
  2. Existing customers: They have purchased from you in the past and might be interested in learning about new products, re-ordering existing products, or using exclusive deals.
  3. Industry enthusiasts: These subscribers might not be immediate buyers but may have a general interest in your industry. They may look forward to educational or industry-related emails to keep them ahead of trends.

If you’re new to email marketing, it’s common to confuse subscribers with leads. Understanding their differences will help you choose the right approach and target the right people.

Email Subscribers vs. Email Leads: Know The Difference for a Better Targeted Approach

Think of email subscribers as visitors to your store. They browse around and are interested in your offers but are not ready to buy yet. 

Leads are a step ahead — they pick up the product and head to the fitting room. They are actively considering a purchase and require more attention.

The table below summarizes the key differences between a lead and a subscriber.

Aspect Email SubscriberEmail Lead
DefinitionSomeone who has opted in to receive email communicationA potential customer who has shown a stronger interest
Type of action taken Signed up for email list Indicated clearer need for buying — downloaded an e-book or requested a demo
Nurturing goalBuild a relationship, demonstrate brand value, and convert into customersMove them down the sales funnel with the aim of converting to a customer
Email marketing subscriber vs. email lead

In essence, email marketing subscribers are a broader audience with general interest, and leads are a more qualified group with a stronger buying intent.

The good news? You can turn a subscriber into a lead by thoroughly understanding their needs and providing relevant and personalized offers

Understanding Email Marketing Subscribers: A Comprehensive Guide

Subscribers are more than just a collection of email addresses — they are real people who look up to you to solve a problem for them. To successfully do this, you must understand who they are, what they want, how they behave, and finally, how to make them stay.

Remember, just because they agreed to receive your emails does not ensure their continued participation. Recipients may unsubscribe from emails for many reasons, such as irrelevant email content, too many emails, or unfulfilled promises. 

Let’s go through the methods to handle your subscribers the right way, starting with the basic question: Why are subscribers important in your email marketing journey?

The Importance of Email Marketing Subscribers 

Email subscribers provide a direct link for communication, nurturing, and sales. Unlike social media and paid advertisements, you don’t have to wait around for their attention. They have already shown interest in your product or service and are looking for the perfect opportunity to convert.

Subscribers are the lifeline of your email marketing efforts, here’s why:

  • They grant you permission to be contacted with promotions or updates, increasing the likelihood of a sale,
  • They willingly opted in and likely open and read your email messages, fostering higher engagement rates,
  • They provide valuable data you can use to segment and personalize future campaigns,
  • They help showcase email campaign metrics, allowing you to measure email campaign performance accurately.

Developing Email Subscriber Personas

Subscriber persona is the creation of profiles for the different subscriber segments that sign up for your email list. This involves developing profiles around demographics, interests, and pain points that guide your email content creation.

Here’s a step-by-step guide to developing subscriber personas:

  1. Collect data: Gather relevant data about your existing subscribers, including their demographics, age, interests, and pain points.
  2. Analyze your audience: Use the data collected to analyze common characteristics, buyer preferences, and patterns. This will help you tailor email content, potentially answering important questions.
  3. Conduct surveys and polls: For in-depth insights, ask subscribers about their thoughts on your brand, motivations, and challenges. 
  4. Segment your audience: Divide your subscribers based on their engagement level, demographics, and purchase history. 
  5. Create persona profiles: Each fictional profile must outline their objectives, behavior patterns, pain points, and communication preferences. 

Meeting Subscriber Expectations

Subscribers expect relevancy, value, and consistency in your email campaigns. More importantly, they want solutions to common industry challenges.

When you have a diverse subscriber list, it could be challenging to answer everyone’s questions or provide relevant information. 

However, you can send relevant content with proper strategies, such as below:

  • Provide value above all else: Recipients wouldn’t open and interact with your emails until they find value. Teach them something new, make them laugh, or reward their loyalty.
  • Know that relevance is king: Subscribers expect emails tailored to their interests. Send them information based on their past actions, purchase history, or content preferences.
  • Learn to respect their time: Get to the point quickly, highlight benefits, and guide them toward the next steps with a compelling CTA.
  • Maintain transparency and authenticity: Be transparent about your sender name, purpose of the email, avoid misleading subject lines, and offer a clear unsubscribe option.

Engaging Email Marketing Subscribers the Right Way 

Have you ever thought about why your email open rates and click-through rates are low despite sending personalized emails wrapped in elegant templates?

Subscribers require more than relevant and visually aesthetic content; they look for value, targeted approach, perfect timing, and transparency in emails. 

Here are the key ingredients to craft compelling email campaigns that will turn subscribers into loyal fans:

  • Provide value with every email — include educational content, industry news, product updates, entertaining stories, or exclusive offers.
  • Segment your subscriber list and send them personalized content. For example, you can send a welcome email to a new subscriber and an email coupon to someone who abandoned their cart
  • Include the value proposition in the first paragraph. This ensures people don’t have to wait till the end to read the important information.
  • Use a simple email layout, high-quality images, and a highlighted CTA button. Visually re-arranging content blocks helps people focus on the most important information.
  • Find the optimal frequency based on your subscriber preferences. Ideally, send emails during the mid-week between 10 am – 3 pm.
  • Be transparent and authentic by including relevant brand information and updates.
  • Show appreciation — thank subscribers for being a part of your journey. You can reward them by running contests, offer exclusive deals, or simply express gratitude.

You may be able to estimate the effectiveness of your campaigns with the following email metrics.

Subscriber Engagement Metrics

Your email subscribers’ actions determine the success of your email marketing campaigns. Do they open and engage or toss your emails in the spam folder? 

You will never know until you track important email metrics such as the:

  1. Open rates: This metric shows the percentage of subscribers who open your emails. A high open rate indicates a strong subject line that intrigues people to take action. Aim for an average open rate of 20-25%.
  2. Click-through rates: This shows the number of people who click on links inside your email and demonstrates engaging email content. The average industry click-through rate is 2.44%. However, it can vary depending on your industry.
  3. Conversion rates: This metric shows the percentage of people who complete the desired action after clicking on a link. For example, a subscriber purchases a product after clicking on a link to your website. The average conversion rate across industries is 2.9%. Again, this may vary depending on your marketing goals, email content, and industry type.
  4. Unsubscribe rates: Unsubscribe rate is the percentage of people who wish to discontinue receiving your emails. The industry average is 0.5%. Anything above this percentage could affect your email marketing results. 

You can also gather insights on engagement with the following data.

Metric DefinitionExamples
Content consumption Tracks how well subscribers engage with your content ‣ Scroll depth
‣ Average session duration
‣ Page views per session
Action rates Analyzes how subscribers respond to CTAs in your content ‣ CTR on emails
‣ Conversion on landing pages
‣ Completion rate for surveys
Sentiment metricsShows subscriber satisfaction and perception‣ Customer satisfaction score
‣ Net promoter score
‣ Social media engagement score
Time-based metricsExamines changes in engagement over time ‣ ‣ Customer churn rate
‣ Customer lifetime value
‣ Repeat purchase rate
Standard metrics to track subscriber engagement

If you are still growing your subscriber list, it may be difficult to understand your email campaign performance because there are few email metrics to track. 

However, when you follow proper strategies, you will be able to build a loyal subscriber list and, eventually, grow your revenue.

Actionable Tips to Grow Email Marketing Subscriber Base

Whether you want to attract new subscribers or nurture existing ones, it’s critical to get their consent. You may be tempted to purchase email lists or use cold emailing methods to find a quicker pathway. However, these strategies will lead to higher spam complaints, leading to lower email deliverability and sender reputation.

Instead, build a strong foundation with these actionable strategies.

Craft Compelling Opt-in Forms

Opt-in forms help you attract interested people and turn them into subscribers

These opt-in best practices and strategies will help you get started:

  • Keep opt-in forms concise and ask for essential information only.
  • Highlight the value proposition. For example, “Get 10% off on your first order.”
  • Include social proof such as testimonials and reviews to increase the trust factor.
  • A/B test different designs, content, and CTA placement.

Offer Valuable Lead Magnets

While opt-in forms help you gather new subscribers, lead magnets help you target the most interested ones. It’s a give-and-take strategy — you offer a valuable resource in exchange for an audience’s email address.

You can create a good lead magnet with these tips below:

  • Create easily downloadable content such as whitepapers, e-books, or PDFs.
  • Showcase your expertise and solve your audience’s pain points.
  • Produce lead magnets based on your industry type and specification. For example, a SaaS business might offer free online tools, while an e-commerce store can give away discounts.

Pro Tip: Download the Lead Magnet Multiplier Course with 4 mini-trainings that teach you how to increase open and click rates, sender reputation, and ultimately, drive up to 756% more clicks on your lead magnets. 

Leverage Your Website

Your website can do more than sell products — you can strategically place opt-in forms and include website links in your social profiles, blogs, and other places where your audience are the most active.

Pop-ups on websites are another way to garner attention. However, be mindful not to overdo this part which could annoy the visitors. 

Other elements you can include in your website are:

  • Website personalization based on your audience’s behavior and preferences,
  • Content upgrades to encourage visitors to give their email addresses.

Use Double Opt-in for Extra Security 

Double opt-in is when you add an extra layer and ask recipients to confirm their email addresses after they opt-in. This eliminates email address typos and helps build a valid email address list.

As you use a double opt-in strategy, ensure to follow these protocols:

  • Send prompt confirmation messages as soon as they sign up to your email list,
  • Personalize confirmation emails based on the user’s specific interests and actions,
  • Follow-up on recipients who haven’t had the chance to confirm their subscription.

More Ways to Engage Subscribers 

You can implement the following additional strategies to increase engagement with subscribers:

  1. Partner with complementary businesses to cross-promote email lists,
  2. Run targeted ads on social media and provide links in social profiles,
  3. Send warm welcome emails to new subscribers and provide incentives,
  4. Use website behavior data to send recommendation emails,
  5. Offer exclusive glimpses into your company culture, product making, and general behind-the-scenes,
  6. Utilize user-generated content to increase trust and credibility,
  7. Implement loyalty programs where subscribers earn points for each action they take. 

You can find in-depth strategic approaches in “How to grow your email list: The Ultimate Playbook for 2024.”

How to Maintain a Healthy Subscriber List?

With more people on your list, you will have to spend more time cleaning and managing them.

Here are key strategies to maintain a healthy and engaged subscriber list:

  • Prioritize data hygiene: Routinely remove inactive and disengaged subscribers from your list. For example, Campaign Refinery’s automatic email list cleaning tool cleans lists every 30 – 180 days to ensure only valid addresses remain.
  • Consider re-engagement campaigns: Before deleting inactive subscribers, consider re-engaging them with incentives, discounts, and exclusive offers.
  • Offer easy unsubscribing: Make it straightforward for recipients to unsubscribe by providing links in the email footer

Campaign Refinery automatically includes a one-click unsubscribe option in all client emails.

More importantly, follow email marketing regulations such as the CAN-SPAM and GDPR Act to avoid spam traps. Consistently monitor spam complaints and be transparent with how you use recipient data. 

The Future of Email Marketing Subscribers

As technologies such as AI evolve, and customer preferences shift, we recognize significant themes to keep our eyes on.

Email Marketing TrendWhat Will ChangeImpact on Campaigns
Micro-segmentation Email lists will be divided at a granular-level for a more targeted approachHigher engagement and conversions
Interactive elementsEmails will feature more interactive elements such as polls, GIFs, quizzes, and challengesHigher subscriber interaction and engagement
ChatbotsEmails may include chatbots for assisted communicationCreates a more engaging and interactive subscriber experience
AIAI will be used to hyper-personalize emails, including spam filtering, automation, content creation, etcA better and more engaged customer experience 
Emerging trends related to email marketing subscriber

At the core of these emerging trends lies a fundamental truth: For any of these to happen, your emails must land in subscriber inboxes. For that, you need a reliable email marketing platform with an impeccable deliverability score, powerful automation and segmentation capabilities.

The Best Way to Send Compelling Emails to Quality Email Subscribers

Email marketing subscribers are the lifeblood of email marketing, enabling you to grow your business. While building your subscriber list is vital for driving sales, ensuring that your emails are delivered to them is also critical. 

Campaign Refinery ensures the highest email deliverability rate on the market through robust tools and features, such as:

  1. Gamification rewards: Incentivize customers to interact with your emails, increasing engagement metrics and, eventually, inbox placement.
  2. Strict authentication protocols: Campaign Refinery makes it mandatory for new clients to undergo domain authentication and periodically review email-sending practices.
  3. Good email-sending practices: The platform consists of reputable email senders. This means senders who indulge in cold emailing or other bad email marketing practices will be banned from using the platform without prior notice.
  4. Powerful automation and segmentation: Segment subscribers and automate campaigns based on email tags and smart goal triggers for a more personalized approach. 

Campaign Refinery embraces email marketing trends, identifies areas for improvement, and implements strict security mechanisms to improve the email marketing experience.

Our ultimate goal is to give our clients a comprehensive email solution for all their marketing needs. 

Ready to become a top sender with Campaign Refinery? 

Apply to become a client now!

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