Best, Worst & Future Email List-Growth Tactics

May 26, 2009

This article is included in these additional categories:

Analytics, Automated & MarTech | B2B | Email | Retail & E-Commerce | Telecom

The most effective email list-growth tactics for marketers are on-site registration and capturing information through inbound call centers, while the least effective tactics are outbound call-center attempts to solicit information and list rental, according to research conducted by ExactTarget, Ball State University and the Email Marketers Club.


The study, which was conducted by analyzing the past performance and future plans of 351 email marketers in various countries, evaluated 18 different list-growth tactics to identify the best, worst and fastest-growing approaches to building email lists.

Overall, the study found that the best way to grow email subscriber lists is to collect customers’ email addresses during times of high engagement and on occasions when the consumers’ perceive the marketer as adding value – at the point of sale, during online shopping and in-store via text messaging. These on-site list growth tactics rated as much as 60% higher than offline methods such as list rental and mass advertising.

Mobile Capture, SocNet Sharing Rising Quickly

Exact Target also reported that email subscription via text messaging is the fastest growing list-building tactic among marketers. The company predicts that mobile capture – enabling consumers to subscribe to emails via their mobile phones – will increase 500%, more than any other growth tactic in 2009.

Marketers also expect the practice of enabling subscribers to share email content with their social networks is expected to increase more than 348% in 2009.

Top Priorities for 2009

When asked about their top three email priorities for 2009, the largest number of marketers (51%) said that improving conversations was important to them. This was followed by a focus on improving the relevance of emails (41%) and growing email lists (38%).? The smallest number of respondents said that lowering costs was one of their top priorities (5%).


Additional study findings:

  • B2B marketers are more successful in driving new subscriptions with ‘incentivized’ registration, while B2C marketers find ‘non-incentivized’ subscriptions most effective.
  • One-third of all email marketers rarely or never evaluate the performance of their list growth sources.

“The best performing list growth tactics are built on gathering subscriber data rather than hunting for it,’ said Morgan Stewart, ExactTarget’s director of research and strategy. “Whether you are a B2B or a B2C marketer, the best way to grow your subscriber list is to collect information during customer-initiated interactions.”

Previously released findings from the same research show that marketers expect to increase their social networking-related email initiatives by 367%.

About the research: Study results have been compiled into a 30-page report. The 2009 List Growth Whitepaper is free and available for download.

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