<strong class="jet-color">It\u2019s a familiar story<\/strong> - Your emails are responsive, coded perfectly for every browser, and full of witty, enticing content... but your subscribers just aren\u2019t opening, clicking, or purchasing.\r\n\r\n[caption id="attachment_6929" align="alignnone" width="1411"]<img class="size-full wp-image-6929" src="https:\/\/www.northern.co\/wp-content\/uploads\/northernblog-emaillist-reportimg.jpg" alt="An email report with 12% open rates and 0% CTR" width="675" height="218" \/>Low open rates, and low click through rates: a sign of an unengaged email list and a constant fear\u00a0for all email marketers[\/caption]\r\n\r\n<p class="subheader">"But my list is permission-based! My subscribers want to hear from me! Why is my list unengaged?" you ask.<\/p>\r\n\r\nThe reality is that list management is a task that is never complete - it\u2019s something that needs to be worked on over time. If subscribers feel like you are not targeting their specific interests, they will become stale, and will just stop paying attention.\r\n\r\nEvery list is different, so every solution needs to be custom tailored to make an impact. While there is no \u201cone size fits all\u201d solution for unengagement, there are key themes across many unengaged lists - whether it\u2019s how you collect subscribers, what you know about them, or their reaction to your sending schedule.\r\n\r\n[twitter_share_quote hashtags="emailmarketing"]List management is never complete - it needs to be worked on over time.[\/twitter_share_quote]\r\n\r\nThe first step to fixing a list is figuring out what\u2019s wrong, so let\u2019s dive into the main reasons your list may be unengaged and what you can do to improve it.\r\n\r\n<h2 class="red-color">1. Your subscriber collection methods produce cold subscribers.<\/h2>\r\nNot all subscribers are built the same. Depending on how they were collected, each subscriber is at a different part of the sales funnel and at a different level of familiarity with your brand. Here are some examples:\r\n<ul>\r\n \t<li><strong class="jet-color">Current Customer<\/strong> - hot lead, fully engaged with brand, wants to know more<\/li>\r\n \t<li><strong class="jet-color">Opted in Through Site<\/strong> - warm lead, somewhat engaged with brand, wants to know more<\/li>\r\n \t<li><strong class="jet-color">Opted in Through a Contest<\/strong> - cold lead, may not be aware of brand, just wanted to enter contest<\/li>\r\n<\/ul>\r\n\r\nIf you have a list that is predominantly the 3rd type of subscriber, but you\u2019re only sending them purchase-based product information, it\u2019s not likely to invoke much of their interest. Instead, divide the contest entrants\/cold leads into their own segment and start sending them more top of the funnel email content. Some great top of the funnel emails include:\r\n\r\n<ul>\r\n \t<li><strong class="jet-color">Highlighting social activity<\/strong> - ex. Instagram photos people have taken of your products<\/li>\r\n \t<li><strong class="jet-color">Providing content\/guides\/videos about products<\/strong> - ex. Youtube product demos<\/li>\r\n \t<li><strong class="jet-color">Company updates + information<\/strong> - ex. Message from the CEO about new things to look forward to<\/li>\r\n<\/ul>\r\n\r\n<h2 class="red-color">2. You don\u2019t know anything about your subscribers<\/h2>\r\n[twitter_share_link hashtags="emailmarketing"]The first rule of creating engaging emails: personalize, personalize, personalize.[\/twitter_share_link]\r\n\r\nIf all you\u2019ve been collecting about your subscribers is their name and email address, the only way you can personalize your emails is by filling in this blank: \u201cHi _______\u201d.\r\n\r\nIt takes more than a first name to personalize and email. Personalization means more than a couple of name drops and changing the colour for male vs. female. You need to know more, like what are their interests? Do they want advice or products? Have they purchased? How much have they purchased? The list can go on and on.\r\n\r\nGathering this type of information will help you send targeted emails to relevant segments, instead of just sending one email to your entire list, and hoping for the best.\r\n\r\nThis information can be collected in a couple of different ways, including:\r\n<ul>\r\n \t<li><strong class="jet-color">Adding fields and checkboxes to your opt-in form<\/strong> - remember to only include fields you really need so potential subscribers are not overwhelmed<\/li>\r\n \t<li><strong class="jet-color">Sending surveys to your list<\/strong> - this can be done periodically, or through a workflow, to let people fill in the blanks once they\u2019re already subscribed.<\/li>\r\n \t<li><strong class="jet-color">eCommerce\/API integrations<\/strong> - most email service providers have the option to connect their API with your eCommerce platform, allowing you to collect valuable purchase data.<\/li>\r\n<\/ul>\r\n\r\nMost Email Service Providers (ex. <a href="http:\/\/www.mailchimp.com" target="_blank">Mailchimp<\/a>, <a href="http:\/\/www.smartmail.io" target="_blank">SmartMail<\/a>, <a href="http:\/\/www.dotmailer.com" target="_blank">Dotmailer<\/a>) usually have fairly advanced database systems that allow you to accurately collect and store everything from demographic data to subscriber interests.\r\n\r\n<h2 class="red-color">3. You\u2019re sending too much or you\u2019re not sending enough.<\/h2>\r\nThere\u2019s a fine line between letting subscribers forget about you, and overwhelming them with too many emails. If you go weeks or months between new emails, there\u2019s a high chance people could forget they subscribed, forget who you are, or may have even changed their email addresses.\r\n\r\nAvoid this by finding the optimal frequency for your subscribers (spoiler alert: it could be different for different segments!).\r\n\r\nFinding the right frequency for your subscribers comes through continuous testing and feedback. Start with a standard schedule like 1 email per segment per week, and increase or decrease in increments to find what works best.\r\n\r\nTo streamline the process, you could always give subscribers the option to tell you through a data field or survey how often they\u2019d like to hear from you.\r\n<h2>Give your subscribers what they want.<\/h2>\r\nSo you\u2019ve figured out what type of subscribers you have, what they want to see, and when they want to see it - now it\u2019s time to start putting this knowledge into action! Use this shiny new data to create an email marketing program that targets these interests and allows you to connect with subscribers more personally.\r\n\r\nAs a result they\u2019ll start opening, clicking, and purchasing - turning your list from stale and unengaged, to a fresh, data-loaded, conversion-driving machine.