By Princess Jones

The email marketing list is swiftly becoming the most valuable piece of a comprehensive marketing plan. When done right, it’s essentially a list of people who care about what you’re promoting and want you to tell them about it. A large, healthy mailing list is a marketer’s dream come true.

Growing your email marketing list can really push your business to the next level. On the other hand, if you manage it incorrectly, you can devalue it in just a few missteps.

Not Having a Plan

The biggest question marketers have about their mailing lists is often about frequency and content. The short answer is “Whatever your audience will respond to.”

Not a very satisfying answer, right? But it’s the truth. You have to know your audience first and the answers will come from that.

Let’s say you have an industrial kitchen supply business. Your list is probably composed of industry professionals. They are likely very busy but won’t mind getting a fair amount of email. If you can send content about industry news, events, and most importantly deals, you’re probably more likely to get their attention.

On the other hand, if you’re a cookbook author building your mailing list in an effort to market your blog and your future books, your audience is likely going to be people who enjoy cooking or people who want to learn more about cooking. They’re probably not open to receiving emails every single day. They probably want content that includes recipes they can try at home, including photos. If the brand is built on the cooking of one person, they also might enjoy some personal stories related to food.

If you’re not that sure about your audience, be sure to use the tracking tools in your email list provider’s dashboard. It should have your open rates, your unsubscribe rates, and lots of other good information that can help inform your decisions. Or just ask your subscribers! Send out out a survey asking how often they’d like to be emailed and what they want to know about.

Adding Randoms to Your List

I’m a copywriter, a marketing professional, and an entrepreneur. Therefore, I know a lot of other people in business and marketing. I can’t tell you how many times my email address has ended up on a mailing list that I haven’t signed up for because I happen to be in the contacts list of someone associated with the list. Other times, I’ll find that one of the email addresses associated with a website I managed has been signed up for some random list. No,, I didn’t sign up for emails from your blog. I’d bet my life on it.

You have to have permission to add an email address to your mailing list. That’s why most mailing list management companies require a double opt-in process to confirm the subscription. This isn’t just to protect them. Your list is only as good as the engagement it gets. When you add subscribers who aren’t engaged, you’re devaluing your list.

So what’s the solution? Ask before you add. It’s that simple. The people who want to have those messages will say yes and the ones that will not will let you know. And your email list will be better for it.