How to Create and Curate an Effective, Valuable Email Marketing Database

How to Create and Curate an Effective, Valuable Email Marketing Database

Everyone who works in Digital Marketing will tell you that email capture is the key to leveraging your network and this in turn will drive sales. But are they always the people you want to engage with? Are they people that are not just subscribers but also prospective sales? There is little value in having a huge email database (GDPR compliant one of course!) without collating and utilising it effectively.

Research has shown that on average people open less than 35% of the emails that they receive daily, meaning that more than 60% of carefully crafted content doesn’t even get looked at! We are all so used to filtering our inboxes that most of us won’t even read more than the address of the sender and subject line. 

So how do you avoid being added to the dreaded junk list?

We’ve collated some of our top tips to creating and curating a valuable email marketing database, tried and tested on our very own clients.

Before we get in to the mechanics of growing your database and sending emails, it’s worth considering the format and copy of your emails, using basic web design principals and good copy it’s much more likely that the message gets across and the emails get actioned. Emails should be considered extensions of your business and website so ensuring your branding features strongly and your brand message is also translated along with whatever other marketing message you are conveying. 

To get high value subscribers make sure what you are offering is something that people WANT

Sounds obvious right?! The biggest and most important element to increase subscribers is to make your offering more appealing. 

By surveying your existing customers and subscribers you can find out why people engaged with your business in the first place. If this isn’t possible, or even if it is, it’s worth trialing a number of strategies with differing offers to see which is the more effective to generate subscribers. 

By focusing on having a great valuable offering to your prospective subscribers is by far the most successful way to ensure that people are willing to hit that subscribe button. Today, we guard our email addresses incredibly carefully, we’ve seen too many companies abuse the privilege and fill mailboxes with spam! 

Giveaway’s are always the most likely thing to entice people to part with their email address, free access to gated content, discount codes, downloads etc.  You’ll never know until you start experimenting and testing strategies, what will and won’t fly, sometimes it’s the most throw away idea that people engage with the most.  

As with all types of marketing campaigns we would suggest A/B testing with different versions of your proposed content. This could include varying the copy, the call-to-action text, the colour of the offer, the time of day of posting and more factors. Test analyse and adjust accordingly. 

Making it as EASY as possible to subscribe  

Again, seems obvious! One of the main things to consider when attempting to engage with new subscribers is that, in the main, the less effort it takes for someone to sign up to something and the better the reward the more likely it is that they will subscribe.  

Therefore, having streams of information required to sign up is going to put people off. Unless it is entirely necessary, we would suggest offering signups with just the email address. There is some argument for asking people to fill in their names as well, however in most cases this isn’t needed. 

Every step you can take to make the form simpler will help you build your audience. The fewer steps between a consumer being interested and them subscribing helps your pool of subscribers grow. 

We suggest altering where on your website these signup forms are located, header, footer, mid page or adding more than one call to action. Sometimes a really small change can drive hundreds more conversions. In most cases your website design will have the opt-in form placed on the front page of their site, which is great. The home page is the perfect place for an opt-in. However, in some cases, especially if your site is set up with differing product landing pages – what happens if people land on other pages? In a lot of cases website owners and designers only include opt-ins in the footer of common pages, like blogs, home and major top-level pages. Or worse, subscribing boxes aren’t even available on these pages. Include a place to sign up for your email site-wide, if you have a static header or footer it’s an ideal position to put a sign-up button or box. 

Engage with your new subscribers immediately

The thank-you page, or confirmation page after a subscriber signs up for your email list, is one of the most underrated places to grow your email list or even to convert subscribers into sales. A great way to encourage subscribers to continue to engage at the point of signup is offer a sign up “bonus”. So not only are your subscribers getting the thing that they originally signed up for, but a little extra too. For example, offering a big, immediately available, discount could instantly turn many new subscribers into buyers—making them instantly more valuable. 

Another great tip is to give away something unexpected – a free download for example – additionally to the offer you already promised; over delivering on the subscribers’ expectations will ensure that they are on the lookout for good things from you whenever they receive a marketing communication. 

You could also consider offering a referral scheme for new subscribers; additional discounts or freebies for people willing to refer friends or to share on social networks. 

Utilise social networks 

More and more people are spending large amounts of time on social networks, where no doubt you are posting about your business, products and engaging with your audience. These people are already interested in your brand if they are engaging with your content so why not reach out to those people? 

Inviting your following on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram to join your email newsletter with promise of exclusive content for subscribers – as these people are already engaged with your business it’s worth creating specific landing signup pages for those followers. 

Pinterest and YouTube, are also arenas in which people are engaged and interested in your brand and signing those people up to your email database is another way of utilising already interested users, ensuring you have a link to sign up in the description of the video or the post means that people can directly access your signup from the content in which they’ve already shown an interest. 


If you don’t already blog, you should start – right now! Blog posts are multi-functional, not only do they help you increase your ranking on search engines like Google, providing fresh and engaging content but also, they allow you collect blog subscribers. Blog subscribers, much like your social media following are already interested in your brand, once you have signed up a blog subscriber you can then upgrade to a full email marketing subscriber in time. 

Blogging on your own site is essential for all good marketing and SEO campaigns but you might also consider guesting on someone else’s blog. There are likely to be many other blogs and sites catering to a similar audience who are on the lookout for content. Guest blogging for these websites helps you broaden your contact list to this audience too. It is essential when creating content as a guest blogger that you include a call-to-action in the blog, as well as a link to your site within your author bio, this will easily enable interested parties to access your site directly and sign up. 

It’s all in the title… (and a bit more!) 

Finally you’ve got your subscribers, you’ve ensured that they’re all high value and interested. How do you get them to actually open your email in a sea of full inboxes? 

In the early days of email all you could see was the subject line. Today, however, email clients not only show the sender and subjects, but they will also show snippets of the email in a small preview line after the subject. This is seriously valuable screen space, and you should do your best to maximize your usage of that space! By using the ‘twitter’ method you get as much valuable information that will entice your reader to open the email. Make the preview as catchy and pithy as possible, include any information about discounts or offers too.  

Update your data base with an opt-in/out campaign

Do you have an old email subscriber list that has mostly decayed or since the introduction of GDPR is no longer fully compliant?  

By creating an engaging opt-in/out message to ensure compliance for all contacts who wish to re-opt-in, will ensure you are engaging with people who are actively interested in your brand. By promising to remove all contacts who don’t respond might seem counterintuitive but – compliance issues aside –  removing people from your mailing list will ensure that you are only using your valuable time contacting engaged contacts; this will likely improve your deliverability and increase the odds of your email getting shared onwards. 

At drop_ we create tried and tested campaigns; our email marketing experience means that we can take the hassle out of getting new subscribers and how to convey your marketing message. Contact us to find out more information on our email marketing services.