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Myth 8: Without a large list, you can't do email marketing

Category: Email Marketing

Imagen Myth 8: Without a large list, you

This myth is quite common in marketing departments, but it's more of an excuse to avoid starting email marketing. Having a list with few subscribers can be demoralizing initially; there is distrust in the results that will be achieved, and other actions end up taking priority. Is it better to wait until you have more than 1,000 subscribers? False! A newsletter received by 20 people can be just as interesting and effective as one sent to 20,000.


Why It's Good to Have a Small List

The best approach in email marketing is not to think in terms of quantity but quality. So, there are no small or large lists because the volume of subscribers doesn't matter as much as their interactions. If they are engaged, meaning they open and click on campaigns and end up making a purchase or booking an appointment with a sales representative, it can be profitable to send, even to a few people.

If you have a database with a few records, chances are you know them all, and they have a high willingness to pay attention to your communications because they also know who you are and what you can offer. This is positive for your email marketing strategy because you will know exactly what kind of message to send. This way, you'll achieve good results and can analyze how they react, for example, to images or calls to action.

You'll keep improving as subscriptions increase, allowing you to experiment with formats, style, and frequency. It's easier to test when you know who the audience is, and if the list has a few people, they are more trusting and can forgive mistakes more easily because they know you're just starting.

Another advantage is that if, after trying, you find that email marketing is not your thing, you can stop sending without remorse because it won't affect many people. However, we recommend against it because you would miss out on the lessons you've surely learned about your subscribers' preferences.


How to Get the First Subscribers

The first email address in your database will be yours; then, you'll add others from your department and eventually expand to the rest of your company. This is the most common path, first because someone has to receive the tests, and second because once passed, any employee may be interested in knowing the company's updates.

To grow the list, the closest resource is current clients and suppliers. Every business is different but consider including those who stopped being clients if they could still be recovered. Of course, you must respect GDPR, so don't act lightly. This option may have been considered in the service contract, but make sure you have their consent to include them in the database for commercial communications.

Once you've reached the closest circles, you need to seek subscribers just like any other company: placing the signup form where there is already a potentially interested audience.

  • Digital channels, such as the website and social media, are the most likely to capture the first people interested in receiving information from the company. Also, employee email signatures.
  • Physical spaces, such as purchase receipts, flyers in stores, and product catalogs. QR codes are a good solution to direct traffic there and make it easy for them to find the form.

It's also possible to create specific campaigns to increase the database with promotions, such as lead magnets or contests, offering incentives to users. But whatever you do, never buy contact lists: while it may seem like the best way to increase the number of subscribers, it's an illegal practice.


What to Send to a Small List

Following the same criteria for getting the first subscribers, you can adapt your mailings to the composition of the list:

  • Just you: review available templates until you find two or three that fit. Use test texts to determine which one works best for your business. The goal of these initial mailings is simply to test the possibilities of different formats.
  • Your department: prepare a test mailing with real texts and images, as if you were really sending it to your subscriber list, call it beta. It's about contrasting what you've decided to have other viewpoints from your area, such as corporate colors or the type of content you've planned.
  • Your company: it will be read by people you know, but it's not an official launch; consider it number 0. What matters is having different profiles testing the campaign to detect design or readability issues on various computers. It may be interesting to know their opinions, but remember that they are not your main audience.
  • Current clients and suppliers: now is the time to announce the world the number 1 of your newsletter. You can send a special thank-you message for their loyalty, a selection of news, or a promotion—whatever you had planned to do normally. As there are few and you know who they are and what they have in common, prepare campaigns that may interest them.
  • Past clients and suppliers: recovering their interest will depend on why they stopped being clients. For example: explaining updates, adding discounts, or trying to create a more modern image with a new template can be ways to possibly bring them back as clients in the medium or long term.
  • Acquisition: if the reasons for them to sign up are offers or exclusive information, that's what you should give them. However, the incentive is what they want, but you also need to achieve your goals, so you'll have to prepare communications for that, always balancing the options so that they don't want to unsubscribe.

Quickly, the list will be a mix of all these audiences, which in practice means that it will be most interesting to achieve good results by segmenting it to send targeted campaigns to a group with similar tastes or needs. From this perspective, we can say that segmenting is creating small lists from a larger one.

So, even when you have thousands of subscribers, you end up running campaigns for smaller groups. That's why you can do email marketing with large or small lists because the key is in the quality of your data.

Download the ebook "Myths of Email Marketing" to learn about others you should stop believing.

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