According to Ascend2 and its research partners, email marketing and list growth are top objectives this year for marketers, business owners and sales. While about 75% of respondents report the growth of their email lists, the vast majority say their list growth is a slow process. Since nearly half of survey respondents claim this is one of their top three objectives, it may be helpful to know which email list growth tactics work for others.

While lowering unsubscribe rates was once an issue, respondents now claim the most challenging aspects of email list growth are:

  • Creating relevant, valuable content – 44%
  • Expertise in growing lists – 43%
  • Accuracy of email lists – 40%
  • Email strategy effectiveness – 39%

In an interesting turn, few survey respondents report that improving the accuracy of lists will be a priority this year; however, they may lump this in with their other efforts.

The most effective email list growth tactics according to the respondents, 70% of which engage in B2B activities, are:

  • Website access – 43%
  • Content downloads – 42%
  • Social media sharing – 40%
  • Paid search campaigns – 39%
  • Gated content downloads – 22%
  • Gated website access – 16%

It follows that the more convenient respondents make the digital experience for users, the more effective the overall strategy becomes.

For B2C companies, the way subscribers opt-in to the email list makes a difference to their overall engagement. Those subscribers who opt-in because they want to receive email communications remain more engaged with brand emails than those who opted in as a requirement for gaining access to gated materials. Capturing the attention of implicit subscribers continues to require more dynamic and captivating email subject lines.

Ascend2’s study also found that nearly 67% of respondents consider growing their email lists “very important” to their marketing campaigns. An additional 29% said it was “somewhat important” to marketing campaign success. This optimism in list growth is likely tied to slowing list growth numbers. It more clearly reveals itself when comparing respondents who felt their email marketing efforts were “somewhat successful” with those responding “very successful.” In this instance, 56% responded “somewhat successful,” while only 14% believed their email marketing strategies were “very successful.”

Regarding the most important marketing objectives for the coming year, the study revealed the top three to be:

  • Increasing conversion rates – 57%
  • Improved lead generation – 51%
  • List Growth – 48%


MarketingCharts. Which Email List Growth Tactics Are Proving Effective For Marketers? January 20, 2015.