Why Size Matters: You Need at Least 1,000 Email Subscribers

Most of us check our emails daily. I have two emails: a business account and a personal account. My business account is open for the entire business day, with clients keeping me on my toes until I go home at 5 pm. My personal account is open for a fraction of the time to check the latest Tweets and YouTube videos sent to me by friends. Nevertheless, I scan through my personal account almost every day, whether on my Smartphone or laptop at home.

As a developer in a marketing company, I know that I am not the only person with this pattern. Sometimes, emails can be the easiest ways to connect with your customers. Because of the high contact rate, I highly recommend using email as part of your marketing strategy. The tactic can help you significantly reach more customers and is simpler than you think.

How to Calculate Optimal Mailing List Size

Your newsletter would not exist without an email list. There are methods to collect the people that you need without pulling out hairs. From experience, I recommend a few steps for building a list of recipients. The first step is to determine how large your mailing list needs to be. Your goal can break down into the following equation:

[Subscribers] * [Click-Through-Rate (CTR)] * [Website Conversion Rate] = [Conversions from Email].

So what does this mean for you? How many subscribers do you need for email to be worth your time? I’ve put together a chart to help.

    1. Look up your “Quality Index” in the first table below. Take a look at your website conversion rate, and match it with your email CTR. If you don’t know these numbers yet, it’s safe to assume a 3% conversion rate for your website (industry average), and a 3% CTR for email (this varies by industry type, but you can look yours up here: http://mailchimp.com/resources/research/email-marketing-benchmarks/ ).
    2. Now look up your Quality Index score on the “Expected Conversion” table below. This will show you how many conversions per email to expect based on your email list size.

Quality Index Lookup*

Email CTR   Website Conversion Rate
1% 2% 3% 4% 5% 6% 7% 8%
1% 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8
2% 2 4 6 8 10 12 14 16
3% 3 6 9 12 15 18 21 24
4% 4 8 12 16 20 24 28 32
5% 5 10 15 20 25 30 35 40
6% 6 12 18 24 30 36 42 48
7% 7 14 21 28 35 42 49 56
8% 8 16 24 32 40 48 56 64
  • 1 to 5: Decent
  • 6 to 9: Industry Average
  • 10 to 16: Really Good
  • Above 16: Big League

*Quality Index is not a universal email list term, it’s only used in this article to assist in estimating email conversions.

Expected Conversions From Email

Quality Index
Email List Size
100 500 1000 2500 5000 10000 25000
1 1 1 3
2 1 1 2 5
3 1 2 3 8
4 1 2 4 10
5 1 1 3 5 13
6 1 2 3 6 15
7 1 2 4 7 18
8 1 2 4 8 20
9 1 2 5 9 23
10 1 1 3 5 10 25
12 1 1 3 6 12 30
14 1 1 4 7 14 35
15 1 2 4 8 15 38
16 1 2 4 8 16 40
18 1 2 5 9 18 45
20 1 2 5 10 20 50
21 1 2 5 11 21 53
24 1 2 6 12 24 60
25 1 3 6 13 25 63
28 1 3 7 14 28 70
30 2 3 8 15 30 75
32 2 3 8 16 32 80
35 2 4 9 18 35 88
36 2 4 9 18 36 90
40 2 4 10 20 40 100
42 2 4 11 21 42 105
48 2 5 12 24 48 120
49 2 5 12 25 49 123
56 1 3 6 14 28 56 140
64 1 3 6 16 32 64 160

What these charts illustrate is how important the size of your email list is. Even if you have an amazing website and the best email content, if your email list is less than 1,000 subscribers you will be lucky to see 2 conversions. Size matters.

How to Build a Subscriber List

Earn Your Subscribers with Forms on Your Website

If someone is contacting your business, you can bet that they have visited your website! The high volume of people is a valuable opportunity for subscribing to your email list. You can make the most of this opportunity by inserting an opt-in form on your website.

A successful opt-in form has:

      • A form that is impossible to miss
      • Strong call to action
      • Offers a valuable incentive to subscribe (such as discounts or exclusive info)

Convert followers into subscribers

A social media interface can be one of the largest, focused fan bases. Not to mention, each person is connected to a valuable email address that you are looking for. In 2014, ¾ of adults were connected to a social media platform. By putting a contest on Facebook or Twitter, you can reach thousands of people. To convert your social media fans into email subscribers, they need an incentive to go through the trouble of filling out a form and giving you their email address. That’s why contests work great.

Tools to Create Great Social Media Contest

      • Facebook’s or Twitter’s advertising tool (you will not reach enough people organically)
      • Engaging photos
      • An incentive worth the trouble (The amount of work to enter the contest should be proportional to the value of the prize being offered)
      • Emphasize the value of your giveaway

Engage with Current Clients

Emails and newsletters can earn you repeat business, as well as new customers. Engaging with your current clients is one simple way to build your email list. You likely already have hundreds of email addresses of current and past customers.

We build email campaigns using MailChimp. The campaign management software provides customizable templates and A/B testing. There are more than 7 million people who use MailChimp to design and send 500 million emails every day. The results of your A/B testing can determine improvements in your email marketing campaign.

What MailChimp Deciphers

      • The open rate
      • The click-through rate
      • The conversion rate once they’re on your website

Get Your Hands Dirty!

“Dirty Lists” are one of the most controversial methods of marketing! A “dirty list” entails paying for a list of your target market’s emails. Before you refuse to use this tactic, know that “dirty lists” do not have to be a bad thing. If done right, you can build worthwhile contacts.

Steps to Using a “Dirty List” Right

      • Get emails of your target market
      • Send them valuable content
      • Tell your list where you got the contact info
      • Ask them if they want to be on your list

“Dirty Lists” are not created randomly. The emails are collected from people who have signed up for similar services. Your contacts reaches customers who are interested in services that you provide but are not yet using your company.

These four tactics are only the beginning to building your subscriber list. I highly recommend reading further into each of these approaches, as I’ve only scratched the surface. Just keep in mind, for email marketing to be profitable you need enough subscribers.