How To Get Conversions Out Of Your Current Email Database

Every business has an email database. It might be people who signed up for a newsletter or discount notifications. Or it could be current or churned customers. Either way, you’ve most likely built up a valuable collection of people with some kind of interest in your products or services.

Email Marketing to get conversions

But are you getting the most out of that list?‍

According to one study, businesses have a ~60% chance of getting a current customer to make another purchase and a ~20% chance of enticing previous customers to come back. On the other hand, there’s only a ~5% chance of turning a prospect into a new customer.

Clearly there’s a lot of value in those first two groups, but you won’t be able to convince anyone that your current list of email addresses is more important than attracting new leads.

Your target audience is most likely 100x or even 1,000x the size of your current customer base — that’s why marketing is such an essential part of growing a business. But that doesn’t mean you can overlook the conversions that are just waiting, untapped, in your database.

Instead, here are four ways (that you can apply individually or sequentially) to help you turn your current email database into a source of conversions for your business.

  1. Segment Your Database
  2. Personalize Whenever Possible
  3. Explore Subject Lines
  4. Re-engage Previous Customers

Let’s deep dive to understand each one of these points in details-

1. Segment Your Database

Segmentation has become an almost necessary part of using email databases. Part of that is the fact that most databases are larger than they need to be, managed by multiple people (or multiple tools), and otherwise hard to navigate without a 19th century sailing map.

Segmenting email database

The more important reason why we trust segmentation is that it helps us get the most out of our email databases, which means we can improve email open rates simply by being smarter about how we use the emails we collect.

Using a segmented list doesn’t mean you’re ignoring entire blocks of your email database. Instead, it gives you the ability to get the most out of each lead by speaking directly to their needs or buyer’s journey.

To prove the value of email segmentation, Mailchimp surveyed 2,000 users (and analyzed 11,000 email campaigns to over 9 million users). Some of the big takeaways from their findings are that segmented email campaigns generate:

  • 14.31% more opens
  • 10.64% more unique opens
  • 100.95% more clicks
  • 9.37% fewer unsubscribes

Segmentation is the end-all, be-all solution for converting every lead into a customer. But by focusing your communication on specific user types, you’ll be able to deliver content that feels personalized enough to incentivize more opens and — hopefully — more clicks as well.

2. Personalize Whenever Possible

The next evolution of segmentation is personalization. And while it can be more time consuming, it increases all of those important statistics even further. 

Personalize your email communications

According to one study, personalized emails deliver 29% higher open rates, 41% higher click rates, and 6x higher transaction rates. And while it’s hard to provide any true correlation between these numbers and the ones on segmentation, we can at least deduce that personalized emails are even more effective than segmented email campaigns.

Now, imagine if you combined these two superpowers. You could conquer the world with that sort of efficiency... or, at the very least, you’ll get all-time-high conversion rates out of your email database without having to collect a single new email.

But as we just mentioned, personalization isn’t nearly as time-friendly as automated emails or even emails that pull variable data from an emailer tool. If you want to deliver email content that truly speaks to each recipient in your email database, you’ll have to segment and personalize.

It’s either that, or write each email from scratch. And if we’re trying to boost conversions without hiring a team of dedicated email specialists, then nobody’s got the time to handcraft every single email you send.

3. Explore Subject Lines

Building off of that personalization is how you write subject lines for your emails. To get more conversions out of your current email database, you may need to rethink how you approach such a key part of email marketing.

Capture someone’s interest with the email subject line

After all, if you don’t capture someone’s interest with the subject line, you’re probably not going to get them to read the email, let alone convert.

You can experiment with subject lines in three different ways: by personalizing them, by asking questions (rather than stating facts), and by A/B or split testing to see what your audience responds best to.

Personalized subject lines could be as simple as adding a variable that automatically populates the recipient’s first name. We’ve all seen something like “Hey, [your first name], did you see this discount?” as a way to get us to open an email about a current sale. That’s because they work.

Something about seeing our name makes us feel heard, valued, and appreciated, and that will work for your audience too.

You can also try to use more questions in your subject lines. Instead of saying, “Upgrade now to save 10%,” you could instead try “What could you do with $50 more each month?” When  you ask a question, people want to know the answer — even if it means opening an email they didn’t plan on reading.

And of course, the only way to know which experiments work is by split testing your subject lines. (You can split test any sort of content, really, but it’s best to only test one element at a time.) This sort of data can help you better understand and better communicate with people, and that often leads to better marketing and better conversion rates.

4. Re-engage Previous Customers

One part of email databases people often overlook is previous customers. It can be more difficult to entice an old customer to come back when you can invest time and money into lead generation and top-of-funnel marketing. 

Re-engage older customers through email nurture campaigns

But you already have so much data on customers. And that’s true whether you’re a service or subscription-based business with churned customers, or even a traditional point-of-sale business. At the very least, you’ve got a long list of people who made a single purchase and moved on.

In most cases, previous customers already understand the products or services you offer. More importantly, they trusted you with their business at one time or another. That gives you a big advantage for reengaging them.

This approach builds onto everything we’ve covered so far. Segmenting churned or previous customers gives you tools to work with, like surveying what went wrong, finding out what they liked, and hitting them with an unbeatable discount code to get them connected again.

Or maybe you connect them with a new resource, like a whitebook or video tutorial. Provide value to regain their attention or interest, and build upon that foundation. (And yes, incorporating personalized content will go a long way in showing you value them as customers, not just another entry in an email database.)

Think about it this way: 91% of customers who disconnect from a brand fade away like a ghost — silent, with no complaints online or conversations with customer support. That means the only way to know why they left — and if you could reconnect with them and win back their loyalty — is by engaging with them.

Chances are you’ve got dozens, hundreds, or even thousands of previous or lapsed accounts just sitting in your email database. While they might be a harder nut to crack than going after new leads, these people are a valuable way to get new conversions out of an existing email database.

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Drew Gula is the copywriter at Soundstripe, a company that helps marketers grow their business by sharing advice on how to add music to a video and by providing resources like royalty free medieval music (among other genres).