Want to improve your email effectiveness? Give people quality emails they actually want.

How to make your email marketing more effective by improving email list health. First of a four-part series.


If you’re sending out emails to a list – you’re doing email marketing! Congrats! It’s a great way to engage an audience. Especially for smaller organizations, it’s so easy and cost-effective to do.

You spend time managing what goes into the email. What about who is on the receiving end? How engaged is your audience?

Having an engaged audience who reads and responds to your email is all a part of a healthy email list!

We’ll be digging into the engagement and list management side over the new few weeks, looking at:

  1. How having a healthy email list helps you and your organization.
  2. A step-by-step process for determining your email list health.
  3. Pruning your list. How to re-engage inactive members, how to know who to delete, and how this will help your list in the long run.
  4. Templates to help you with to re-engage your list (and identify those to remove).

Let’s get to it!

A healthy email list is a successful email list

Why should you care about the health of your email list? A healthy list means that what you’re doing is working and adding value! No one has time for wasted efforts! And no one has time for emails they don’t want.

Let’s get into the shoes of someone on your list. That person likely checks their email as much as 10x per day!  People like email. But do they like yours? Did they sign-up for that email or were they added from another list without permission? Are you providing them with content that offers a solution to a problem they’re dealing with? Your church email can solve problems and answer questions. Someone wants to get back into Bible study. There’s a heart that wants to serve. A soul in need of hope on a busy, stressful day.

Signs of a healthy email list

A healthy list has these key indicators that you’ll want to make a habit of checking:

  1. Net subscriber growth. Translation: are you adding more subscribers than you’re losing?
  2. Stats as compared to your industry benchmarks. Email Service Providers (ESP) like MailChimp often provide you with this information. Open rates are an easy one to understand – what percentage of people who get your email open it? Looking at this MailChimp report, 20.81% of emails are opened on average. Of those within the Religion category, 25.33% of emails are opened.
  3. Most are opening your email with some frequency. Not every time, but at least 25% of the time.
  4. People are responding in some fashion. You see sign-ups, giving, clicks on links and buttons, or people showing up.

Create quality content your audience wants to read

People respond to quality. They become loyal email subscribers as a result. And you want to keep them! If you see that your stats aren’t great, time to get to work, my friend. We’ll get more into how to identify inactive subscribers and the pruning process over the next few weeks. Content for the next email you can start working on today.

Quality content solves a problem for the recipient and is about THEM, not about YOU. Are you telling them how this thing you’re excited about is going to benefit them? What will be the impact on their lives by attending an event or volunteering for the next mission project?

Quality content solves a problem of the recipient and is about THEM, not about YOU.

Email Service Providers (ESP) want to deliver quality

MailChimp, Constant Contact, and others send out literally billions of emails every day for their clients. When you send out that many emails, you are a large target. Each ESP needs to make sure they do everything they can to be legally compliant and, well, not annoy people.

For them, that means they look at what their clients send out. If a client isn’t meeting those same standards, it can actually affect delivery rates. If you work with a well-known ESP, they will prompt you to do what’s necessary to meet obvious legal requirements because most of their clients are commercial businesses. You can read up on CAN-SPAM and what it means for churches here.

If your open rates aren’t great, if your emails are being opened and then quickly deleted or exited, they’ll know. And you can see your email delivery affected as a result.

It all comes down to quality content to a quality list.

Next week: Step-by-step process of determining your email list health

[et_bloom_inline optin_id="optin_2"]