Building an email list is hard work. The last thing you want to do is compromise your list by using it improperly. But with the right nurturing strategy, you can maximize engagement without coming across as too strong.

The "Why" of Email Nurturing

Most entrepreneurs and businesses have the wrong idea of what a "lead" is. They assume that when someone opts into their email list that the individual is already in love with the brand and ready to make a purchase. 

But in reality, people sign up for email lists for any number of reasons. And if you don't engage them properly, they'll eventually fall off without ever making a purchase. This is why you must nurture your email leads.

"Fifty percent of leads or people on our email list are not ready to buy when they initially come into contact with you," entrepreneur Jenna Kutcher explains. "They just want information, want to know why it's worth reading emails from you and who the heck you are."

People aren't going to buy from your business if they don't know and trust you. It's up to you to cultivate the relationship - and this happens through careful and consistent nurturing.

Kutcher does this through a very specific nurture sequence (or funnel), which she sends out to new subscribers and/or existing subscribers who show some level of interest. This is typically a three to five email sequence that gradually indoctrinates people into your brand and makes them aware of who you are, who you serve, and why they should trust you to solve their problems.

4 Email Nurturing Tips

While a documented email nurturing sequence is the best way to keep your list engaged, we understand that not everyone has the time or skill to create a full-on funnel right now. Thankfully, there are other ways to casually nurture. 

Here are a few:

1. Send a Weekly Newsletter

There's a reason almost every major brand and successful business sends out email newsletters. It's because they work when done well.

Email newsletters are effective because they casually nurture over time. When you receive a weekly email from a brand, it's hard to forget about them. You can use this to your advantage.

The key to a good email newsletter is to make it about the customer. Treat it less like a brand promo and more like an engaging resource that the recipient gets value from. In other words, focus more on adding value through customer-centric content than on pushing products and services. If you want inspiration for what this looks like, study the Robinhood Snacks email

2. Use Surveys to Gather Feedback

Your email list is a great resource for gathering feedback and getting a feel for how your customers feel about your business at any given point in time. Send out email surveys to see how you're doing. (And make sure you're ready to respond to the feedback and make changes based on the insights you discover.)

3. Segment Your List

As you know from personal experience, people don't open every email they get. Many go straight to the trash folder. As a sender, you have to be conscious of this. 

If too many of your emails are being deleted, it sends a signal to email servers (like Gmail or Yahoo) that you may be a spammer. This could eventually push you into the spam folder.

One way to avoid this problem is to segment your list based on certain audience characteristics. This improves your relevance and allows you to target very specific groups with certain emails. 

4. Be Selective With Offers

Just because you have someone's email address doesn't mean you have permission to bombard them with offers. In fact, you should be very selective when you send an offer-based email. 

Every business and list is different, but we'd recommend something like a 3:1 ratio of non-offer to offer emails. In other words, only send one offer-based email for every three non-offer emails you send out. This creates some balance and proves that you aren't always trying to close a sale.

Get More Out of Your Email List

Building an email list requires time, effort, and energy. It also commands a sizable financial investment. Used strategically, an email list can bring you unlimited revenue potential. But when ignored or neglected, it can gradually deteriorate and disappear. 

Use the nurturing tips outlined above to get more out of your email list moving forward.