How to Build a Robust Email Database

by Emily Thousand Second Street

Email is the foundation of the way your media company interacts with your audience. Your email database is your strength. And, like any great athlete, strength is absolutely critical to your ability to achieve success.

Unlike to social media, your email database is something you own. While spending on Facebook advertising is increasing (and is a great way to reach your audience), you are only renting the Facebook audience. And with the frequency that Facebook changes their algorithm, it’s difficult to make sure that your followers are even seeing your posts.


In Gordon Borrell’s session at the Summit, he revealed that more than half of all businesses are planning to grow their email marketing – more than any other digital advertising medium.


But, there’s more to it than just sending out emails to your list. You’ve got to be strategic. It’s about sending the right message, to the right person, at the right time.

Develop your list-building strategy and set goals for email:

  • Database size should be 80% of your total reach
  • 80% of database should be considered active
  • Open rates should be 15% and above
  • Click-through rates should reach 5%

You need to redirect your focus into building your email strategy. And that starts with leveraging a variety of email types to achieve results and grow your audience.

Here’re ten emails you should be sending already:


Tim D’Avis, the Director of Digital Products for Lee Enterprises, is someone who understands the full importance of implementing an email strategy and cultivating a relationship with your audience.


When Lee Enterprises made a commitment to growing their email database, they began by running a ton of sweepstakes. To help generate a rich list of interested users, they added specific opt-ins. In just a short time, they had an actionable list of over 10,000 people interested in deals and ecommerce offers.


Tim says they’ve found that almost all deals revenue comes directly as a result of email. So, the more people you have in your promotions database, the more people you can email, and the more revenue you can make.


This means you’re not just growing a large database, you’re growing an active database full of engaged users. If they don’t open, don’t click, why do you care? And more importantly, why do your advertisers care?

Sending targeted emails increases your results. Tim’s seen the struggle of sending batch-and-blast style to your entire database. It only takes one irrelevant email for you to lose a subscriber forever.

Relevance helps you to cultivate a relationship with your audience. Someone is much more likely to open an email when they know they can trust that the content will be relevant to their interests. Not only that, but sending to targeted lists will directly lead to increased open rates.



Don’t keep doing the same things and expecting new results – it’s time to change it up and make email your top priority.