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Social media engagement and influencer endorsements may be getting the most attention from marketing professionals now, but the classic email list is still one of the most cost-effective marketing channels. On average, every dollar spent on email marketing brings in a $38 return on investment (ROI). A savvy brand owner will try to grow their list, but this must be done in the most productive way. You may be tempted to simply buy a list of email addresses, but this nearly always results in poorly-matched contacts who never agreed to receive communications from your company. When cultivated correctly, a good email marketing list gives you direct access to customers who chose to be in contact with you and who are more likely to respond well to your marketing outreach.

These three steps will help you create an engaged and profitable email list for your private label skin care brand.

Tip #1: Provide Top-Quality Content

While encouraging sales is your goal, you can turn off your subscribers if your communications seem pushy. Get to know your customers well enough to see what kind of communication engages them the most. You can find this out by tracking how many emails are opened and how often they lead the recipient to visit your site, or you can ask your subscribers directly through interactive forms or surveys. Your email content can be as simple as an alert about new product arrivals or discounts, or it can be as comprehensive as a regular newsletter about skin care trends, new ingredients and lifestyle topics.

When you find the right balance of content, depth, and frequency for your customers, they will be more likely to share that content with their friends, further increasing your ROI.

Some brands even find it useful to create targeted sub-lists within their subscriber base and tailor their email marketing differently to them. For example, older members may receive an article about new anti-aging serum research, while subscribers in their teens and early twenties may receive a discount code for acne treatments.

Tip #2: Attract Subscribers with Gated Offers

Many brands will offer some sort of reward, such as exclusive content or discounted products to visitors in exchange for their email addresses. These gated offers can be promoted through your website, Facebook, Pinterest, Instagram, or anywhere else your brand has an online presence.

You may find it useful to carry out A/B testing on all aspects of your campaign to see which variations attract the most new subscribers. For example, your target audience may respond better to free sample products than to a deep-discount coupon code, or vice versa.

Once a visitor does decide to sign up, make your intake form as simple as possible, asking them no more than one to three questions. Any more than this and many would-be subscribers back out. While it is useful to gather demographic information about your subscribers, you can collect it a bit at a time after they have already signed up.

Tip #3: Reduce the List to Keep It Healthy

No matter how good your list is today, it will naturally degrade by over 22% each year if you don’t maintain it. It may be that a subscriber was never going to be a long-term customer, or it could be the result of a customer changing their email address. No matter what the reason, it is important to prune away the dead email addresses and disengaged recipients from your list.

If this seems counter-intuitive, remember that the number of subscribers you have or the rate at which they join is not as important as the degree of engagement they have with your brand. A smaller number of interested and engaged subscribers is better than a large list of recipients who ignore your communications. If you are making decisions based on the information you have gathered from subscribers, you will want to be certain that your list is as free from dead-end contacts as possible.

One effective way to condense your list down to the most engaged members is to run an opt-in campaign. Send out a survey asking the members of your list to indicate whether or not they would like to continue to receive emails from you, and then remove the non-respondents and the ones who declined from your list. Another version of this is to target only the people on the list who have been inactive for a long time with the same opt-in choice.

With meaningful content, appealing offers and regular maintenance, your email list can become your brand’s most effective marketing tool.