Lifecycle Of An Email Subscriber: What To Send When

Last year, HubSpot presented some research that showed the longer a subscriber was on a mailing list, the less engagement the subscriber had with those emails. However, it’s also true that it’s easier to turn an existing customer into a repeat customer than it is to find a new customer.

The folks on your email list are your best prospects, but if the HubSpot study is any indication, subscribers are getting bored or emails are becoming irrelevant to them as time passes.

So how do you create emails that everyone enjoys? The answer is you don’t… not really. What you do instead is set up a campaign that delivers a series of messages at certain intervals while sending other messages solely to a specific group or segment of your list. This way, you’re able to target your emails for newbies or seasoned subscribers.

If you’re stuck on what content to progressively provide, here are some suggestions…

For The New Subscriber

This is when the subscriber will be most engaged with your emails. They just signed up so you know they’re excited and interested in what you’re doing.

You should send:

  • A welcome email – thank them for signing up and introduce them to important people and places on your site, such as where to look at products/services and FAQs, and who they can contact for assistance.
  • Coupons – get them to make the switch from “just a subscriber” to “subscriber AND customer” by offering coupons and bundle deals exclusively for email subscribers.
  • History – have an interesting story about how your company got started? Share it with your subscribers.

How to do it: These messages all work as part of a follow up series. The welcome usually goes out immediately and then the rest can go out at the intervals you determine.

This is the time when you can expect open and click rates to be the highest, so if you have anything important you want to say, say it now!

After The First Month

At this point, subscribers are comfortable with your business and have probably already purchased something from you. Now’s the time to try for repeat business.

You should send:

  • Cross sells – if you have a product that complements something someone purchased, like an accessory, share it with those customers. You can offer a discount or just talk about why they would want that product.
  • Up sells – did they just purchase an item that could be upgraded to a more expensive item? Let them know what they can upgrade to and why it’s a good idea to do so.
  • Industry news – if there’s something hot going on, your subscribers will probably want to hear about how it affects them. Be a source they can count on for up-to-date information.

How to do it: Cross sells and up sells work better as one-off messages you can send to a segment. If you’re tracking who’s purchasing what, you can easily send a message only to subscribers who purchased product X. All of your subscribers may find industry news interesting, but if your new subscribers are still receiving your follow up campaign, you might want to leave them off the list.

After A Few Months

Subscribers may be nearing the end of their lifecycle on your mailing list or they might continue to enjoy your emails and keep buying. Either way, finding out more about them can help you as a marketer.

You should send:

  • Polls and surveys – learn what subscribers want to see more of and what they’ve had enough of. You can then change your strategy based on the results.
  • Requests for referrals and testimonials – encourage everyone to write a review or pass your information on to a friend for some word-of-mouth marketing.
  • Encourage social media discussions – get set up on the big platforms like Facebook and Twitter and nurture your audience there. Chances are people will stay social media fans even if they unsubscribe from your emails.

How to do it: You can send use a survey service such as SurveyMonkey or a simple GoogleDocs spreadsheet for polls and surveys. You can then tweak the introductory emails you send out (and everything else) based on the results of these surveys.

To spark referrals and social media discussion,  just add a line or two in the footer or postscript telling how to leave a review or follow the brand on Facebook, giving everyone the option to participate.

As long as you take the time to realize subscribers’ needs will change over the time and adjust your campaign accordingly, you’ll have subscribers that are excited about your business and think of you positively. Check your campaign and make sure you have emails prepared for subscribers in different phases.

Opinions expressed in the article are those of the guest author and not necessarily Marketing Land.

Related Topics: Channel: Email Marketing | Email Marketing Column


About The Author: is Education Marketing Associate at AWeber, the leading email marketing service provider for small businesses, where she works with business owners to grow their marketing efforts. An experienced optimization consultant, Crystal has consulted with over 500 businesses to improve their email marketing efforts for optimal results, and regularly provides marketing training to AWeber customer solutions staff.

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  • Ako Si Dhan

    Nice tips – well surely give them a shot


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