5,000 email subscribers is something of a threshold. Of course you only need 1 email address to send a campaign, but as your subscribers grow you’ll see both an economy of scale and an increase in benefit from some of more advanced email features at your disposal. Here’s why.
For established businesses of between £1 and £50m turnover, 5,000 fully opted-in subscribers is above average – various studies put the average at around 3,500 to 4,000. But that’s not to say that 5,000 is a particularly large subscriber database. It’s not. Of course many businesses operate with far larger numbers, but with 5,000 subscribers you’ve reached something of a critical mass and, when it comes to email marketing, things start to get really interesting.
Why? Well for several reasons.
Firstly, churn. People move, become inactive and unsubscribe, so you should expect your data to decay over time – around 3-4% per month would be typical. But with 5,000 or more subscribers, and assuming a fairly regular level of contact and an established acquisition strategy, natural losses from your database will be manageable and won’t significantly impact your activity. That means that you can really start to develop the relationship you have with your subscribers through a concerted and regular schedule of communication.
Secondly, engagement. It can be, and often is, more, but we know that on average only around 25% of subscribers will open and 4% actively engage with your campaigns. With 5,000+ subscribers that’s typically 1,000 readers and 200 active clickers. Again, assuming you’re sending fairly regularly that’s a healthy level of interest in your products and services. With typical ROI from email marketing anywhere between 40 and 70% that’s more than just a subsistence business, that’s a recipe for sustainable growth.
Segmentation and targeting
Thirdly, advanced functionality. Again you can do it with less, but reaching 5,000 subscribers is when several key features really come into play. Good examples are audience segmentation (using profile intelligence to define targeted recipient groups) and split-testing (automatically comparing the impact of campaign variations for example like subject line). In our experience both will significantly improve your overall performance, but both equally require a core working data base size in order to realise their potential benefit. More is better, but 5,000 will do nicely.
And finally, Marketing Automation. Again, automating campaigns like birthday offers, confirmations and renewals could (and in our view, should) be done with any number of subscribers, but as your audience grows the benefit of automation progressively expands from simply a benefit of consistency to one of significantly increased efficiency. It’s true for any size of database but manually managing campaigns like welcomes and birthdays to more than 5,000 subscribers will inevitably lead to error and missed opportunity. Automation is the classic case of create once, use many times. So if you are in the 5,000 club, it’s definitely time to get automated.
Reaching 5,000 subscribers is easier than you might think. Numbers vary according to sector but it’s estimated that email lists grow at around 5% per month, even accounting for attrition that’s around 40% per year. With a well thought out strategy combining on and offline organic acquisition, 5,000 subscribers is well within the reach of most businesses. And when you arrive – congratulations, you are now at the start of your next marketing chapter!