As technologies evolve, so do the way we use them. Email marketing was a relatively new concept in the late 90’s, and as email as a medium has evolved, so has the practice of email marketing.
As brands began to invest more heavily in email, it was the size of their lists that they cared most about. Marketers were interested in reaching the masses. The more people they reached, the better.
That philosophy was adopted from the early days of marketing – TV and radio commercials, national magazines and other publications. The larger the audience, the more attractive the ad buy.
We raced to sign people up in any way we could. We offered incentives. We bought lists from third-parties. The biggest list would always win.
But the major difference between email and those advertising channels was that this time, brands owned the medium. The email list was theirs. They controlled the when, the where, the how, and the why of their emails.
And as the technology has evolved, we have learned that the size of our lists is less important than the strategies we deploy.
For example, we segment our lists to make them smaller, catering our messages individually to smaller and smaller subsets of our list. We realize that a customized message that speaks directly to the audience has more impact that one broad message to a larger audience.
We learned that having a bigger list did not necessarily lead to better ROI.
Email is personal. Each person on your list uses email in a unique way. And treating them as individuals will always work better than lumping them all together.