Identify your true email fans

In the world of email marketing, we often place a high premium on recent subscribers. There’s a general belief, somewhat reinforced by surface-level data, that the more recent a subscriber is, the more valuable they are. However, to operate solely on this assumption is to make a grave error in how you treat subscribers and how you identify your most valuable subscribers. Focusing just on the recent, short-term results blinds you to your true fans, your biggest fans, the people who are eating up everything you have to share, the people who are sticking with you for the long haul.

Here’s something to try. Take your email service provider’s segmentation manager (if you are a WhatCounts customer, please feel free to ask your Account Manager for help with this), and create a new segmentation.

An event-based segmentation can help you identify your fans.

Inside this segmentation, select a random sampling of your newsletters over the past year or two. If you only have a few, select them all. Specify that you want to see only subscribers who have opened and clicked on something in ALL of your newsletters selected. You might need to use a spreadsheet, Perl script, or database if you’ve got multiple files from multiple data sources at this point.

In just a few clicks, you’ve identified your truest fans, the folks who are not only engaged, but engaged over a long period of time and remain engaged as of your most recent contact with them.

Want to kick it up a notch? Add an additional segmentation condition for those folks who publicly share your content with their social networks. Now you’ve got a slice of your database that are not only fans, but evangelists – your unpaid marketing and sales staff, who love you for who you are and what you stand for.

What do you do with this segment of your audience? Treat them like the gold that they are. Offer them special offers. Give them exclusive information and access. Make sure they have priority technical support. Reward their loyalty to you. Whatever you can do that’s practical, do for them, because your true fans will pay it back to you many times over.

Christopher S. Penn
Director of Inbound Marketing, WhatCounts


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2 Responses to "Identify your true email fans"
  1. Brad says:

    I love this idea! These true fans are some of the most valuable customers a marketer has. We’ve done some testing at my company to see email campaigns to these True Fans generate 20X more revenue per subscriber than emails to “average” subscribers (in the ecommerce space).

    – Brad @

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