Taking advantage of a list of emails with less than 100 subscribers

Teresa Alba

One of the first challenges to be faced when it comes to working with email marketing is to apply good techniques to capture leads and create a community of loyal subscribers.

That is why many people prefer to buy a database with millions of emails or download an email list for free; but is this a good strategy? Should you purchase a database and start sending your promotions to millions of email addresses? The answer is easy:


When we talk about “leads,” we mean that you should attract the right subscribers and not just try to start collecting as many emails as you can.

In email marketing, the old theory of “the more you get, the better it will be” can’t be applied.

You know how expensive it is to manage large databases and send campaigns with a generic message that will be relevant to all users?

I’ll tell you, but first I want to make it clear that this type of strategy will not be profitable.

With this scenario, I’m already starting to give you reasons not to underestimate the potential of a small database, even if you have less than 100 subscribers. However, I would like to consider other aspects:

  1. The legal implications of buying databases as well as other problems for your brand.
  2. The potential of small databases and the best customization techniques.
  3. Tips and tricks to get the most out of your database (even if you have a very small email list).

· Purchased email lists vs. opt-in lists

If you have fewer subscribers in your database, you may feel tempted to skip a few steps, because you certainly want to advertise your business to more people. However, the first thing I want you to understand is that buying large databases, far from being a good idea, can be very damaging to your business.


It is illegal to send business messages to users who have not given us their explicit consent.

A few months ago, I already talked at length about this blog about buying email lists, emphasizing not only the legal issues, but also other drawbacks such as:

  1. This will seriously affect your brand image, as most of these users will not be interested in your products or service, as they never subscribed to your newsletter.
  2. It will be almost impossible to have high open rates, as these people don’t know your sender and therefore will not trust your message.
  3. Many users will ask to be removed from your database, or they will simply flag your message as spam.
  4. This will ultimately seriously affect your reputation, lowering your delivery rates and undermining your digital marketing strategy.

And after this brief reminder of why we should NOT try to find shortcuts, let’s talk about the central theme of this article and see why having a small database doesn’t mean that you will not be able  to work with email marketing.

Working with small databases is not a waste of time.

· Working with small databases is not a waste of time.

Surely you’ve heard about the importance of segmentation and the complexity of creating custom mailing lists for different customers. Subscriber segmentation is one of the main tasks of any marketer who wants to work with email marketing, since different customers will have different needs and therefore will want to receive different emails with personalized information.

Well, just to start, if you work with a small database it will be much easier to analyze and understand your customers and what they would like to receive from you.

It will be much easier to organize a mailing list with just a few contacts than managing a database with thousands of emails (with multiple customer profiles). We can explain that in just one word: Customization.

► Advantages of customizing your email marketing campaigns

If we apply customization techniques, we can increase the effectiveness of our newsletters with direct and personal messages for each contact, only with the information that each subscriber would like to receive.

Imagine what your results would look like if you could send a personal message to each one of your subscribers. If you have a small mailing list, you can do this easily because you will know each person intimately and you can send personalized e-mails that go straight to the point.

In other words, by customizing your campaigns, you can get amazing results.

So if you have a small database, but with information about all your subscribers, you can:

  1. Obtain surprising statistics, such as% of openings above 100% or 0% bounce rates.
  2. Get high-quality feedback with opinions, comments, suggestions, and requests from subscribers who will feel special and will trust you.
  3. Increase the possibilities of direct sales and through retargeting or campaigns that allude to super-specific needs.

► Other indirect benefits

While it is true that we can get amazing results in terms of clicks and open rates with customization (as we have seen in the previous paragraphs), this strategy offers other advantages that you should not ignore.

Did you know that email marketing is one of the most reliable sources for attracting organic traffic (after search engines)?

This kind of campaigns could have very high CTR, as most of your subscribers will be interested in visiting your site if you did your work correctly.

I actually got more clicks with a super-targeted campaign (for 100 recipients or less), than through a general newsletter that I sent to a database with thousands of emails.

These clicks generate highly targeted traffic, which indirectly leads to many advantages:

  1. Increase in page relevance.
  2. Drop in bounce rates.
  3. Improvement in average time per visit.

How to take advantage of a small list of emails

· How to take advantage of a small list of emails

Now that you know my main reasons for not ignoring a small email list, I would like to give you some practical tips for creating a successful email campaign, even if you only have a few subscribers.

Remember that the fact that you have only a few email addresses in your database doesn’t necessarily mean that these people are interested in receiving your newsletters.

That is why my recommendations for capturing leads (subscribers), always are the same:

  1. Apply legal techniques for getting new subscriber (don’t buy email lists, you should create a content marketing strategy to attract subscribers.)
  2. Send relevant content to your subscribers (if your targeting strategy was created correctly, you already know what they want to receive).
  3. Create a strategy for capturing new leads scalably and without exceeding your budget (you should do things without haste but never stop working).

That said, let’s talk a bit about what is the ideal treatment that you should give your subscribers and what tricks to apply to make the most of all the targeting techniques for small databases.

► Treatment according to the type of subscriber

First of all, something that always works for me and that is a fundamental part of all sales techniques I apply is to have a well-defined sales funnel, to determine in which phase each lead is, which will facilitate my work when planning the messages that I will send during this process.

In general terms, your subscribers could be separated into several profiles.


This person has subscribed to your newsletter recently or you don’t have enough information about what he is looking for, which means that you will have to continue analyzing his behavior to better understand what kind of messages you should send him.

Enthusiast or prescriber:

This user has been receiving your content for some time but is not interested in buying from you. He likes to keep up with your work and is always following your footsteps to compete in the same market and therefore will usually ask questions or even contact you regarding a partnership.

Although you might think otherwise, this subscriber profile could be useful for your digital marketing strategy because you could ask for his feedback or even think of some kind of partnership.

Potential customer:

He is not yet a customer but shows interest in your newsletters and commercial messages, visiting your site and even abandoning a cart with a product occasionally.

This is the ideal profile for applying retargeting techniques and, in general, for sending all kinds of promotional campaigns (without overdoing it).

Loyal customer:

He has been your client for some time and maintains a close relationship with your business, so you should always keep him happy and offer him privileges such as discounts, personalized content or exclusive products.

Trucos para conseguir los máximos resultados

► Tricks to improve your results

We have already explained that it is easier to manage a small mailing list, but let’s talk a little about the strategies you can use to improve your results.

However, if you want to stop sending generic messages to all your subscribers and start creating custom emails for each user profile, you will need to collect basic information about each contact. These are the primary data you would need to get from your subscribers:

  1. Personal and professional information.
  2. Main interests or concerns.
  3. Previous relationship with your brand.
  4. Preferences regarding media and communication frequency.

Depending on the level of knowledge you have about your mailing list, you can adjust the content of your newsletters to deliver content that your subscribers want to receive.

But regardless, I would like to share some tips that always works for me:

Greet each person by name:

If you use email marketing tools like Mailrelay, you can use custom tags that allow you to greet each user individually, including his/her name in the subject or email body.

Include the name of each contact in the subject line of the email:

As we mentioned earlier, if you use email marketing software like Mailrelay, you can easily do that. These messages usually have higher open rates because your subscribers will feel special.

Be polite and thank them during each step:

The fact that your business is important to you doesn’t mean it will be important to the rest of the world.

Respect the time of your potential customers and thank them after each action, responding when they leave a comment or when they open your newsletters every week.

Apply persuasive writing techniques:

Using striking sentences is key to arousing the interest of your readers.

Always offer your best:

It doesn’t matter at what point in the sales funnel your users are. Even though you believe that they are loyal, you should never overdo it. If your subscribers believe that you just want to sell, your results will be terrible.

Showing despair fosters mistrust but creating a “win-win” relationship promotes a desire for more.

Use the “story” format:

We already talked about the revolution of this format in social media like Instagram or Snapchat.

What if you apply it to your emails too? It’s a great way to generate empathy, whether telling your story through a video or written text.

Using your sales funnel when planning your content.

That is, you can send personalized campaigns for each subscriber, offering personalized content tailored to his/her needs.

Conclusions about targeting in email marketing

· Conclusions about targeting in email marketing

The fastest route has never been the solution for creating a successful business, and especially when it comes to managing sensitive information and private data.

In this article, we started by talking about the dangers of buying emails, and explained the advantages of working with an opt-in database (even if you only have a few subscribers).

Growing in a scalable way means doing things right from the beginning and treating your subscribers with love and sending personalized content, always thinking about their interests and not just trying to sell.

I personally work with small, super-segmented databases, because this led me to get amazing results, so I recommend this strategy.

And now I’m asking you: What is your experience managing small mailing lists? Would you add some trick to creating more effective email campaigns?

Teresa Alba

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