3 Key Insights for Better Engagement on Your Email List

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After a year of blogging, I stopped building an email list. I know crazy…right. The main reason was I just lost focus.

I wasn’t quite sure what to do with all of these emails I was collecting.

I wasn’t reaching out to them like I should. I was afraid of people unsubscribing if I sent out an email that didn’t go over well.

I was paying $30 a month at the time to Aweber and wondering if it was worth it since I wasn’t doing much. For all those reasons…I quit.

About 6 months later, I woke up from my ‘stupid coma’ and began to put some energy and effort back into list building. So many gurus were saying, “the money is in the list.” They were also saying that  you should be making $1 per subscriber each month.

That just wasn’t happening for me.

Over time, what I have come to realize is the money is in providing real value for your list not in just collecting a bunch of emails. They are not going to give money to people they do not know, like, trust or ever hear from. It is relationship building 101. While I am still learning, I see an incredible amount of importance today in building an email list. It is not optional.

3 Email List Insights from the MailChimp Research Team

We love using MailChimp. It is what Bob and I use to collect email addresses on all of our blogs. The other day I came across a super helpful page where the research team at MailChimp released some data related to email lists. I want to walk you through a few of these and why we are going to test these insights out on our own blogs.

You always want to test things out for your particular niche. You may not have a typical customer base. However, if you do not know where to start, then start with the following suggestions.

When is the best time of day to email your list?

According to all of the data that has been collected by the MailChimp research team, the time of the day that gets the most “open rates” is 3:00 in the afternoon. Majority of the open rates happen after 12pm and the highest activity is between 2-5 pm.

Take a look at the graph below to see what I mean. In general, try sending out emails in the afternoon and see if it improves your open rates.


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What is the best day of the week to send out your emails/newsletter?

Do you have a newsletter? If not, the easiest way to do this is by using the MailChimp RSS Email List Option. Mailchimp will automatically generate a weekly newsletter for you with any new blog posts that have been published by you. Links, pictures, and excerpts all get included in your email.

If you are on our weekly newsletter list, then you already know how this works. If not, you can sign up here and get some free blog goodies.

The best time of the week to email your list appears to be on Thursdays. Thursdays have an average 19% open rate on emails sent out that day. The second best day is Wednesday with Tuesday not far behind. The lowest day of the week for open rates is Sunday, followed by Saturday.

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When is the highest engagement on your list?

There is no question that the highest engagement on your list is right after they have subscribed. With an almost 25% open rate during the first 30 days of signing up, you need to deliver your best stuff right up front. Many do this by setting up autoresponders. An autoresponder is an email you set up to be automatically delivered after a certain number of days upon signing up.

After 4 months, that engagement factor has dropped below 6%. That doesn’t mean that all of your email addresses older than 4 months are worthless. It just means that you have to win people over in the first 30 days of being on your list in order to keep them engaged long term.


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I am personally going to start implementing some of the insights I have received from this page. I’ll follow up in the days ahead and let you know how it has worked for me.


Question: When to comes to building & maintaining an email list, what tips or strategies have worked well for you? Please comment below. 

16 thoughts on “3 Key Insights for Better Engagement on Your Email List”

    1. Jonathan Milligan

      Susan, check and see what your average open rate currently is and write it down. Then try the suggestions above and see if the open rate increases. It is all about experimenting.

  1. I really liked your post and am definitely will try to implement all of the strategies you described. I have 2 questions: how can I check what my average open rate is currently and also when you talk about 3 pm the best time of the day for the email list which time do you mean: pacific, mountain or something else, because there can be 3-4 hours of difference in time between states. Thanks in advance!

    1. Jonathan Milligan

      Great questions, Elena. It depends on what email subscriber service provider you are using. In Mailchimp, the open rates are easy to get.

      Secondly, pretty sure this is referring to Eastern standard time, but the stats say that after 12pm open rates are generally much better. That causes me to think that 3:00pm Eastern might be the earliest in order to get Pacific in the afternoon…if that makes sense. Give it a try!

    1. Jonathan Milligan

      I wouldn’t get stuck on the percentage. Remember, it is an average. The number of people on your list and the age of your list can make it hard to give a concrete percentage to shoot for. The point is to experiment and test. You don’t want to test so much that you leave people with their head spinning, but it is good to always be trying to improve your numbers overtime. 30% sounds good though. Lastly, subject lines also play a critical factor so getting better with copywriting is important too.

    1. Jonathan Milligan

      You are right. Think about how you can add value to your audience. Can you solve a problem? Offer advice? Give out resources?

  2. thanks for this! I tried using Rss in mailchimp but it doesn’t pull the images from my posts. Not sure what I may be doing wrong. For now I am copying and pasting my blog post manually to send via mailchimp weekly but would really want to go the automated route…Would appreciate tips please? Thank you!

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