We've got an email list of over 500,000 opt-ins that we've built over the past 3 years. We have never used the list. We're in the personal development/self-improvement space, and we're launching a new premium product in the fall. We want to warm up the list slowly and skillfully in preparation for the launch. All strategies, tactics, insights, case studies, and resources appreciated.
I've worked with several companies marketing products ranging from $10 ebooks to $1,000+ products, and they've all had success using a relatively simple formula:
1. MAKE PEOPLE'S LIVES BETTER.
Everyone gets too much email, so if you're going to put another message in someone's inbox, it had better be for a good reason.
Create content that will improve their current existence. What kind of person will buy your product? What challenges are they facing that your product will solve?
Can you give them starter steps right now that will get them on the path to improving their lives?
2. GIVE PEOPLE WHAT THEY WANT
People who engage with your emails should receive follow-ups relevant to their interests. Did they open your emails about Subject A, but ignore the emails about Subjects B and C? Then only send them Subject A emails — that will give them the (totally true) impression that you're tailoring the emails to their interests.
(This can be automated. It's not as complex as it might sound.)
3. DON'T PESTER
If someone doesn't open your first email, send a follow-up. If they don't open the follow-up, you can try a reactivation campaign. If they still don't open anything, stop worrying about them.
You can send the product announcement (it never hurts to try), but if they're ignoring your marketing emails, sending more will just piss them off and contribute to a lower open/clickthrough rate.
Focus on the customers who want to be engaged; don't let those who aren't interested distract you.
4. TREAT EVERYONE'S INBOX LIKE YOUR OWN
Before you send an email, think about whether you'd send it to people in your contact list that know you personally. Is it genuinely helpful and useful?
Using this strategy, we were able to create high engagement that carried through into the product launches. We were able to sell out on the biggest launch (a list of over 500k) and put up pretty respectable numbers for clients with smaller lists.
If you'd like to discuss the finer points of an email strategy like the ones I've helped put together, or if you'd like to discuss the specifics of a strategy for your specific product, I'm happy to help out on a quick call. Just let me know.