How to Create an Engaged Email List and Boost Open Rates With Bond Halbert

You have to create an engaged email list to boost your online business’s success.

If you’re part of an online business that’s looking to be successful, reach all the right customers, and stand a notch above your competition, you’ve undoubtedly heard about the importance of email marketing

High end gurus selling courses? Email.

Ecommerce magnates with physical products? Email.

Top affiliate marketers? Email.

If you haven’t, take note of its importance; it’s estimated that almost 3.7 billion users will be sending email by the end of 2017.

While an engaged email list is an important tool for any online business to have at their disposal, creating one can present challenges.

Here are a few common challenges that digital marketers, entrepreneurs, and online businesses face when it comes to creating engaging email lists:

  • Poor engagement rates – people not opening the emails, or responding to anything being sent.
  • Inability to increase customer acquisition through their email lists
  • Not able to develop adequate personalization that makes their automated emails appealing.
  • Emails are poorly crafted and just plain suck, so subscribers get no value and eventually unsubscribe or worst yet report it as spam (which can get you, as the sender blacklisted by your email service provider!)

Let’s have a deeper look at why many online businesses struggle with engaging email marketing and what these businesses can do to salvage their sales.

Identifying the Issue

We’ll use Aaron’s story to illustrate this point. Perhaps you can relate to his situation…

Aaron is the head of an online startup that’s starting to build traction in the world of sales. He invests a lot of time trying to build sales and focuses, in particular, on his website’s SEO.

He doesn’t, because of this, put much thought into his email marketing campaigns, because of this. The emails sent are often poorly worded, boring, and have the appearance of a “spam” email you occasionally see surfacing in your inbox.

Aaron doesn’t take much stock of this, however; he invests most of his time and manpower into creating engaging content for his business’s website.

While focusing on your website’s on-site SEO is a critical component of business success, what Aaron and the other heads of online startups don’t realize is that when it comes to sales conversion rates, email marketing is almost seven times more effective than social media marketing, and almost twice as effective as optimizing your site for search engines.

Statistics such as that make it obvious to anyone that email marketing is imperative for online businesses to jump on.

How can people such as Aaron effectively market through emails, and get their “open rates” to a desirable level?

Let’s shift our attention away from Aaron, and focus on several issues you might run into when you begin to dive into the world of email marketing.

Common Issues That Cause Poor Open Rates

Before we dive into these issues, let’s clear up the term “open rate”. Often misconceived as the amount of times your marketing lists’ emails are opened, the true definition of “open rate” goes much deeper than that.

Not only does the person need to open your email, but they need to do one of the following:

  • They need to view your email’s images in a preview pane or in the email itself.
  • They need to click a link that’s present in your email.

That might sound simple enough, but there are many issues that online businesses can run into, issues that cause roadblocks in business growth and sales.

  • Your Emails Look Like Spam – This is a huge “no-no” when it comes to an email list. Make sure that your email’s subject line doesn’t have many exclamation points, isn’t composed of exclusively capitalized letters, and isn’t too vague/filled with common words.

  • Lack of Personalization – Nobody wants an email that looks as if it’s not meant for them. Consider starting your email with a conversational and friendly phrase, such as “Hi there!”. Programs like MailChimp allow (and actually recommend) using the first name in the “To” field for even more personalization. This is also proven to improve the chances of your email being opened in the first place.
  • No Mobile Optimization – Here’s a statistic for you: 36% of emails are opened on smartphones. If you don’t optimize your emails to look pleasing on a handheld device, that’s a potential loss of 36% of your prospective customers.

Now that you’ve had a glance at some common struggles that online businesses have with email campaigns, let’s take a look at how you, as a leader in your business, can produce some truly stupendous email campaigns.

We’ll take a page out of Bond Halbert’s book, and look at three things he suggests doing if you’re a business struggling with inadequate open rates or poorly-worded, spam-like emails.

Bond Halbert’s Expert Tips

Bond Halbert is a marketing whiz, best selling author, and master copywriter. He’s been helping entrepreneurs and business owners alike master the art of email campaigns.

Take a look at what Bond thinks is the right approach to take when you’re trying to give your email campaigns a quick burst of energy or a refreshing look.

Tip# 1 – Make sure that a prospective customer gives you their primary email address, and not a spam email address. As Bond Halpert says:


“It would be better for your mail to make it into the spam box of your primary email address then to make it to the primary inbox of a spam email address”.


There are plenty of tricks to manipulate consumer response for a viable, non-spam email address. For instance, you might want to include a process that requires a prospective customer to provide a confirmation code, which will force them to go back to their main inbox and open their email.

Tip# 2 – Use a subject line that’s engaging and makes its way into a relevant and valid piece of information.

While it might seem convenient to try and trick potential customers into opening your email by writing an attention-grabbing line, if the line doesn’t have relevance to your actual product or service, the customer may feel upset or deceived.


Tip# 3 – Adjust your email list frequency based on the length of your email. As Bond says:


“If you send them a long 8-page letter every day, you’re really hammering that list too much”.


Don’t overload recipients on the list and watch your open rates increase! As an added Bond Halbert also suggests “mixing up what you’re delivering”, in combination with the varying email frequency.

Want more tips from Bond Halbert? His webinar is free to listen to and download!

Examples of Successful Email List Emails

The Hustle

As a bustling news site for prominent tech and entrepreneurial communities/companies, The Hustle does their email listing well, to say the least.

They boast a huge list size at 81,000 email recipients. The open rates range from 25% – 58%; now wonder they’re a big name website!

And I don’t know what you think, but we’d say that subject line in the above image is catchy, to say the least.


While its subject line isn’t eye catching, AppSumo’s email content is truly standout. This 3 x a week email list has a size of 750,000 recipients with an open rate of 13%.


OkDork is an informative website that provides valuable information for startups and entrepreneurs. With a huge list of 140,000 recipients, OkDork has impressive open rates of 28-32%.


To create engaged email lists for your customers, you’ll have to do a few simple things. When we say simple, we aren’t kidding, either.

Truth be told, online businesses simply put too much stock in creating copy that shows up high in search engines when in reality, having an email list with a super-high open rate can sell your product/service much better.

So pay attention to the details of your email list, and try and boost your open rates with engaging subject lines and carefully manipulated mailing frequencies.

By doing so, you’re ensuring success for your online business. Don’t wait!