Any marketer will tell you that building a list of interested prospects is a benefit. Marketing to a list of currently interested prospects or a ‘warm’ list can save money on marketing efforts, have a higher conversion rate, and have a faster sales cycle. Cultivating a ‘warm’ list makes a lot of sense, but what do you do when you have that list?

Visitors to your website fill-in a form because you are offering them access to something they find of interest or value like a white paper, worksheet, quiz, etc.  Or maybe they opt-in to receiving your newsletter or blog. But building the list is only half the battle. Prospects can unsubscribe if what you’re sending them no longer holds value (and in Canada you need a very clear opt-in for emailing marketing content). So how do you keep your list of prospects interested and engaged? How do you move them from prospect to client? You start by keeping them on that list and engaging with them as often as possible. You start with the essentials:

  1. Subject lines: For any emails you send them, make sure they are drawing interest or curiosity. offers a free way to test them out if you’re looking for a bit of help.
  2. Timing: Do NOT email your prospects too often. Make sure you track every single email that gets sent out and that different employees or departments aren’t reaching out to the same prospects. It’s annoying to the prospect and an awful way to lose business.
  3. Good content: Easier said than done, but still essential. Taking the time to deliver excellent content that keeps your prospects interested will ensure that your emails are opened and read. Sending crap will cause unsubscribes and is a sure-fire way to shrink your list. This damage is difficult to undo.

When prospects begin to trust that there’s value in your emails, they will not open them but also look forward to receiving them! They will remember your name and what you offer. You will rise above the clutter and competition. And because email is a one to many marketing tactic, you will do this to several prospects at the same time!

But it’s more than just writing a good email. The following tips will help craft a marketing program that engages your ‘warm’ list and encourages continued engagement e.g. opens and clicks.

Plan your marketing flow

It’s important to have a solid plan for your marketing. You need a firm grasp on what information you are delivering and what order you deliver it in. Map it out for each persona. If you don’t have personas for your potential audience, create them first then map the content. If you use a CRM you can tag the emails and content to contribute to a lead score. Make sure your content is being delivered in the right order e.g. building in complexity.

Segment through self-selection

Having your prospects select their own interests is an excellent way to qualify interest in specific products. Once they select you should only send them content on the category they selected. The occasional cross-marketing is fine if you think there is real interest (often based on persona purchase history or interest). This can be done effectively through email or on your website’s preference centre.

Specific CTAs

Every email you send should have a specific Call-To-Action or CTA. You should be encouraging an action from them and it can be anything from watch this video to call to book an appointment.  You can track your CTAs if you are using redemption codes or discount codes, otherwise you will have to track your content CTAs closely on traffic, sharing, opens, clicks, etc. Make sure you’re not asking too much too soon. Make your CTAs build. For example, you can start with a click to watch then offer a click to download then finally, a click to book an appointment. Test out what works for your list and content. For some, reaching out with a phone call will work. For others this may be too forward so a form submission or click to live chat would work. Explore your options.

Taking the time and effort to build a warm list can be just as hard as maintaining it. After all, there is a lot of content out there now. You have to give a reason for them to read yours. You have to build the trust that you’re not spamming or bragging or wasting their time. And your efforts should be contributing to the growth and success of your business. That can be a lot to juggle when you start out – but it gets easier as you go!

Carolyn Bergshoeff is the founder of WindWater Marketing, a small business marketing firm based in Toronto, Canada. Carolyn helps her clients build prospect lists through content development and email marketing. For more information please visit or email