Back to Glossary



A recipient is a contact that has opted-in to receive emails as part of a mailing list. The emails a recipient receives can be from a business, individual, religious organization, charity, or other entity. Recipients should only receive emails from parties which they had given consent to.

Are recipients and subscribers different?

Yes. A recipient is a person who receives an email while a subscriber is a person who chose to sign up to receive email communications from a specific company, organization, club, thought leader, etc. Recipients can be subscribers.

Because subscribers actively choose to receive emails from a company or organization, they’ll naturally be more interested in the content, usually taking more action on an email and having a higher click-through rate across campaigns. This is not to say recipients aren’t an engaged group. It’s about finding the right balance of sending cadence and powerful, relevant messaging that can help you turn recipients into interested subscribers.

On top of this, recipients are usually more likely to unsubscribe from your email list if they’re not receiving content that’s relevant to them. To make sure you’re sending each recipient content that pertains to them, consider using segmentation to organize your email list based on different factors like each recipient’s interests, past actions with your email content, and answers to any poll questions you may send out. Getting to know your recipients is the best way to keep them engaged and continue to prove yourself as a useful and trustworthy source.

Recipient types

When talking about recipients, there are three types:

  • Prospects: Prospects are people who may eventually be interested in buying a product or service from you but haven’t done so. Yet. To turn them into a customer, you should send them emails that provide value, detail how your product or service is different from others, and promotional content to give them a reason to buy. 
  • Customers: A customer is someone who has already purchased something from you and have already been engaged with email content. Typically, you send them emails to thank them for their purchase, discounts on products they’ve already purchased or similar products, and incentives so that they’re enticed to buy from you again. You should also send them updates on new products and services in case they’re relevant to them. 
  • Former customers: Former customers are just what they sound like, someone who was previously a customer but hasn’t done so for a long stretch of time. To re-engage these recipients, you should send them emails that remind them of your company and the products or services you provide. This will hopefully spark interest and entice them to return as a customer.

Benefits of building up your recipient list

You’ll see a few different benefits from targeting recipients with your email marketing campaigns.

First off, you’re more likely to see better results KPI-wise when sending your email content to people who are interested in what you have to say. Seeing these results hinges on the content of your email being informative, actionable, and most importantly, relevant to the recipients on your email list. They’re more likely to click a CTA or answer a survey if it answers a question or gives the chance to give you their feedback. 

These clicks translate into conversions and an increase in sales that you can tie directly to your email marketing efforts. To truly personalize your emails, segment your list and start targeting specific groups of recipients so they experience the best customer journey possible. 

Ready to get started?

Try it free. No credit card required. Instant set-up.