I am the queen of multitasking (although I fully aim to be a monotasker!). So while I am writing this post, I am also cutting my email list. Why should you be cutting your email list, you ask? Because the harsh reality is, that if people are not opening your carefully crafted, brilliant and informative emails, they are dead to you.
Yes, it’s a harsh reality. But there is no point in fooling yourself about the size of your list.
Marketers and PR companies are all about size and often I have been asked about my list’s number. Like most bloggers, I also have list envy when I hear about someone else’s massive asset. And your list is your most valuable asset on your blog.
Why is your list your most valuable asset?
The people who opted in to your email list, did so consciously. They CHOSE to be a part of your tribe. Liking a page on Facebook or following someone on Twitter is very easy and statistically the amount of people who will see your awesome and carefully crafted content are 10% at most. Your email newsletter on the other hand, should have an open rate of between 15%-25%. Any lower than that and you should rethink your strategy; any higher and you are a marketing genius and should charge serious big money for your insights.
Your email list is your tribe. They CHOSE you and they LOVE you. So come that happy day that you want to market your awesome paid-for product you know that you can rely on your tribe. Sure, you will get some sales from your social accounts as well (especially from Pinterest if your blog has a highly visual component – more on that later!) but ultimately your list is going to be your first wave of conversion.
So I have just deleted 500 subscribers from my list. OUCH. It really hurts, but let’s look at the upside:
- my email open rate will go up from a disappointing 15% to a whopping 26% without much effort. This is great for my ego if nothing else!
- a clean list is a clear indication of your blog’s marketability: on a modest conversion rate of 2%, that means that I will have clearer idea of projected sales when I launch a new product.
- engagement is everything, so you can have a list with thousands of people on it, but if they don’t open your emails it doesn’t matter (which is also why is REALLY doesn’t pay to buy subscribers or followers.)
Why does an email list get filled with non-engaging subscribers?
There are a number of reasons:
- My list gets cluttered mostly through give-aways and contests. Everyone loves a freebie, but they don’t necessarily care for your brand so once they’ve entered they disappear from your active community.
- Downloads are another culprit, for the same reason as for the give-aways.
PRO TIP: always enable a CATCHA image or email authentication method when hosting a give-away or where voting is required. This will prevent spam bots or mean people from creating fake email addresses.
- And the last one, which is the only one you really have control over, is your spam rating. Getting your emails to stay out of a reader’s spam folder is quite simple. Here are a few tips:
- Don’t spam them! Make sure that your emails are high quality that offers value to your readers.
- Write engaging subject lines: subjects with an exclamation mark tend to do better. To check your subject line, use this free tool.
- Make sure that your email client uses a clean SMTP server, that is one that has not been blacklisted by your readers’ email client. I use Sendgrid via Mailpoet on WordPress and so far I have not had any issues.
- Don’t send all of your emails at once, make sure that your mail client gives you the option of sending a limited amount per hour. A good email client and SMTP server will do this automatically!
So now that I have a clean list, I have an accurate view of my marketability and value. It hurt, but I would rather have a smaller list with high engagement than a big list with little value.