So many Internet marketers brag about the size of their email list and talk about how ‘the money is in the list‘. And then in the next breath they complain about how they aren’t seeing any sales come out of their email campaigns. If you have a massive list and you’re not reaping the rewards, maybe there’s something wrong with your list. Here’s why you should keep your email list healthy.
Growing a healthy email list is like growing a garden. You have to feed and water and prune and fertilize and transplant and move things around – you’re constantly tending your little plants to help them grow and thrive. When you ignore your garden it becomes overgrown. Plants start choking in the parched soil, smaller plants can’t reach the light, weeds move in and the crickets take over. A neglected garden eventually withers and dies and a neglected email list will do the same.
Why you should keep your email list healthy
Signs that your email list may be unhealthy include few sales or none at all, lots of unopened emails, complaints to your email service provider, and worst of all, spam reports. Little or no sales will only effect your pocketbook and might be remedied by changing your content. But the other symptoms can effect your entire operation.
Email Service Providers (ESPs) are rated by the search engines and the sites that provide email access, like Google Gmail and Yahoo Mail. One of the things they’re judged on is the number of opened emails they process.
If you have a large number of unopened emails going out every day, your ESP may think you’re just a spammer because spammers typically don’t monitor their email stats. In order to protect their own reputation, they could shut down your account. Lots of complaints and spam reports only make you look even worse in the eyes of your ESP.
And let’s not forget the fact that you’re probably paying a pretty penny every month to maintain your account with your ESP. Most fees are based on your number of list members so if you have a really big list you’re also paying a really big monthly fee. You also probably invested some time and money in developing that list to start with. If your list is unhealthy, then you’re spending a lot of money and getting nothing in return.
So you have three reasons why it’s important to keep your email list healthy: To make sales, to keep your email account open and avoid being reported as a spammer, and to get the maximum return on your investment. Now, what can you do to improve your list’s health?
Your first inclination may be to go through and delete everyone who isn’t opening your emails but let’s save that for last. Maybe there’s a reason they’re not opening your emails.
Maybe your emails are going into their spam folder: Before you send your next broadcast, make an announcement on your blog that you’re getting ready to send out some really great information and you want to make sure everybody is on the lookout for it. Remind your readers to check their spam folders and add you to their whitelist.
Use attention-grabbing subject lines: Create a sense of urgency with your titles. Don’t just say ‘Weekly Newsletter‘. Tell them they need to ‘Open this Newsletter NOW for some Top Secret Tips‘. Be careful, though. Deliver on your promises or run the risk of being reported.
Be consistent: If you haven’t emailed your list for awhile they may not be opening just because they’ve forgotten who you are. Start mailing on a consistent basis and see if more people start opening again.
If all that fails and you’re still seeing a high number of unopened emails it’s time to start pruning your list. But don’t just start chopping away. Give your readers one last chance.
Start a new list: Maybe your readers are just not opening because you keep sending them the same tired old emails. Come up with some exciting new offer and start a new list to see who’s really listening and who’s given up for good.
Deleting names off of that list you fought so hard to generate is heartbreaking and it’s one of the hardest things you’ll have to do. But you need to do it in order to keep your email list healthy and strong. Get rid of that dead weight before it has a chance to drag you down. And once your list is healthy again, you’ll start getting those sales back.