Ok, just last week I did a super secret launch to my email list.
I launched my flagship ecourse ‘GET 500 SUBSCRIBERS’ and it was a huge success.
Thanks so much to you – my loyal subscriber - for encouraging me, opening my emails and most of all signing up. Your support truly means a lot. I am truly humbled.
This course will relaunch again in 4+ months time, maybe a bit longer, and I hope to include results, success stories and testimonials from this original group of founding members. Also make more materials available. If you are curious, you can have a sneak peek here.
Now the premise of this course is something that I have come to believe in with all my heart. That you don’t need a huge email list to have a successful online business. It has taken me almost 3 years of blogging to understand what it means to blog for business and that popularity should never be the ultimate goal.
I have written about the difference between being a popular blogger and a successful one (this post). I don’t plan to write about this over and over again for the fear that people might start calling it a case of sour grapes. Worth mentioning here.
You don’t need need a huge email list to have a successful online business – just a highly targetted one. I will tackle this one next. And this is what I will continue to focus on.
So what better way to show that I mean what I say by cleaning my own list?
Cleaning my email list
What do I mean by cleaning my list? I want to send emails to those people only who are interested in hearing from me. Who have opened at least an email or two in the past few months and maybe clicked through one to read a blog post. Makes sense, right?
Actually, this happened entirely by accident. I never set out to do this. I have been analysing my launch reaults, what went brilliantly and what didn’t do well. What were the big wins and flops (another upcoming post) and I was dismayed to see the number of people who had never opened a single email of mine for a long, long time.
So I decided to let these people go.
These are my reasons why I deleted 400 people from my email list.
My blog is no longer the same
The biggest reason for this could be that my blog has evolved ..
When I started blogging at Marya Writes, it was my personal blog. And I had no idea of what things will look like in a year, let alone a few months. I approached this hobby like a childlike enthusiasm. I was blogging about various interestes of mine. I had no goals.
I didn’t read many blogs at that time. I didn’t know blogging could be an income generating tool or a tool to market your business. I didn’t know how hard it was going to be to attract any readers.
But a stream readers kept trickling in. They loved to my view as a beginning blogger.
Along the way, this started to change. Initially everything was all over the place. I was talking about happiness, success, books, kids and what not. Within a year, I had started Writing Happiness.
People tell you not to start a blogging blog – it’s so … desperatish .. like you don’t have anything else to write about.
I get it. But I wasn’t going to listen to them. I was in love with this medium. I had a long affiliation with business writing and teaching, and I was smitten by blogging. Why should I listen to anyone else but myself.
I started with freelance blogging in a highly specialised field. Now I teach Blogging for Business and Blogging for Fun short courses locally. I also coach clients and write blog reviews. . My goal is to help small businesses add 1k subscribers to their list.
And all of this means that my content is no longer relevant to many people who subscribed to my blog in late 2010/11. And that’s that totally fine. Most of them have probably unsubscribed by now anyway.
Another Reason: Unwanted Costs
I send my emails via Mailchimp. Mailchimp is free for first 2,000 subscribers. After that you have to pay a monthly fee.
Up to 2,500 subscribers, you pay $30 a month and after that number you pay $50.
From the end of last year, I have been paying $50 per month (which amounts to $600) per year. Now, if all of these people are interested in what I have to say, open some of my emails and click through and I have got nothing to complain, right?
As it turns out, many people don’t.
So then why I should I pay all that money for nothing, it just doesn’t make any sense.
This is why I deleted so many people. For four painful days, I went through a quarter of my list, starting from day 1, 200 subscribers at a time, going through all the 2star subscribers. (Think it took me 40 minutes or so a day)
And I unsubscribed anyone who has a 0.0% open rate, and they joined prior to March 2012 (so not those people who are new subscribers).
There were people on my list who have never opened a single email of mine. Shocking? Hardly. Many people just get on a list to get their hands on the freebie alone. Often they sign up with an email they never open or create a dummy one. Now, I can spot these with 90% accuracy. They often won’t give out their first name, use an initial or a weird name. Their email address is often really long and quite bizzarre.
Out they go. Good riddance. (I am just saying this to make myself feel better. The truth is that these people would never know anything is changed since THEY NEVER EVEN OPENED A SINGLE EMAIL OF MINE.)
I also unsubscribed those who have a less than 5% open rate and 0.0% click rate and joined prior to Dec 2012. Meaning They opened some of my emails but never, ever clicked on any of the links. Meaning they either opened by mistake or never interested in any of my content.
I wanted to delete another group of people but I resisted. These people have really high open rates, like over 80%. They are opening most of my emails but they have zero clickthroughs. I am truly baffled by this group behaviour. Why do they stay? Why do they open but never click?
The biggest lesson
Numbers don’t matter. Quality does.
By quality I mean people who are truly interested in what you have to say. The easist way to fix that is to offer a highly targetted freebie for opt-in, to attract only those who fit your ideal reader profile. This reduces the chances of attracting anyone who is remotely interested but not a good fit for you.
Also, don’t feel like you need to grow your list to few thousand people before you could monetize. The truth is your blog is probably no longer a fit for them as you both evolve. I actually wished I had launched my course sooner!
Get clear on what you are offering from day 1. Attract the right kind of person. Others won’t matter one bit.
(This is what I am teaching in the first module of my course – sign up here if you are interested in being notified when it opens for enrollment next).
Leave a comment. How big your list needs to be before you would monetize? As a small business owner, how many people do you want on your list?