Don’t Believe All You’re Told About Email Lists

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Normally we think of mailing lists as, well… mailing lists.

But not all mailing lists are made the same.

There are very different types of mailing lists, and understanding the differences will make sure that you build the one that is suitable to your business and your approach to selling.

If you’ve been reading, or read in the past, any blogs about building mailing lists then they usually give details that you should:

  1. Give something free away to get a subscriber
  2. Nurture the lead with an auto-responder
  3. Contact them only two or three times per week
  4. Don’t sell too often

Number one is an absolute necessity. Everybody does it for one reason… it works!

But actually numbers two to four are very much open to interpretation.

Let’s look at some of the big marketing names out there:

And Jenkins and Mike Filsaime

They give very good content but they’re only ever nurturing for a sales funnel, if you don’t buy the product in their launch (which is what the content is made for) then you get a lot of promotional email for affiliate products.

And in-between launches it goes pretty quiet!

Frank Kern

He famously did a launch about how he made seven figures from a list he hadn’t emailed in nearly a year.

So no lead nurturing or regular contact going on there.

Okay, okay so these are some of the biggest hitters about. What about the guys who are very successful but not quite at that scale.

Well, recently I joined Alex Jeffries mailing list. If you don’t know who Alex is, he’s a marketer who teaches a particular method of marketing using launches to gain traffic. He mainly does his launches on JV Zoo and seems to launch at least one thing every month.

So does he nurture his leads?

He might do through some funnels, but certainly not the one I joined through. All I’ve received since joining are emails for the products he’s launching.

And we see this pattern time and time again.

What you’re being told to do is different to what the people telling you to do it are actually doing themselves!

Now that’s not to say that you can’t use high quality content to sell, but it’s not the only way and in some situations it’s not the most profitable.

Let’s start by removing a couple of common myths surrounding email marketing.

First of all, it’s very difficult to over-contact your mailing list.

You should be contacting them a minimum of three or four times a week and, ideally, every day.

Yes, it will put some people off but if they don’t want to hear from you regularly then the chances are they’re not going to read much of your content anyway.

We send millions of emails out each month and every time that we test sending less versus sending more, sending more always increases response rates.

Some people will always unsubscribe from your emails. That’s just how it is, don’t become attached to the people who unsubscribe. You’ll even find that people who unsubscribe re-join your mailing list in the future. If they don’t want your content at the moment then that’s no problem, they can get it again whenever they like.

Secondly, if you want to make money then you’re going to have to sell. And that means some of your subscribers will leave. That’s fine as well. If you’re going to run a successful business then you need to be able to sell. A reader who doesn’t want to receive any promotional emails will always be a drain on your business. It costs you money to create content and send emails, in return for giving them good free content you’re going to send them promotions as well.

Thirdly, there is no such thing as selling too often. I consult for a hugely successful company who sell multiple times EVERY DAY and it works very well.

The choice is more about how you like to market rather than what your leads are going to expect.


Because you will train your leads to expect whatever content you want to send them.

Sending Multiple Sales Promotions Daily

If you want to send multiple sales emails every day then you’ll find that you get a lot of unsubscribes within the first few days of people joining your mailing list. But… everybody left wants to receive promotional emails.

And yes, there are a lot of people out there who enjoy reading promotional emails.

What you’ll find with this type of list is that the open rate is around the 5% – 10% range and the click through is low at around 1% – 5%.

But don’t let that put you off if this type of heavy selling appeals to you. If you have a list of 10,000 and you only get 1% in clicks but you’re sending them three promotions a day then you’re sending 300 clicks a day to a sales page. That’s the same as 9000 clicks per month.

That’s a lot of traffic!

Compare it to someone who gets as high as a 10% click through but only promotes a product once a week to the same size list. They’re getting 1000 clicks on each promotion but only sending 4000 clicks per month.

Who do you think is going to generate the most revenue!

Sending Daily Content and Promotional Emails

This approach is a great middle ground where you send one email a day filled with content and one promotional email a day.

As with above the open rates on the content emails are usually between 15% and 25% and if you have ads in the content emails then the click through’s are likely to be very low at less than 1%. However as the list gets bigger this traffic adds up over the course of a month.

For example, using the same 10,000 list and a 0.5% click through on ads in your content emails you are only sending 50 clicks out a day from this email. Over thirty days that’s 1500 clicks to sales pages and at a 1% conversion rate you’ve made an extra 15 sales. Well worth having.

Sending Primarily Content

This is more the traditional method that is taught and can be very effective. This type of emailing usually works best when you’re trying to build a following around a specific person or brand.

It develops readers with a strong sense of loyalty.

However don’t be mistaken into thinking that the unsubscribe rate is going to be any lower than the previous option. Whilst it will look lower you’ll find that people simply stop opening your emails rather than actually unsubscribe.

In our tests this approach works best if you’re emailing every day and then you can still send promotional emails two or three times per week but wrapped up in content.

Usually a mailing list taught to expect to receive content will respond best to promotional material that is put the sales material into a story which educates around the subject that the product is going to help your reader in.

These are the three most common methods of managing your emails but of course there are many different levels between sending only content and sending only promotions.

The truth is all of the models can work. Not everyone is comfortable with hard selling multiple times a day. If that’s the case for you then that model is unlikely to be one that will work for you.

Choose the model that you’re most comfortable with and then build out your email newsletter around that model. Educate your subscribers about what they’re going to get in the first email they receive and give them the chance to easily unsubscribe if it’s not for them.

Follow those steps and you’ll be able to make any of these emailing approaches work for you.

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