Email Lists That Don’t Self-Destruct In 5 Minutes
There’s been a distinct lack of posting recently. Couple of reasons.
I’ve just turned 22. To celebrate, I took my first break from work in…a very long time. People post a lot of shit about ways of improving their online businesses. Well my business is simply a launch pad to get to where I want to be in life.
Due to being stressed off my tits for the last twelve months, I haven’t really been able to enjoy the successful progress I’ve made. And that kinda defeats the purpose of taking this career path, you know? What good is freedom if you spend it frantically tearing your hair out at a desk while good times pass on by?
To conquer this, I decided to go a week without responding to my emails. Without thinking about profit margins. Without giving a damn whether my campaigns banked or my WordPress tanked. It’s been pretty nice to kick it back and live like a morose lemon for the last six days. Very satisfying indeed.
I doubt the affiliate fraternity wants to hear about my daily struggles so where were we? I’d like to go back and pick up where I left off from the last post – building an email list and developing some long term marketing assets. It’s a slow moving gravy train. But you want that gravy, don’t you?
If you read the comments to the last post, you will have noticed some concern over dealing with complaint rates when marketing via email. There are many reasons why you should be looking to minimize the number of people reporting your messages.
If Aweber – or any mailing service – notices what it deems to be an abnormally high number of complaints, you’re going to be faced with the prospect of re-opting in your entire list. Needless to say, this is a total pain in the arse. The bad news is that it doesn’t take many complaints to breach the threshold.
There are two simple guidelines I follow to minimize the threat of being reported as spam:
1. Go for maximum relevance. I prefer working with smaller geo-targeted lists.
2. Remind the user why they’re receiving your content. If you gave away a freebie, hold them guilty for taking it.
I can only talk for what I’ve had success with personally. I know from receiving a ton of email every day that I’m more likely to report something if I can’t remember why I’m receiving it. There’s an instinctive guilt trip attached to reporting shit that I know I was stupid enough to subscribe to in the first place.
I’ve had the highest complaint rates when my mailing campaigns have strayed too far in to preachy sales talk territory. I’m practically talking out of my arse here because I’m by no means an expert in the field, but you have to think about how your subscribers are likely to react to the content you’re hitting them with. It’s not like you can bamboozle them with the biggest sales talk under the sun.
You know what happens when people get sick of commercials on television? They change the channel.
Guess what happens when people get sick of reading your amped up sales drivel in their Gmail? They report as spam.
In the first scenario, you lose a potential lead. In the second scenario, think of it as a potential power cut. Too many reported emails and they’ll cut you at the source. So yes, you do have to consider not just the wants and needs of your target audience. But how to combat the bitchy tendencies of some dude who doesn’t want to listen to your crap.
I’ve always used a self-deprecating tone rather than a “you-must-buy-my-new-product-right-now” barrage of promotion. I do my research beforehand and build lists that are targeted to specific regions. If you have a grasp on the location of your subscribers, you can work local news and increased relevancy in to your campaigns. I can’t stress how significant this has become to almost every campaign that I launch, mailing or otherwise.
There’s others reasons why I prefer to work with a bunch of smaller lists than one big clusterfuck. Diversification is always key. If you can build several lists, it’s less likely that they’re going to get blasted in one hit if it all goes wrong. You’ll pay more in service charges, but that’s to be expected. The good news with a service like Aweber is that you’re only paying for the size of your list. The prices rise accordingly as you add more subscribers.
A great way to collect emails at a cheap price is to go raiding the classified sites. Now, I don’t frequent Internet Marketing forums as much as some of the other bloggers in this space. Apparently posting about classified sites is a crime of treason and punishable by the wrath of a thousand Wicked Fire dicks. I don’t want to go there.
I’m not going to delve in to how to do this. But understand that ANY site which offers logical targeting by location is a great vehicle for building a highly targeted list. If you abuse the system, you’re going to get very little reward from it. And also understand that there are ways to advertise on the classified sites WITHOUT posting ads. You’re smart peoples. I’m not gonna spell it out to you.
Lead quality is a big problem. If you look at sites like Craigs List as vehicles for driving traffic straight to an offer – particularly a rebill – shit is going to get hairy. Does that mean all traffic from the classifieds is doomed? No it doesn’t. Lead quality is rarely an issue when you’re being paid by the sale.
For me, the great appeal of these sites is to be able to tap in to their natural location-based divides and build lists that are targeted to the city. If you can’t work out how to do this effectively, don’t bother doing it at all. You’ll draw negative attention with the same kind of bum marketing that ruins great opportunities for other people. A system becomes useless when every Warrior with a Paypal account has the capacity to stick his wang in it.
It’s well known that PPV is another great and cost effective means of building a list. I’m gonna go out on a limb and say that it’s probably not the cheapest from what I’ve seen. If you can start bidding CPM on Facebook in unsaturated markets, you’re going to get more bang for your buck than you will with fixed $0.015 CPV bidding. Regardless, PPV has a lot of appeal in its own right.
If you’re marketing via mailing campaigns, you really do have to appreciate that content is king. The problems with users reporting mailshots are not to be taken lightly. Always make it perfectly clear that the user can unsubscribe at any time.
The way I see it, if you piss somebody off with an email, they’re going to hit the first button that expresses their discontent. I would much rather it be the giant UNSUBSCRIBE link in my own copy than the “Report as spam” button.
Giving away freebies is a good plot for building trust with your content. But those freebies have to be the real deal. When you’re interacting with the same target market over and over again, there’s only so many times you can sell them a distant dream. It goes without saying that hitting a list with bizopp after bizopp is never going to be a strategy for the long term. Work with reputable offers and curve your affiliate instinct to invent product benefits where they don’t exist. Conversion rates will drop, but that’s why you’re keeping the data. Get it? Slowly slowly catchy monkey.
3 CommentsLeave a comment
I love how you mention that we need to go for maximum relevance. If we are not focusing on solving our list members problems, then there is going to be a good chance that we will get marked as spam.
one thing that’s useful when doing emailing is to solicit questions from your readers. Besides encouraging interactivity (and possibly reducing “Report as spam” clicks), I’ve read that there’s an email metric that measures 2-way communication, as wholly unidirectional communication (you to list) is one of the flags for spam (who replies to a viagra ad anyway…).
my 2 pence.
Hope you enjoyed your break. Not answering mail for a bit can be a real blessing. (also shitty when you need to catch up afterwards, though)
Very interesting idea about going with small, local lists. I had never considered that myself.