It only seems like yesterday when the very thought of having an email marketing list of 1,000 subscribers was a beautiful exciting pipe dream. In fact in reality it was only 11 months ago!
Those pipe dreams of future profits drove everything I did.
And most of the things I did were absolutely wrong!
Just the thought of creating a snappy email with links to my affiliate products, hitting the “send” button and waiting for the cash to hit my PayPal account seemed almost too easy to be true!
And it was…
I purchased a heck of a lot of traffic and created lots of squeeze pages offering everything from free ebooks that I have created to free video training and even podcasts I had done on various ever-green topics like “5 Critical Steps to Get Started Online” and “7 Secret Ways To Build A Profitable List”.
That later one about a “Profitable List” was based on pure research theory and over-confidence because at that stage I had really only started building my list with practically no engagement evidence.
But every day I watched in awe as my GetResponse and GVO accounts started recording impressive numbers of optins. This was looking fantastic!
Don’t ask me why but apart from an opening welcome email I decided not to send out any other messages until I had achieved a total of 1,000 subscribers.
That only took me a few weeks but already I had missed a golden opportunity and did not realize it!
During that same time I carefully researched the best selling offers on ClickBank and JVZoo and I was certain that with even a 10 -15% email open rate I would soon be living that List Builder’s Lifestyle I had heard so much about.
After exactly 22 days I created my first broadcast email with what I thought was a winning combination of mystery and value for money.
Unsure whether to use a long story-style email or a brief snappy few lines I went for the short version thinking people online did not want to spend the time reading long-winded emails.
I read somewhere that you need to email consistently so that your subscribers don’t forget you.
Well I had already broken that “rule” by delaying my broadcasts and whether that was the reason or something else, my first email marketing results were a total disaster!
Read These And Weep – I Still Do!
My very first email stats were:
“Sent” 1027; “Opened” 4 (0.3%); “Clicks” 0; “Bounced” 341; Complaints 2
The next day’s results were even worse:
“Sent” 1027; “Opened” 2 (0.2%); “Clicks” 0; “Bounced” 343; Complaints 5
What was going on here? Where had my list building dream lifestyle gone?
In hindsight I now realize it would not have mattered what type of email I used or even if it was written in ancient Latin!
Once again I had missed the real issue of successful email marketing.
Can you see what I had completely ignored and overlooked?
I started blaming everyone for my miserable failures from the solo ad providers to the Autoresponder companies.
I could see that all that money spent on promotion had been flushed down the drain as I had absolutely nothing to show for it apart from a completely unresponsive list and a huge credit card debt.
My “No Brainer” Solution!
To rectify the situation I did something again completely stupid in hindsight but at the time it seemed to be a “no brainer” especially to someone who was desperate for success.
With my available marketing funds getting lower and lower and with not one single sale to my name, I purchased 5,000 “leads” (names, emails, IP address and Telephone Number) all from the USA and all supposedly highly motivated by the thought of “making money online” at a cost of $850
Wow…just 17 cents per lead not per click. Now this was what I had been missing all this time. At last I had found myself a great deal.
Here was my chance of glory and not wanting to make the same mistake again I immediately started emailing and offering them a range of high quality products and services.
I Had Done It Again!
If things seem too good to be true then they almost certainly will be.
Should have checked the source of those leads but was too desperate to succeed to waste time doing things like that.
I was completely vulnerable to those unethical “online assassins” and never even realized it!
Once again my results were horrible.
Sure this time I actually got a few sales, and I will always remember waking up and finding I had made 4 sales overnight.
Yes…at last I was starting to feel a success and that old story of making money while you sleep had in fact become a reality for me.
Well for one day at least!
However, within just a few days my results started to slip towards my previous disastrous levels and once again I was at a complete loss as to why I continued to fail with email marketing.
I mean at this stage my list was around 7450 but my engagement levels were almost non-existent. My open rates were less than 0.02%
After a lot of soul-searching and asking every man and his dog how to make email marketing a profitable business model, I realized that all along I had completely ignored things that I had been told about so many times.
They seemed too simple and yes I ignored them over and over again.
Basic yet common sense things like get to know your audience.
Find out what they really want and need.
What are their pain points, their biggest struggles and frustrations?
I truly thought I knew what my list wanted and needed.
Wrong, wrong, wrong – see my Grandfather's Confession Video!
What an absolutely stupid arrogant assumption that was!
I also assumed (again incorrectly) that when people optin to my list they will be interested enough to open my emails, click the links and buy stuff from me.
Wrong, wrong, wrong
My email marketing mutation has finally evolved and I have finally reached the point where I now ALWAYS put the needs of my subscribers FIRST (not my profit dreams) and give genuine help and assistance where ever possible (rather than focus on my affiliate profit links).
For the first time in my life I discovered the importance of cleaning your list and how to do it – this was a real revelation to me!
My Email Marketing Revelation!
Size of your list is not the issue and never will be.
Engagement is the name of the game and this vital fact of email marketing had finally sunk in with me!
Now I also know a lot more about my subscribers by conducting some fun hangouts, surveys, connecting socially with them plus consistently sharing helpful blog posts, videos and podcasts and always asking them for feedback.
A more recent revelation was the tremendous engagement you can build with your list by building a blog community. Leading bloggers like the Adrienne Smith have made me realize the strong link between building a blog community and operating a successful email marketing business.
Linking to other blogger's in your posts will also greatly help your blog traffic as well.
This is explained in a really interesting and fun post from Ryan Biddulph called “How To Increase Blog Traffic Easy” – pay special attention to his “Blog Roundup” strategy.
Like all others, this post will also be shared with my list and many of them are all too aware of my past failings. It should make for some interesting feedback!
This post will give you some clever ideas about how to make your list more profitable.
Sure I still want people to buy my recommendations but my mutated email marketing state tells me that if I provide enough real value then my sales objectives will look after themselves.
Postscript: My latest Email Broadcast Stats were:
“Sent” 3547; “Opened” 320 (9%); Clicks 22(7%); “Soft Bounces” 11; “Complaints” 0
Nothing brilliant I know but it’s a huge change from my previous email marketing state of affairs and at last I am starting to see consistent engagement and growing income streams.
What have your experiences been with email marketing? How do you go about growing your list? What activities have you found to be the best way to build a relationship with your list? Please leave me your thoughts and feedback below – this “mutated email marketer” always responds!