A lot of people think business blogging is a free hobby. Or, as I've seen it promoted – a free marketing tool.
As you know, business blogging isn't free. If you want to make your best impression you will need to self-host rather than have a site that has yourname.cheapskate.com on it, so that means you'll need hosting, possibly a framework, and probably a premium theme such as Thrive
Then, of course, you'll need a decent pop-up that isn't going to drive people bonkers and an account with Active Campaign to manage your list efficiently. Not a lot of change out of £500 if you are lucky.
In today's post, I want to talk about a blogger or marketer's biggest ongoing expense – the email list.
Many bloggers and online marketers have lists with hundreds of subscribers, often thousands. They've heard that the money is in the list but if these subscribers are not clicking on the links nor participating in the discussions, why are you still clinging on to them?
An email management service starts at $12 a month from Get Response, or $9 with Active Campaign, and this fee increases with your amount of subscribers – the more you have, the more you need to invest. This means you need to keep your email lists clean and tidy with people who want to be there, that open, read, and engage with your emails.
Automations Are Your Biggest Friend.
The best way to do this is to simply set up an automation in your email system that identifies inactive subscribers, you then try to re-engage with them, and after a few tries if nothing happens you remove them from your system, all done on autopilot. You can set up time spans to do this so, for example, any subscriber that hasn't opened an email for 6 months then enter them into your ‘re-engage' sequence.
If you are a nice blogger / online marketer, you might like to warn your subscribers that you're going to delete them if they do not take action. With services like Active Campaign you can program in re-engagement campaigns really easily and then set and forget so you know ALL of you subscribers have been active within the last xxx months.
Having a big list is useless if the subscribers are not reading your content
If your subscribers are just deleting as soon as they hit your inbox and generally ignoring you, you have a content issue or they have a time issue. If the issue is time you need to consider how many times you're going to say hello and be ignored before you realise this is their choice.
Your choice is not to continue paying for them to be on your email list.
Tough? You have to be because you want your marketing to work for you – you want to build an awesome relationship with your readers.
Email list cleaning – how to do it
By running your engaged automation you will be targetting your subscribers in a way that you have not previously. You might try sending them some emails telling them that they've been inactive for a while, and you intend to remove them.
These subscribers many need a push instead of a pull to act, and of course, you can try a new approach on these inactive subscribers compared to your active subscribers.
It could be a terrific market test on more aggressive ad copy, different placement of links, and brand new or fresh approaches.
Of course, the minute they start to open, click and interact they get removed from the ‘re engage ‘ automation and are sent back into the regular list schedule that they came from.
If they decide to take no action or unsubscribe then you have moved them on from being dormant or inactive.
Either way, you will take an inactive subscriber forward on their path with you either as a re engaged subscriber or an unsubscriber.
Another reason to clean your lists is that you're being forced to look at your metrics and performance.
I know it is boring, but honestly, you need to do this so that you know what is going on with your subscribers. For instance, if you have an inordinate amount of inactive subscribers, meaning if most of your subscribers are very inactive consider that your current advertising copy, and email copy, might not be meeting their expectations when they signed up for your list. Look back to where they signed up, read your first email to them, what did you promise. Have you delivered?
If you haven't, quickly correct this issue and start delivering value right now. It wouldn't hurt to eat a bit of humble pie and send your readers a free gift or a truly great offer, explain that you've re-evaluated your marketing strategy and it should improve. You might be surprised at how this small change will help with your conversion rates and encourage engagement.
The entire point of email marketing is to get some kind of return on investment (ROI) and if your list is not paying for itself, modify it until it does. If they have not unsubscribed, and you're not going directly to the spam folder, you still have a chance to convert them.
Another type of subscriber to remove…
The subscriber that engages, but is never happy. Some subscribers only subscribe to a few lists. Yeah, they are rare but they are out there. So if you email them every day they get hacked off, and they email you back to moan. Other subscribers love the value that you send but the monthly offers you source or create to make their life easier isn't appreciated.
They moan right at you rather than unsubscribe. Delete them. Harsh? As I mentioned right at the start – blogging is not free. It costs you time, energy, and money to blog and then start a relationship with your readers. If it is not working, do something about it, start a dialogue with the subscriber, call them… but if it's not making them happy, delete them.
It is important to remember that even if your copy is perfect, and you've done it all right, some people will simply just stop opening your email for no reason whatsoever. There are reasons for this, sometimes it is that your email is disappearing into the spam black hole, and sometimes it's just that they weren't interested to start with. Perhaps they were a freebie seeker and really did only join to get the opt-in gift that you were offering. This happens, if you try to re-engage them and it does not work, then it is time to delete them off your list.