In the real world, there's nothing more offensive than someone looking you up and down and demanding to know how much you earn. There's an online equivalent of this real-life rudeness and that's demanding to know how big your email list is.
The reason you're asked these questions is the person that's asking is assessing your worth, qualifying whether you are worth speaking to or not.
And I hate it.
I have a real, intense dislike of the people that “qualify” you with these questions as there's an assumption that if you meet their criteria that they can help you, and that you need them to help. There's very little consideration for you and what you'd like, in their assessment, and that's possibly the main reason I despise the people who do this.
When I used to network heavily I would often come straight before or after a job (i owned a courier company). I would be wearing steel-toe cap boots, a shirt, and trousers pulling up in an unmarked white van. Often I was overlooked as anyone of ‘worth' I had multiple times been told I wasn't a serious business because I didn't wear a suit. Those same people would then stand up in the network meeting and asked to be connected to people exactly like my clients. Bigger companies, companies with lots of employees, you get the gist… they never got the referral
They made assumptions rather than asking, The same view is and should be taken when people out of the blue message me and ask me how big my list is.
They're trying to work out if I'd be a good JV partner, and let me reassure you despite my list size, I'm not a good JV partner for them.
If you want to JV with us you need to know a few things.
- Your content and promotions have to fit into our editorial calendar, if they don't then I'm not partnering with you.
- Your product has to be of interest to my audience, and if it's not possible to sell the product in the EU (due to Vat Moss etc) then I'm not promoting.
- Affiliate percentages have to be fair. If I have the audience and you don't, then you'll be needing to be offering me 50% upwards to get my attention. Offering me 5% of a $1000 program isn't respectful of the costs involved in nurturing my email lists and the amount of effort I'll need to put in to make a sale.
- You want to “test” a product on my audience? Nope, only I get to do that and believe me, my subscribers are the most tolerant group of people you'll ever meet and they have a connection with us, and put up with unique ways. They are not lab rats and the size of my list doesn't mean you get to go all experimental ninja on them
How big is your list?
It's none of my business :), and it's none of your business how big my lists are. Really it's not.
- It's none of your business because my list is part of my business.
- An email list is one of your business assets, and the size of your list does not matter if they're not being opened and acted upon. And it truly is none of my business how you carry out your business. Really it's not.
- If you choose not to grow an email list I might think you're silly and with Aweber and Get Response so reasonably priced, I might wonder why you're not investing in one of their services, but it really is none of my business, no matter how curious I am.
- And then there's the often-ignored fact that your list may come from email addresses you've harvested from LinkedIn, your address book, and any number of other places, and your subscribers haven't opted in at all.
Size is irrelevant when it comes to email lists because there are so many different variables to take into account. Let's face facts if numbers are all you are interested in (and not nurturing the relationship) knowing precisely how many subscribers I have won't help you at all.
If I did do a JV with you all you'll discover is how bad your target is!
How often do you email your list?
I may get upset if we work together and you don't email your subscribers. But only when we work together. Prior to this, it's none of my business.
What's important is that your emails get opened, they get read and they get acted on, and if they don't then you clean your list and adapt your subject lines and content until they do work. Size is irrelevant, but if you don't email your subscribers you won't know this.
You have never, ever needed a big list to make decent money.
What you need is decent relationships, and the right people getting the right information.
Relationship building is hard. I won't pretend it's easy, and even we can struggle at times. It means showing up regularly in your reader's inbox, it's sharing useful things with them and it's building connections with them and starting conversations, even when you may not feel like talking!
You just need a little planning!
And here's the deal… In the box below is an email planner PDF. It's yours, it's my gift to you.
If you share the post via the box you can get the email marketing planner and do more with your email marketing. It won't stop you from being asked how big is your list, but it will enable you to reply confidently it's none of your business, and my list is healthy and profitable.