On December 4, 2019, I got exactly 1,000 new email subscribers…
Most of them, imported, as part of a special campaign I participated in.
It was a business book giveaway. I gave away a download of one of my books. And 11 other authors did the same.
Each of us agreed, as part of participating in the giveaway, to promote it to our email lists.
And when someone from any of the lists requested our books, they were told they’d be added to our email list as well.
At the end of the giveaway, I got a spreadsheet of the email addresses. Which I then uploaded to my email service provider. A handful less than 1,000 were brand new to my list — and with other opt-ins that day, I remember distinctly that Aweber told me I had 1,000 new subscribers.
I put a lot of thought into the best way to do this…
One of the guiding values I use to run my business (and my life) is to treat others the best way I want to be treated. That’s my variation on The Golden Rule.
(I probably could’ve made a bloody fortune by now, with my skills, if I were willing to lie, cheat, and steal to do so. But even if I could get away with it, I wouldn’t be happy, so I don’t.)
Prior to participating in this promotion, I’d verified that I was ONLY getting the emails of people who signed up for my book specifically. And that they’d be told they were being put on my list.
I also have unsubscribe links at the bottom of each email. And in the first email everyone gets after joining my list, I’m adamant that if you don’t want my emails, I’d rather you unsubscribe.
I only want you to get my emails if you truly want to get them…
I have many eager readers. A huge group of rabid fans who open my emails within the first hour of receiving them. Many regular readers who’ve gone on and purchased additional resources I offer. Others who share my content regularly, in many places I am and am not aware of (thank you).
I realized many of these people would NOT want my emails…
Here’s the thing. One of the reasons I’m so good at marketing is that I’ve gotten good at imagining what it would be like from the other side. When a prospect is getting my message, what is their experience like?
This is a huge part of all the thinking behind my Webinars That Sell campaigns.
This is critical in so much of what I do.
And so I imagined what it would be like, from your perspective. You get an email from someone like me. We’re offering an ebook for free. Perhaps we also mention all the other books being offered for free as well.
So you click the link. You see a bunch of book covers. Some are interesting to you. You enter your email address. Perhaps for my book, and a handful of others. You get your downloads, and go on your merry way.
Then, a couple days later, you start getting emails. From people whose names are somewhat familiar, but you can’t quite place.
And you get more emails, and more emails.
And frankly, you’re not quite sure why you’re suddenly getting emails from these senders.
So you unsubscribe. And perhaps report them as spam. After all, if you don’t know where they came from, they must be spam — right?
(Technically, in this case, no — but there’s the legal definition of spam and there’s our emotional definition, and they seldom overlap.)
Maybe, just maybe, one or two of the emailers resonate. You’re reading their emails. You realize it’s one of the books you got. And you keep reading.
But across the board, there’s probably at least as many people who have a negative reaction to any given author’s emails as have a positive reaction.
That’s a very real danger of participating in a campaign like this.
Here’s how I tried to start the relationship off right…
So, when you first join the Breakthrough Marketing Secrets list, you get A LOT of email from me.
I’m not that concerned about volume, because I try to make it as value-first as possible.
Meaning, my goal is to deliver as much value in my selling messages as I can, while also giving you opportunities to buy resources that let you go deeper, faster. (That’s the whole Golden Rule thing.)
In many cases, you’re getting a couple emails in a day. There’s the regular Monday through Friday emails, often written the day they’re delivered, to share my latest insights and ideas about building your business through effective marketing.
Then there’s the welcome email sequence, that tells my story and gets you acquainted with me and my approach.
I kept all that the same — and added one more email.
You see, I knew that even though these new email subscribers had requested my book earlier in the week, they’d probably already forgotten me.
And so I wrote an email that, in effect, said that — and told them I understood.
I showed them the cover of the book they’d gotten free. I explained the process by which that request put them on my email list. And…
I explicitly told them to unsubscribe from my list…
Again, if you’re not interested in engaging with me and my content, great — let’s split ways. It’s better in all sorts of ways than me being annoying and you complaining about my emails.
But by reminding them of how they ended up on my list in the first place, I also immediately gave context to my emails.
I created a cohesive experience.
And I gave them an out, by letting them choose to go.
Quite a few people unsubscribed immediately.
I think within two days, I’d lost about 8% of these new subscribers. And this actually made me happy!
I know that in the long run, probably only about half of the people who sign up for my list really stick. And in the case of these leads, since the discovery process was about getting freebies en masse, the stick rate will likely be lower.
So 8% unsubscribed immediately.
And over the last month or so, I’ve continued to lose these new subscribers. I’m up to about 25% of these 1,000 gone within the first month.
I consider this campaign a success, but would be hesitant to repeat it…
The promise of this campaign was that it would lead to a bunch of new subscribers on my email list.
It absolutely fulfilled on that promise.
But, as I expected it might, it didn’t necessarily add a ton of quality subscribers — that is, subscribers that were a great fit for me, my message, and thus my list.
A big part of that was because I had absolutely no control over who the other authors were.
I was asked to take part in the campaign. And grouped with other business authors who said yes. I don’t know what the criteria for asking was.
I didn’t know the other authors. Or what kind of message they put out, and what kind of prospects they attract.
It would be a better fit if we all had a tight message match.
If I were to do it again, I’d probably want to be selective with the other authors who participated. Specifically choosing a bunch of authors whose niche and message aligned tightly with mine.
So that as we were sharing our message with our lists, we’d have strong message to market match. Both internal to the promotion, and in ongoing communication with new members of our email lists.
For example, instead of the broader category of “business” books (which tended toward biz-opp “make money online” pitches) it could be a giveaway of books more directed toward copywriters.
Even better if each person or business promoting it to their list all met a certain quality standard in terms of the quality of their content, messaging, and offers.
I liked the fundamental structure of the campaign. And I’m not dissatisfied with the results, in the end. And yet, I’d like it a lot more if the market was a better fit. Not just for my sake, but for the sake of all the new email subscribers who’d feel more at home with my emails.
Here’s the biggest lesson you should take away from this…
Not all leads are created email. Not all traffic is created equal. Not all prospects are created equal.
It’s all about FIT.
The perfect prospect for you may be terrible for someone else — and vise-versa.
Don’t just worry about growing your email list. Or getting more traffic. Or getting more leads. Or anything else measured in sheer volume.
Pay attention to the quality of each — and the fit.
Because even 1 of the best leads could be worth many times more what 1,000 of the worst would be.
And often the most successful, profitable businesses are so successful and profitable because they spend their time, energy, and resources with the 1 and not the 1,000.
Yes, you can provide value to — and get value from — the 1,000.
But often dealing with the 1 is easier, more fun, and even more lucrative.
This one lesson, applied, leads to many breakthroughs in lead generation, client acquisition, paid traffic, and more.
Yours for bigger breakthroughs,