Anything we do, we need to have some balance. When we get out of balance, that is when things start to get out of control. The same applies to social media marketing and list building as well.
When I started my first blog back in 2009, I didn’t know anything about list building and why it was important. But I heard about it everywhere. It seemed like such a sexy thing to have and some of those who had a huge list were winning everywhere.
Well, I quickly learned about list building and because it was so cool thing to have, I placed my subscriber forms and started to collect email addresses as I continued blogging. I followed the leaders and sure enough, my list began to grow slowly.
My subscribers loved my approach and the topics I was writing about. I mostly wrote about leadership, fear of failure, great quotations, family life, positive thinking etc. and every subscriber seemed to enjoy my posts. I received appreciation in emails, and often in the normal course of conversation with my subscribers. That was very exciting. My confidence kept growing.
When I Needed To Make Direction Changes
As the number of pageviews grew along with the number of subscribers, I continued to write posts that my subscribers were enjoying.
But the challenge was, I wasn’t making any money. I wasn’t able to promote any product of service because of the way I had created my blog (I was popular, but broke!).
As I realized that weakness in my approach, I began to make get a bit more organized and focused on subjects that would help my business. I began to include my affiliate promotions and geared my writing towards teaching my clients about the things that mattered to them and to me.
Then, slowly I saw some of my old subscribers unsubscribing from my list. Some of them were courteous to inform me via email (and I appreciated their courtesy) that they unsubscribed because my posts were mostly not relevant to them anymore.
For a moment I thought it may be a bad idea that I am changing my focus and losing subscribers. But I don’t usually give up too soon. So, I continued in the new direction and began to get new subscribers who were interested in things I was writing now. Through these people, I began to create a focused community which helped me grow my business and influence – both.
Interestingly, the people who had unsubscribed due to change in my writing style, had never generated any revenue for me, never referred any new business to me.
Soon I realized it was actually a relief for me to let those people walk out of my list. They made the size of my list much lighter and helped me save some money as well on maintenance.
People Who I Remove From My List – Intentionally
Then I found out with experience that there are people who subscribed to the list for something (might be an eBook or a document I was offering or so) and then never opened any of my emails.
Does this sound familiar to you?
Well, that is bad for my other sincere subscribers because email services such as Gmail keep track of these things and when enough number of people delete your emails without opening, your future emails may be delivered to the SPAM folder of your interested subscribers as well which in turn may hurt your business.
So, I decided to run a poll every few months to check with the people who didn’t open my email in a while. What I do is:
- Find out who didn’t open my emails (Thanks to Aweber, it makes it possible).
- Send them an email asking if they are still interested in staying subscribed.
- If I receive no response in about 36 to 48 hours, unsubscribe them from my list.
After all, why do I need thousands of subscribers who delete my messages each time they see my name? I would rather be happy with 100 people in my list who value my emails than having those many uninterested people.
Quality Always Trumps Quantity
Authenticity doesn’t always come with popularity. Sometimes you need to let go of the old to make room for new and more rewarding opportunities.
Blogging is not a charity. Blogging is not a popularity contest. It is a serious business and requires thoughtful and strategic decisions. Collecting subscribers should also be based on your business strategy.
Doing anything simply because everyone else is doing will never reward you in the long run. But if you know why you are doing what you are doing, you can succeed in anything you choose to do. List building is also such an arena where you need to have focus on what you want to achieve.
Therefore, I do not regret when people unsubscribe although I remain focused on adding new people to my list. Instead, I feel happy when an inactive or uninterested subscriber unsubscribes.
List building is definitely an important aspect of online marketing and business development. No one can deny that. However, if someone didn’t gain value from your emails, they probably would never have bought anything from you. Therefore, if that person unsubscribed, it is a sign that you’re releasing dead weight. Be happy about it!
Make It Easy To UnSubscribe
When people want to unsubscribe, it is a bad idea to give them a tough time. The easier you make for them to unsubscribe, the better for your reputation with those people (who want to unsubscribe) and email service providers as well.
AWeber makes it easy for people to opt out because of the “Unsubscribe” link it adds at the end of every email I send. However, I like to add a more visible option in my emails towards the end of my message that reads:
Click here to QUIT Receiving Blog Updates from me effective immediately!
So, if someone wants to quit, I am providing them a prominently visible link to do so and gracefully quit without complaining to me or marking my email as a SPAM. It is good for my reputation and much more professional.
When you make it easy for people to unsubscribe, you can assume that your list consists only of those who are actively interested in what you have to say and who want to hear from you. These subscribers will likely want to pay you one day for a product or a service.
Questions For You
Does fear of people unsubscribing hold you back from writing about the topics that matter to you or your passion? Are you afraid (or have you been afraid in past) of promoting a product or a service on your blog because you want to ensure that people don’t think you are selling something?
Please share your thoughts in the comments section and add value to this post with your experience. Thank you kindly!
I didn’t really focused much on list building from the beginning. But I did place a form that people can add themselves to and download my quotations ebook. I can certainly say that these all are valid points and we must focus on business than just worrying about popularity.
So this is WOW post from you. I really appreciate the idea. Sir, many businesses fail worldwide (85%)just because they are not aware with ‘e’ of email marketing.
You are right, Rishabh. Not knowing “Why I am doing what I am doing” is a major challenge – for any business.
Once again you’ve come up with a great post.
It is reflective of what we should really concern ourselves with, that being a quality list of subscribers in our particular niche.
Have a great weekend!
Thank you Bill. Quality is absolutely important especially when you are paying for it!
I just started working on building up my email list. I have to admit I am a little scared to promote offers. I don’t want people to see me as trying to sell them things. I know that I am subscribed to several email lists and I hate it when people are constantly selling me things.
Great post that motivates to smile even people are unsubscribing 🙂 I don’t have any list for a moment, but I’m sure when I will start doing it, I will be happy with the info that Kumar gives me :)!