Whether you have a big list or are just getting started, the health of your list will make the difference between being profitable or not.
How many times have you heard “the money is in the list!”?
A thousand times or more if you are like most of us.
When people say “the money is in the list” what exactly do they mean?
While I can’t tell you what they mean, I can tell you what it means to me.
You should be earning at least $1 per subscriber every month.
If your list is healthy, that is very achievable, no matter what niche you work in or whether you “love to write” or are a “big name”.
But how can you know if your list is healthy and should achieve these numbers?
Here are the five signs of a healthy mailing list.
1 – A Healthy List Engages
What is engagement?
While there are many possible definitions, here is mine.
Engagement means the people on your list do the things you ask them to do.
When you are doing email marketing well, you will ask your subscribers to do a great many things such as …
- Open your emails
- Read your emails
- Click the links in your emails
- Reply to the email and provide feedback
- Forward the emails to their friends
- Follow you on Facebook
- Retweet something you share
- Connect on LinkedIn
- Comment on your blog posts
- And more
Of course you don’t ask them to do ALL of this in one email!
But over time you will want them to do each of these things.
When the people on your list are doing these things regularly you know you have a healthy list.
INSIDER TIP: Check that list and make sure you are asking the people on your list to do these things.
Many people don’t get this level of engagement simply because they forget to ask!
2 – A Healthy List Grows
Anyone who has a list wants it to grow. Especially if they understand the profit formula I shared above.
But how to do you get your list to grow?
There are two methods that work very well.
- Focused list building.
- Natural list building.
Focused list building is exactly what it sounds like. You are focusing on building your list during a particular period.
Focused list building includes things like …
- Creating massively valuable lead magnets.
- Buying solo ads and sending that traffic to a squeeze page.
- Boosting a list-building content-rich post on Facebook.
- Swapping solo ad space with other list owners.
- Buying pay per click traffic for list building.
- Using co-registration to build your list.
- And more.
The reason I say you do this “during a particular period” is that it’s hard to maintain this level of focus for very long.
Then there is natural list building.
Natural list building means optimizing your list building using things that are already happening.
You do natural list building every day of every year.
Natural list building includes things like …
- Optimizing your blog posts for list building.
- Adding a list building form under your author’s box.
- Organizing your home page to include list building.
- Using targeted popups on exit to build your list.
- Putting your opt in form on other peoples’ pages.
- Using strategically placed banner ads to build your list.
- Adding list building to your profiles on all social sites.
- And more.
In the beginning of your email marketing journey all of your list building will be very focused. After all, you are just starting out!
You don’t yet have 30,000 or 50,000 or 100,000 visitors a month to your blog.
You don’t yet have the organic reach that comes with high SEO positioning or being interviewed or owning your own membership site.
But those things will come if you persist!
That’s why over time you want to add in natural list building too.
In fact, natural list building will become your #1 method of building a highly responsive list!
The reason for this is that many people (some say most people) want to know more about you BEFORE they join your list.
This is why content marketing is so powerful.
Nothing builds trust and likability like content marketing.
3 – A Healthy List Refers
Ryan Deiss said something brilliant … “A happy customer naturally refers you to others. You really don’t have to ask.”
He is 100% right.
If your customers, or subscribers, are not referring you to others then it’s time to up your game!
- Provide more value.
- Post more often.
- Answer more questions.
- Help them achieve their goals faster.
Please understand, I am not saying you are not working hard enough. But I am saying this …
The free line today is higher than it has ever been. And it will get higher still!
The “free line” means the value of the freebie you offer people for joining your list.
In my own business, I am raising the free line by offering a completely free membership.
Where I would have offered a mini-course (and still do) taking the time to build an entire membership site for the purpose of list building has proven to be very profitable.
I’ve had consulting clients say they don’t believe in list building and using a squeeze page because it did not work for them.
Once I learn more I usually discover that their lead magnet was not strong enough.
When I mention this, and they push back a little, I will say this …
How many people could you get on your list if your lead magnet was a free $100 bill?
Once they see the logic, they raise the value of their lead magnet and begin building and profiting from a list.
For the record, I am NOT saying your lead magnet needs to cost you $100.
I AM saying that delivering $100 worth of true value will build your list like crazy!
How will you know if your list is referring others?
You will receive emails saying things like “Gerry mentioned you to me” or “I heard about you from SFM”.
We get 3 to 6 of these almost every day. It’s how we measure our results.
4 – A Healthy List Buys
You are not building a list for fun, or to make friends, or to share valuable content.
You are building a list to make money on some level.
There is nothing wrong with that. In fact, there is everything right about it.
Selling things is how capitalism works.
As long as you are transparent about it, and commit to permission-based marketing, you will do very well indeed.
As you can see, even the Red Cross builds their list.
Why do people who have a list not make sales from it? After analyzing this for many clients, I believe there are these reasons.
- They never ask. They just assume people who need something will buy it. This happens SO often!
- They ask too much. You have a list to make money but people join your list for another reason. Honor that reason and you will sell more.
- They pitch more than they teach. If you send content out more often than offers you will sell more.
All of this, and much more, can be found inside my Breathing Method teaching.
How will you know if people are buying from your emails?
Many people add up their sales, divide that number by how many people are on their list, and think they have the answer.
But they are mistaken.
The key is to track ONLY the sales that come from a link originally clicked in an email.
Only then can you know the truth.
Only then can you avoid confusing one source of traffic with another source.
Almost any good ad tracker, and many better autoresponders, have this feature built in.
I use and recommend ActioneticsMD (part of Clickfunnels) which does have this built in.
5 – A Healthy List Asks
And finally, a healthy list asks for help, advice, support, and guidance.
It is always important to remember that your list is made up of people.
And people have needs.
- They get confused.
- They feel afraid.
- They need advice.
- They want solutions.
- They need guidance.
- They want specific recommendations.
Most of all, they need someone to hear them and to give them honest answers.
While replying to questions from the people on your list is not strictly necessary to financial success with a list … it is required if you want to actually serve the people on your list.
When you do answer, avoid the temptation to make your answer for them to buy another product from you.
If you help them the sales will come and real relationship will develop.
If you sell to them when they are down and needing help you might make sales but you won’t make much else.
And you will have missed an opportunity more valuable than words alone can convey.
Whether you have a list of 100,000 subscribers or 10 subscribers, your list health should matter to you.
Use these five measurements to evaluate the health of your list.
Write them down and take a measure of your list every month from the perspective of these five criteria.
If you do that you will not only build your list, and build your income, but you will help people and develop true relationships that go beyond just exchanging a product for some money.
And that is a beautiful thing indeed!