All email addresses are not created equal…
However, what happens after you did convince a visitor to give up their email address in exchange for whatever it is you are offering, but the email address they provide is not real?
Or they simply get your freebie and never open another email from you?
Sure, a subscribers’ list is the backbone of any successful online business.
Sure, the bigger it is the better.
I am all for building a huge email list.
But I’d much rather have a smaller, but very active list that loves getting my emails, reads them, click on the links, and graces me with affiliate sales occasionally.
When a Big List Is Not a Good Thing
1. It hurts your sales.
One of the main reasons an email list is the bread and butter for so many businesses is the ability to monetize those lists.
After all, the people who got on your list already expressed their desire to hear from you.
As you continue to send out value-packed emails, they’ll trust you, like you, and won’t mind seeing an occasional product recommendation from you.
However, that will only happen if there’s someone on the receiving end of your emails, and dead or fake or unattended email accounts don’t make the cut.
2. It hurts your deliverability rate.
Deliverability is the percentage of all emails that actually get to your recipients’ inboxes.
The higher the deliverability, the fewer emails are returned to you after each mailing.
The autoresponder service that I use, Aweber, boasts deliverability rates exceeding 99%.
However, no matter how good your autoresponder is, YOUR deliverability rate could be much lower than that.
Internet Service Providers (ISPs) are starting to pay more and more attention to reader engagement when they decide whether to deliver your email or not.
So if your list is full of unresponsive email addresses, your deliverability rate will be a lot lower.
Also email addresses from known disposable email address services will also hurt your deliverability.
3. It hurts your pockets.
If the two points above hadn’t convinced you yet, then maybe this one will.
Most email autoresponder services charge you by the number of subscribers you have, whether active, unsubscribed, or undeliverable.
For instance, with Aweber your monthly investment for:
- up to 500 subscribers is only $19;
- 501 – 2,500 – $10 more;
- 2,501 – 5,000 – $30 more;
Keeping your list clean and lean will ensure that you are not paying for a bunch of dead email addresses.
How to Fight Back
Let’s look at the ways you can build a huge AND responsive list.
1. Don’t offer a freebie.
Do the opposite of what I do, in other words.
If you ask your readers to simply subscribe to a newsletter, those who subscribe understand that it’s more of a long-term commitment and the only reason they’ll unsubscribe or stop opening your newsletters is if they are that boring.
2. Exclusive emails.
Keep it interesting. Don’t send the same stuff to your list as what you publish on your blog.
Make it more exclusive and your subscribers are much more likely to stick around.
3. Exclusive giveaways.
Promise (and deliver) an exclusive giveaway to your list subscribers only.
For best results, do it on a monthly basis.
I am adding a giveaway to a free blog audit that will be published on my blog as a benefit to being on my list for example, so if you are interested, be sure to subscribe.
4. Use double opt-in.
This is a great way to combat fake email addresses and sift out those who are not really interested to begin with.
The basic idea behind a double opt-in is requesting your new subscribers to confirm their interest in receiving your emails – all done automatically via your autoresponder.
Only AFTER they click on that confirmation link will they be given access to your download page.
In order to set up a double (also referred to as “confirmed“) opt-in in Aweber, go under List Settings and click on Confirmed Opt-In field.
Then make sure the green ON button is… well, on.
Requiring a double opt-in will also provide you with proof that someone opted in and have fewer spam complaints.
Important to know: Aweber will store unconfirmed opt-ins for 30 days and then will automatically delete them, which is great.
However, if you are getting close to being charged an additional fee for storing more subscribers, it pays to delete them manually.
I think about a week is plenty enough to give someone to confirm their subscription, but it’s up to you, of course.
To delete the unconfirmed addresses in Aweber, go into Subscribers tab and perform the following search:
That way you make sure you don’t delete anyone who simply didn’t have a chance to open your confirmation request.
5. Monitor your list.
No matter what you do, some email addresses will go inactive or some people will simply stop opening your emails – alas.
The best way to check for such inactive subscribers is to do the following search:
Let me explain what I did here:
- Out of all subscribers, I chose the “no opens” option and set the date almost 1.5 months ago – to be on the safe side. Basically that means that this particular group of people hasn’t opened a single email for over a month. Of course, you can be much more conservative here.
- Then I added another segment “date added” to make sure I excluded all fresh subscribers who simply might not have had a chance to confirm their subscription yet.
VERY important to know:
The way Aweber tracks open rates is by placing a one-pixel image in each email.
If a user has images disabled, that image won’t be displayed, and an open won’t be recorded for that user.
That’s why my Aweber email template says what it says at the top:
If you’d like to know how to customize your emails to match your site and brand, take a look at my email newsletter templates tutorial (can be applied to most autoresponders).
Now that you have potentially identified those subscribers who don’t seem to open their emails, you have a choice: cut them loose or give them a second chance.
You can choose to send them an email that urges them to open it first of all (with the subject line like “Open this email to show me you are alive!”), and then ask them to enable their images so that you know that they actually want to stay on your list.
Wait to see who shows up as an open and remove the rest.
When it comes down to list building, you CAN have your pie and eat it too.
Huge AND responsive email list – here we come!
If you enjoyed this post, please share it!
Start Your Own Email Marketing List for Only $1.00
If you haven’t started building your list yet, let me tell you – you are missing out big time.
My list is the number one reason I make the money I make with this blog and have such an engaged readership.
Aweber is the best email autoresponder I have even used, and I am not the only one. Many A-list bloggers I know also use it for their businesses.
All the features I just mentioned are just one tiny example of what you can do to improve your email marketing with Aweber.
Aweber offers a $1 trial month for all new customers. You’ll have access to all features a paid account is entitled to: unlimited lists, email campaigns, automatic follow-ups, broadcasts, and many, many more.
If after 30 days you don’t like them, just let them know and Aweber will give you your $1 back. Guaranteed.