So many companies out there take their precious email lists and abuse it. Those lists only grow because of a ridiculous “content trickery” strategy where you give away a near-useless piece of content for the right to spam folks. Usually they shrink because prospects who register are really only interested in a free download.

Short term sales at the cost of high unsub rates rule the day and too many companies make this sacrifice. Too many companies are okay with taking their list of names and hammering all the blood (money) out of it they can.

I know the allure of looking at it purely from a numbers standpoint. Open rates. Clicks. Unsubscribes. Revenue. On the short term it’s easy to say that frequent mailing of revenue-generating content that is poorly crafted but sells can help meet quarterly goals. But that is not a plan that sets your business up for long term success. That is not a plan that most companies should be proud of.

It’s NOT okay to trade a handful of sales for a 19% unsubscribe rate.

I can honestly tell you that it’s more important to have 100 engaged readers than it is to have 10,000 “records” who think you’re just spam. 100 engaged readers is a long term plan for your business. Building more engaged readers is a long term plan for your business. You can build and grow 100 engaged readers into 1,000 or 10,000 with patience and hard work.

Long Term Strategy vs Short Term Strategy

A short term email strategy is to milk every last cent out of your list for short term sales. Some companies even thrive on generating revenue from email list churn. But that’s not a sustainable strategy for building a legit business.

A long term strategy is to build a list through engaged opt-ins. Offer useful, interesting, relevant and free content (with no ask). And then periodically ask for something in return. You’ve given  51%, for the return of 49%. Your prospects are advocates of your business. They are eager to support you. Happy and engaged “real” people that you helped. And they offer long term value for your business.

Jab vs Right Hook

As Gary Vaynerchuk says in his book “Jab, Jab, Jab, Right Hook: How to Tell Your Story in a Noisy Social World“ it’s important to offer significant value to your prospects (jab) before you ever put out an ask (right hook). That means you intent to engage them. Put out valuable content. Content that actually helps people without ever asking for a cent. Content that is specific to your audience. Content that they have signed up to receive. And you do this over and over. And you’re patient. And you understand there is a payoff eventually. Then you ask.

The ask is typically related to all the engaging content you’ve just been talking about.

Real People vs Mail List

The fact is your email list is made up of people. People who have businesses and jobs and families and goals. Flogging them in the head with mail volume and salesy messages over and over again fulfills a short term need but is not a sustainable business practice. Treat the people on your list as people rather than a number on a list.

It’s important to understand the following:

  1. Your number one goal with your list is to create interest and engage your email list over time
  2. Your second goal is to consider monetizing that list appropriately, once a rapport has been established

This strategy will lead to a long term plan that can help your business build an engaged mailing list that, with patience and hard work, will help your bottom line.