You have spent a lot of time and money building your newsletter subscriber list to watch it go up in flames before your very eyes. What a painful experience it is to make a marketing error in the hopes of making a quick buck, but e-mail newsletter marketers are making this mistake for the first and probably last time every day.
What I am talking about is sharing your subscriber list with someone else who tells you they will give you a handsome return for everyone who buys their products or services. What I am not necessarily talking about is giving them your list. I am talking about letting yourself be talked into sending the exclusive e-mail for them.
When I send out my newsletter two or more times per month, I usually see about one to four unsubscribed from my list. There are usually the people who signed up to get the free e-book, and really did not want to receive a newsletter in the first place. I am OK with that. I know that you can’t please everyone all the time.
To illustrate what I am talking about, I will tell you a story about the first and last time I shared my list.
At the time I had been working hard to build it, I had about 3700 e-mail addresses in the list. A friend knew this and made me quite an attractive offer. If I would send out an e-mail that he composed, exactly as written, with his carefully researched subject line, he would give me a hundred dollars for everyone who registered for his program.
I was excited about the prospect of the cash and besides I needed a bit at the time, so I agreed. When he sent me the e-mail I about passed out. The subject line was borderline slanderous of an author and speaker who was very popular at the time. Of course that subject line was designed to get a reaction and make people read the e-mail. I will admit upon watching the metrics of reads, it did get a lot of people to read it.
Then they began to unsubscribe, in droves. In fact I lost about a third of my list.
Why was this? It was because I violated the one thing that was most sacred in e-mail newsletter marketing – TRUST.
I had promoted my list as a newsletter, not as an ad spamming list. The people who had signed up wanted the information I had promised, not a squeeze page ad for a second rate real estate seminar.
For months I continued to receive the e-mails asking to be removed from my list. Each time I did as asked with great feelings of dread that I had agreed to send the e-mail in the first place.
Did I make any money from the mailing? Of course, but it in no way was equal to the cost of losing a third of my list, it had taken a lot of effort to build it. Those that I lost are all people who I can never send to again, unless of course they subscribe again for some reason.
Once you lose the trust of people on your list, you may as well put a spark to gasoline as you watch your list go up in flames because you have burned your subscribers and damaged the credibility of your offering. I am not sure of how many actually began deleting without reading from that point on.
The ultimate test came when over two years ago I switched to an online auto responder service. I added my database of about 2700 to the service. I had to request that those on my list re-subscribe. Of the 2700 I had left, only about 700 signed up on the new list.
That means that of the two thousand I lost, perhaps not one of them were even reading the newsletter any longer.
Since then, I have learned that any marketing except my own can only be accepted as a paid advertisement located within the newsletter, surrounded by real information that is useful to my subscribers. The information they asked for when they trusted me with their e-mail address.
It is easy to be tempted to try to convert your list into cash, but the ultimate result of sharing your list will be the loss of the subscribers you worked so hard for. Maintain and earn the trust and respect of your list and it will continue to grow, violate that trust and you will experience what it is like to take one step forward and three steps back.