You need to cultivate this list like tending orchids: treating them to the right amount of sunshine, watering at just the right intervals, giving them extra special food you don’t give any other plants.
So why did I trim my list in half?
I’ve been building my list since 2004 and over those years had more than 14,000 people sign up for it. Note: this is all permission based subscribers—I never add anyone on my own (and neither should you!)
Sounds great, doesn’t it? 14,000+ folks just waiting to hear what’s going on with me every month…except they weren’t.
Nine years is a long time. Email addresses get changed or hacked. People subscribe at work using a company email—and then move on or get new spam filters. Readers move onto other authors and might not be interested in hearing from me anymore (painful to admit, but it happens)
Last year I realized that my open rates had plummeted from over 40% to a mere 10%. Experts will tell you that’s good—in fact, 10% is industry average, but when you’re paying for each email and trying to connect and engage people not just convince them to open your email, it’s not good enough.
And honestly, I missed the interaction and involvement that I’d get after every email. After all, my fans put me on the New York Times list in response to a newsletter I sent, I didn’t want to lose that special connection.
First, I revamped my content, making it less about me and more rewarding for my readers. I began to include interviews, videos, and bonus offers from other authors my readers might enjoy in addition to sharing behind the scene glimpses into my own life and writing.
That led to about 2,000 more subscribers and increased my open rate to 20%
Then I began the long, slow process of clearing out any “dead wood” from the emails. I deleted bounced emails. I also began to monitor open rates and if someone didn’t open one of my newsletters more than four to five times in a row, the equivalent of about six months, I deleted them.
Which cut my list almost in half.
The results? The last three emails I sent had a 55-60% open rate and a 35-40% click-thru rate, with most people clicking on several links as well as sharing with their friends.
Not to mention cutting my costs by 40%
Trimming my email list tripled my opens and click-thrus as well as increasing my readers’ response and saving me money. All in all, a win/win for everyone: myself and my readers.
Sometimes less is more. Where can you get more by cutting back on something in your workflow?