They say that the money is in “The List”.
I am sure this has been drilled into you time and time again.
This is a common phrase that has been regurgitated by internet marketers and bloggers for as long as I can remember. I have said the phrase myself in many articles in which I explained why everyone should be growing their email list.
The truth is that the money is not in the list; at least not for me.
Before I move on I need to clarify one thing. I am not saying email marketing cannot be effective. I am saying that email marketing has never been effective for me. Moving forward I want to focus more on my strengths and email marketing has never been one of them.
Please watch the above video to hear my thoughts on this issue. Read on if you would prefer to read about my thoughts instead. :)
A History of Inexecution
I probably sent my first mass email around 2001 as that is when I first launched an internet forum. All forum software had an option for sending out an email to your members. Additional features such as a monthly newsletter were also available.
When I got into blogging years later I started my own email list. A proper email list, if you will, where all subscribers had opted in to receive emails.
Like most bloggers, I baited subscribers with free stuff. I gave away free eBooks, free WordPress themes, and free graphical resources. I would then send emails every now and then to promote a long blog post or something I was launching.
The problem was that I was not consistent. I would email my subscribers one week, but it could be weeks or even months before I emailed again. Over time the list would become less responsive because of this. In fact, it was not uncommon for people who double opted into my email list to ask how they got on my list.
A good email list sends good content to subscribers. Good content was never something that I ever provided. I always thought it was better to publish original content on my blog so that the world could read it rather than only send it to a handful of people.
I am not sure if you would call it a success, though the email lists for my older blogs BloggingTips and WP Mods did ok. At the very least the click through rates justified the expense of maintaining the list.
It is a different story with this blog. Despite maintaining an email list on this blog for several years, it has never really paid off. Click through rates got lower and lower because I hardly ever emailed the list I was maintaining. I also removed subscribers from my email list who were not reading my emails.
It's Time to Move On
Last year I drastically cut my email marketing costs by switching from GetResponse to Sendy. Whilst GetResponse charges a monthly fee, Sendy costs a one off fee of $59 and once it is setup you can send emails using Amazon SES from only $0.10 per 1,000.
I noticed a few months ago that some subscribers were reporting my emails as spam to Amazon. I didn't think too much of it at the time as this happens from time to time in email marketing campaigns, but an email from Amazon saying that I would be banned from sending emails certainly grabbed my attention.
Closer inspection revealed that around ten thousand spam registrations had been added to my email list. I need to accept some responsibility for this as I hadn't added a CAPTCHA field to my newsletter form.
I spent a few hours looking at what happened and how I can resolve the issue. I also looked at stats. The stats showed that even without the spam registrations, most people on my email list were not opening the emails I was sending. The chances are that they were getting sent to the spam folder.
Then I had a lightbulb moment.
I realised something that I should have realised many years ago.
This email list is a waste of my time. It has been for year.
I was spending hours trying to fix something that doesn't help me or my online endeavours.
I have known for a long time that my email list was not that effective, but this really opened my eyes as to what I was doing. It's time to move on and accept that email marketing is not going to be part of my long term strategy and focus my time on more important tasks.
What Steps Have I Taken?
Since I no longer need to collect email addresses, I had to change some things on my website.
The first thing I did was remove the newsletter field from my blog sidebar. A box for subscribing to my blog and getting updates of blog posts via email remains. This is the subscriptions feature available in the Jetpack plugin by Automattic.
My newsletter was replaced with a new subscription page that contains the same subscription form that is displayed on my blog sidebar. The link to the newsletter page in the navigation menu has been replaced with a link to this subscription page too.
What Say You?
For the foreseeable future I do not see email marketing being necessary for my blog or for Rise Forums as I can connect to people through blog posts, through YouTube videos, and through forum posts.
Perhaps in time I will need to start an email list again for another project. If I were to launch an online store or develop a product it would be different. Time will tell whether I try get involved in email marketing again.
I hope you have all enjoyed this blog post. As always, I would love to hear your thoughts on this issue so please take the time to leave a comment below if you can.