Anyone who has ever heard anything about Internet Marketing has heard, “The money is in the list.” The list refers to the number of email subscribers to your newsletter you have. Although email list building is important, it’s not nearly as important as the Internet Marketers claim.
Is the money really in the list?
Observe that, “The money is in the list,” is almost always followed by claims of how they built a list and wouldn’t you like to learn their secret? For $2,000 per head you can attend their online seminar on list building.
Let’s do some math.
What is a good sized mailing list?
A nice list is 10,000. “Join my 25,000 other subscribers,” when written by other than a few guys, is bullshit. In Internet Marketing parlance they are using social proof. (How can 50,000 other email subscribers be wrong!?) I call this lying.
Look at it this way. My list is 3,200. I’ve posted my traffic before. Where are guys with sites smaller than mine getting 25,000 emails from? Sure, you can add people to your list with each book sale, but how many guys selling 20,000 books at $20 or $30 each? That’s $400,000 to $600,000 in eBook sales.
Some people run campaigns to build lists, but when you look at click and conversation rates (see below), you see that those lists are unimpressive.
When in doubt about a claim, stop to do the math. Always do the math. The kind of math you learned in grade school can help you cut through the lies and bullshit.
A big list is 50,000. A monster list is 100,000.
The list size doesn’t matter.
Open rate, click rate, and conversion rate all matter more than the list size. What good is a monster list if no one is reading your emails, clicking onto your webpage, or buying your product?
You’ve no doubt heard people argue that steady-state cardio is superior to high intensity internal training because, “You burn a greater percentage of calories from fat while doing steady-state cardio.”
That’s sloppy thinking, however, as percentages don’t matter. Absolute numbers matter. If I burn 500 calories doing HIIT and only 50% of those are from fat, have I not burned more fat than burning 99% of 250 calories burned during steady-state cardio?
Vulture Venture Capitalists say when trying to steal buy your company, “After this deal you’ll have 1% of your company left over. 1% of $10 million is more than 100% of $0.”
The money is not in the list. The money is in your website.
I hired a guy to help me with Danger & Play and the forthcoming release of Gorilla Mindset. My guy is fantastic and a pleasure to work with. His thinking is different than mine.
He said that a rough calculation of book sales is 1% of your list. Right now my list is around 3,000. It will be around 5,000 by the time Gorilla Mindset launches. Therefore, we can expect to sell approximately 50 copies of Gorilla Mindset.
If I only sell 500 copies of Gorilla Mindset, I will delete Danger & Play, as obviously the site is a waste of my time and yours.
He doesn’t think I’ll see as many books as I believe I will, due to the difference between our backgrounds. He’s used to an industry where people join mailing lists for freebies and then delete emails, report them as spam, and otherwise ignore the non-stop sell-sell-sell.
For example, my newsletter open rate is over 50% and the click rate is around 20%. Those are shockingly high numbers in the Internet Marketing community, although I bet many of you with you own websites have numbers closer to mine than to the “industry average.”
What’s the industry average for an email list click rate and open rate?
Let’s say you have 100,000 list. That is a monster list. That is a Frank Kern sized list. It’s huge.
Industry open rate is 20%. So 20,000 people have seen your email. Cool.
Click rate is 3%. 3,000 people have visited your website. Not bad.
Conversion rate is 1%. Ouch.
Become a content creator, not a list builder.
Now let’s use an analogy. A email list of 100,000 people would be equal to a blog that receives 3,000 visitors. Danger & Play receives way more than 3,000 people daily.
Now some will observe that an Internet Marketer’s list is more targeted or whatever. They would also note that there’s a difference between a prospect list (people who have never bought anything from you) and a client list (list of people who have bought from you).
Those are fair points, to be sure. That said, they would need a monster email list to get as many people to read their content as read Danger & Play each and every day.
Remember, to get 3,000 visitors at a 3% conversion rate, you need to send out an email to 100,000 people. Every time. (And with each email you’ll get unsubscribes, spam reports, and a shrinking list.)
To get 3,000 visitors, I only need to hit “Publish.”
Instead of running around talking about how the money is in the list, focus on creating awesome content that can’t be found anywhere else.
Then you won’t have the run the Internet Marketing rat race of building your list, losing subscribers, and rebuilding your list.
When you create unique content, people find you.
If the money is not in the list, why am I building a list?
Given that I don’t think email lists are (that) important, why am I building mine? That seems contradictory of me, doesn’t it?
1. People find Danger & Play and can’t remember the name.
That happens more often than you’d think. It’s happened to me. Sometimes you have multiple tabs open and forget what you were doing.
Or you’re reading a website while at work. The bossman comes in, you close the browser, and forget where you were.
2. It gives me a way to solicit reader feedback from thousands of people.
99% of readers will never post a comment. People who will never post a comment are often perfectly willing to reply to an email.Some of the best posts and podcasts are the result of responses to email newsletters.
3. You’re busy.
Let’s be real. Danger & Play is a great site. But you have other things going on in your life. Sometimes you need reminded that I exist.
4. Data mining.
I’m able to see what posts are popular based on open rates and click rates. This lets me give you more of what you want to see.
5. It keeps me flexible.
If I get into a car crash or something and have to shutter D&P for a while, I can send an email out announcing my new project.
Don’t believe everything you read online.
If people had the secrets to making millions of dollars online, why would they sell it at $1,500 a course rather than use it themselves?
In fact, why would they sell you a course at $1,500 rather than take equity in your company? If I could build you a hugely successful website, I sure as hell would charge you more than $1,500. I’d want a piece of the action.
Internet Marketing is full of vultures and parasites. Check their claims. Always do the math.