Email marketing and attrition

I recently mentioned the concept of building your list “one at a time”. One reason this is important is due to attrition.

People change their email address and forget to notify you. Sometimes they are trying to get rid of spam and sometimes it is a change for a different reason. Bottom line: their email starts bouncing and you lose a subscriber.

A mail box fills up and the email starts bouncing. This can happen for a number of reasons. The reader may be sick or out of town and unable to read his or her email. They intended to stay on your list but it looks they’ve abandoned their email address.

Often readers get fed up dealing with all of their email, and go on mass unsubscribe rampages.

Or they just realize that they aren’t really interest in your product or service.

Whatever the reason, email list attrition is a part of life and there’s nothing you can do about it, most of the time.

To compensate, you must keep adding new readers to your list if you want to at least keep it the same size.

My prior post gave some ideas for doing that.

Build Your List, One at a Time

You should have a sign-up form on your website or blog, and ask for visitors to sign up for your free ezine, weekly tips, or whatever you send to keep in touch with your prospects and customers.

Make it easy for people to sign up. And if you use a professional service like Aweber, the process is pretty automated for you too.

Many sites use a “pop-over”, to force visitors to either enter their email address or close the box. This is something that you will want to test to see if conversion rates are better. It will depend on the market and perhaps on the layout of your site.

Another technique you can use is encouraging your readers to forward your email to friends or colleagues who would enjoy it. Some of them may sign up for your list.

A similar technique employed by some websites is a feature whereby one can send an article, or a link to it, directly from the website to a friend or colleague. Again, this technique should result in more readers added to your list.

The Ezine Queen

If you’re interested in starting your own ezine, one resource you should check out is Alexandra Brown’s site:

http://www.ezinequeen.com

She offers a free 45 minute audio class on starting an ezine, and free articles, weekly tips via email, and paid products.

According to her site, Mark Victor Hansen & Associates said she is one of the top ten direct marketers in the world, so you should definitely check out what she has to say.

The free article section alone looks like a goldmine to me.

I’m not an affiliate (yet) but perhaps I’ll sign up…her stuff looks like the real deal.

Email marketing and sneezers

In his book, Purple Cow, Seth Godin discusses the concept of “sneezers”.

Huh?

“Sneezers” are “experts” who tell all of their friends and colleagues about a new product or service, and are perceived authorities in the area and are therefore influential.

The book is worth reading just for the discussion of “sneezers”.

What relevant does this have for your email marketing campaigns?

Everything.

In fact, email is the perfect medium to capitalize on the “sneezers” tendency to “spread” the virus. Email is so very simple to forward to any number of people, adding one’s own comments. And today, of course, almost everyone has email.

You can understand why the ease of forwarding makes gives email a nudge over paper-based communications in many applications. If you happen to hit a “sneezer” at just the right time, you can have influence far beyond your original prospect list.

These principles should not be restricted to business. I belonged to a service organization that insisted on mailing a monthly newsletter with news and training opportunities. I asked why email was not used, citing the lower cost, instant delivery, and ability to forward. I argued that the newsletter could be much more effective and we could save money at the same time. Predictibly, my concerns fell on deaf ears.

For the service organization to which I belonged, there was not much at stake. But my story illustrates how organizations can get trapped by inertia, doing things the same way they’ve always been done and not taking advantage of new opportunities.

Ezine Advertising Strategies

Here are some ideas to help you as you begin thinking about advertising in ezines.

  • Go Slow. It’s your money, so spend as little as possible in the beginning. You don’t know yet what is going to work.
  • Test. Have mechanisms in place to track the actions of the prospects who view the ad, and commit yourself to doing the testing.
  • Offer to trade advertising space with the ezine owner, if you have your own ezine.
  • Don’t advertise in an ezine until you have read at least a few of the issues. Get on their mailing list. Is the ezine targeted well to your market?
  • If at all possible, collect the names and email addresses of prospects who respond to your ad. They will then become *your* prospects and you can email them according to own schedule.