How Much Email to Send and Other Cool List Tips

There’s a lot of conversation that goes on about the ideal amount of emails to send to your subscribers.  All lists are different, but I’d like to share some of my experiences.

Before getting to my tips below, I want share a link to an interesting article from Business Week.  The article goes over the kick ass email marketing strategies deployed by the Obama campaign team.  Love the guy or hate the guy, his campaign team was on the ball.  Here’s a quote from the article:

“Fortunately for Obama and all political campaigns that will follow, the tests did yield one major counter intuitive insight: Most people have a nearly limitless capacity for e-mail and won’t unsubscribe no matter how many they’re sent.

Now, here are some things I have learned over the years through experience and testing.

  1. The less emails I send, the more unsubscribes I get.  This sounds like it is a backwards statement, but it’s not.  When I send emails everyday, my complaints and unsubscribes are barely in existence, however, if I wait a week or two between emails, they shoot through the roof.
  2. Strange, but true: I get record amounts of unsubscribes when I send freebies.  I have even split tested this.  I once segmented my list into two categories.  The first received a link to download a great system for free.  The second segment was asked to pay $7 for the same system.  The freebie email resulted in 38 unsubscribes, while the $7 email resulted in just two unsubscribes – and a bunch of money in my pocket.
  3. Instead of “freebies”, I sometimes make “honor offers”.  This is where I include a download link for a product and write something like, “If you like it, click to purchase it here.  If you don’t, please delete from your harddrive.”  This sounds kind of cheesy, but it results in a lot of sales and very few complaints and unsubscribes, unlike traditional freebies.
  4. Name dropping rarely works.  A lot of the marketers that I admire may not be known to my subscribers.  Whenever I drop the name of a well known marketer, my conversions are lower.  Assuming they know who you are talking about just doesn’t work.  They are on YOUR list, because they respect YOU and YOUR opinions, so keep it at that.  If there is an awesome product that you are recommending, keep the name of the person out of it.
  5. The one exception to the entry above is when you are talking about somebody uber famous.  Two of my most opened emails had the titles, “Obama does this on his website” and “Frank Kern does this”.
  6. Try to be interactive with your subscribers.  Don’t just send out emails telling about your blog posts or affiliate offers.  Pose a question to your list and give a link where they can answer it, i.e. a blog or Facebook post.  The more conversational I get about an offer I am promoting, the better conversions I get.
  7. My lists seem to like it when they get to know me a little.  I try and let them in on my private life from time to time.  For example, a picture of my daughter on FaceBook and an email asking for likes.  Don’t overdo it, though.  I have seen marketers tell their subscribers all of their personal problems.  In very rare cases that works, but for the most part, it doesn’t.  People have their own problems and they don’t need to hear yours.  Instead, they would rather live vicariously through somebody that has a better life than them, especially when you are giving them the motivation to bring their own life to that level.
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