I’ve finally got around to adding an email list to a couple of my niche sites and am slowly adding an autoresponder sequence to them, so that I don’t have to remember to send out emails.

Email lists and I have always had an on again off again relationships, because I am constantly getting told by the ‘gurus’ that the money is in the list – but for me, this never seemed to be true.

Today I want to take you through a mistake that I made that saw me delete an email list with almost 300 people on it, what I was doing wrong and how I went so long without realising I was making a mistake!

Let’s Start At The Beginning…

Before I started my niche site challenge, I already had quite a few blogs and a couple of niche sites, and one of the sites was getting some decent traffic (about 1-2000 visitors a month) and was making me a bit of money through Adsense – with absolutely no work.

I’d done the research well from the beginning and now had totally passive, search engine traffic and I was looking for ways to capitalise on it better.

Now the site was in the ‘Australian franchise’ niche and there were not a whole lot of affiliate products to promote, so I decided that these people are looking for a business – why not try to sell them an online business?

So I got to work creating a 7 day e-course that would take them through a different way to make money online each day.

It was great in concept, and to be honest there were a whole lot of affiliate products for me to choose from (I was using Clickbank) – but there were some fatal flaws.

I Didn’t Have A Problem Getting Subscribers!

Thanks to Popup Domination and the constant flow of search engine visitors I had a steady flow of new subscribers each day who would jump on to day 1 of my course.

In fact I was getting about 5 subscribers each day for the month or so that I ran the popup and I was getting excited because I was sure that my e-course was going to convert into some niche commissions.

… But It Didn’t!

I was checking my Clickbank account on a daily basis and maybe see 1 click each day generated from the autoresponder sequence.

There I was with a list of 270 subscribers that were not converting so I decided enough was enough and turned the popup off and just let it make money with Adsense each month.

Fast Forward 6 Months…

So here we are back to about a week ago and I am looking at a couple of my sites that are doing quite well with traffic and so I decided to give list building another go. I logged into my Aweber account, set up two new lists and put them to work on my niche sites (no free ebooks or courses, just ‘signup for updates’).

One of my lists started converting like crazy (8-15 subscribers a day, from just a sidebar opt-in) and so I created a couple of emails for the start of an autoresponder series and today I decided I wanted to see how the emails were being received.

The problem was that although I knew how to check my click through rate (CTR) on a broadcast email, I had no idea to check up on the individual emails in a follow-up series – so I did some digging in Google and found this post on Awebers Blog. So I followed its instructions into the ‘Reports’ tab in Aweber, and was confronted with this graph:

graph1 Why I Ditched An Email List Of Almost 300 PeopleIt may look a little confusing so let me break it down:

  • The List Has 84 People On It
  • The First Follow Up Message Has Been Opened 64 times and Click 33 times
  • The Second Follow Up Message Has Been Opened 36 times and Click 35 times

There is a lot more you can read into that graph, but for me, it means I’m getting a decent open and click through rate.

We will come back to this email list for some more stats, but I want to jump back to the first list that I have up on and show you the same chart for that list (and see if you can work out the problem!)

Graph For Franchise Site Follow Up Sequence:

graph2 Why I Ditched An Email List Of Almost 300 People
The last line of the graph says it all, but I never took the time to check my stats.

  • 2,036 Emails Sent
  • 177 Opens
  • 45 Clicks

And That It Why It Wasn’t Making Me Money!

Where Did I Go Wrong?

To be honest I went wrong in quite a few different areas (especially even considering a list in the ‘make money online’ niche), but the one thing I did that instantly set me up for failure was:

I was focused on selling instead of educating!

If you looked at the ways I set up the course, each email was focused on selling people a product that they had to pay for.

I know that I personally never open these emails – so I don’t know why I expected other people too.

People don’t want to feel used, that they are just another number that will hopefully result in someone making some money. They sign up for an email list because they want information – they want to learn. So your job as a list owner is to feed and nurture their knowledge increasing journey.

This is something I took into account with this latest list, where my follow up emails structure is:

  • Focus On Content
  • Link To Related/Popular Articles On Your Site
  • Use HTML Emails (Pretty Looking – I Use ThemeForest For Email Templates)
  • Include Advertisements (Both Text & Image – Linking To Affiliate Programs)

Let’s Take A Look At The Click Breakdown For One Of My Follow Up Emails

Here is a graph for the second follow up message that has been opened 36 times and clicked 35 times:

graph3 Why I Ditched An Email List Of Almost 300 PeopleThat is right, I have 9 separate links in this email!

My goal was 3 fold:

  • Keep people learning with the content of my email
  • Link them back to articles on my site (more Adsense income)
  • Have them click on the advertisements and hopefully buy something.

But Isn’t My Focus To Make Money?

A lot of you will probably look at the above pie chart and the fact that the majority of my clicks are going back to articles on my site and start wondering about leakage – because most of us are taught that we need to funnel our list into clicking on our affiliate links. BUT, I see it a different way.

  • No Use Constantly Pitching Products If You Are Going To Burn Your List After The First Couple Of Emails
  • Why Not Focus On Educating And Let The Reader Decide When They Are Ready To Purchase Anything (affiliate link)

Do this and you will not only have a much more responsive email list, but you will also make a lot more money in the long run – because your subscribers will hang around.

So after all that, I went back to my initial list and just deleted the whole thing from my Aweber account, because there is no use paying for subscribers who are not reading your emails.

What Have You Learn’t From Your Email Lists?

Enough about me and my sites. I’d love to hear some of your stories about email lists and the things that you have learnt (both good and bad).

I personally use Aweber for my email lists, and I used their on board reports to generate the above graphs.

If you are looking for a company to handle your email lists then I can highly recommend them, and if you sign up, they will only charge you $1 for your first month – which gives you a chance to get started.