Issue #364

Sent to members on November 8, 2021

The Costs Of Email Marketing

Let’s talk about your email list. And some things that have been happening and how it applies to your own email list.

If you’ve been around a little while, much of this won’t be new to you. But, it can still get the juices flowing, perhaps.

See, I’ve been around awhile now online. I’ve been running an online business for over 20 years now. And, for the longest time, it was always stuff like…

“The money is in the list!”

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And you’d see and hear internet marketers bragging about the size of their list. And, since that percolates down, you’d see the general mindset of…. “the bigger your list, the more money you make”.

But, things have changed.

Bigger isn’t always better.

Not only that, I think the scene of email marketing PLATFORMS is shifting here.

Most all hosted email list services charge more the bigger your list is. In fact, many of them have billing tiers and, once the size of your list crosses to the next tier, you see a pretty substantial increase in your monthly bill.

ConvertKit is a pretty popular email platform. And, you look at their pricing page and it looks to start at just $9/month. But, the amount of subscribers you get for that is puny. It very quickly jumps up to $29/month. One you go over 1,000 subscribers, it jumps to $49. Then, $79…. $99. If you grow up to 10K subscribers, you’re paying $119/month.

So, this is like a tax on email list growth.

You WANT to increase your email list, but doing so costs you more money.

Now, if you’re smart, this isn’t a huge bother. After all, if you’re actually using your list, you should have no issues at all making way more than your hosting costs.

But, here’s the thing…

Size isn’t really what’s important.

After all, if you’re sending out 1,000 emails but only 200 of them get seen, then it is just like having a list of only 200 people.

What about the other 800?

Those emails are still getting delivered. But, people don’t really see them. Those emails are getting caught by the filters. They’re getting thrown into the “Promo” tab, or put into folders, and rarely get seen.

Yet those emails are still costing YOU money!

I’ve seen this referred to as “grey mail”. You can call it whatever you wish, but it is basically the chunk of your email list that you pay for and send, but just kinda gets filtered out so they don’t see it.

The big corporations that own and manage the big email services are the gatekeepers. We’re talking Google, Hotmail, Yahoo, etc. These company use machine learning and the massive amount of data they have across their entire service to monitor email and see what people are engaging with. And if a lot of people are not engaging with emails from certain senders, those senders are MUCH more likely to end up in the promo tab.

And most people never check the Promo tab.

So, what they’re keeping track of is ENGAGEMENT on your emails. Namely…

Are the opening it? And, are they clicking on it? Are they replying to it?

And if you keep on sending emails to people who are not opening or clicking on emails, two things are happening….

1. You’re hurting your own delivery rates because you’re “training” the gatekeepers that people tend to ignore emails you send.

2. You keep over-paying for your email list because you’re still paying for those subscribers! Which means…. you’re PAYING to HURT your own delivery rates!

That doesn’t sound smart now, does it? 😇

On social media, most people know how important engagement is. But, it is equally (if not more) important when it comes to your emails.

Just because they’re on your list doesn’t mean they are paying any attention. Hell, it doesn’t even mean they ever SEE the email to begin with.

So, the answer should be obvious…

Routine purging of your email list.

As much as it pains you to delete subscribers, you’re actually helping yourself bigtime by doing it.

Choose a timeframe. I’d say 90 days is as long as you want to go. 60 would be better… and if you want to be REALLY good, you can do it at 30 days.

And if subscribers go that timeframe without engaging with you, you really owe it to yourself and all your engaged subscribers to remove them from your list.

Purge the people who don’t pay attention. And focus on the ones who do. THAT’S your real audience, anyway. The rest of them didn’t really care.

I know it’s hard… but try not to even take it personally. I know it is easy to be disappointed that people don’t seem to care what you’re saying. Especially if you were paying advertising costs to get them on the list to begin with. But… it just is what it is.

In the real world, people move on. They were passers-by. It is OK. That’s life.

Oh, and don’t rely on open rates. Opens are really unreliable. In many cases, the open tracking is blocked anyway. So, you want to mostly rely on clicks. Get them to CLICK on links. At least once in your chosen timeframe.

Now, speaking of your email platform…

I definitely see the options changing. And I think the notion of self-hosting your email list is growing in popularity.

As you may know, I recently switched to FluentCRM. And in fact, just last week, I officially hit the cancel button on my Drip account.

Felt weird. 😵‍💫

I was on a grandfathered rate that isn’t public anymore, but even then I was paying $1490/year for my list. My new cost will be almost nothing.

Because, when you self-host your list, there’s no growth tax.

Whether you have 100 subscribers or 100,000 subscribers, the cost of hosting the list is the same.

I think this is a great way to go. And I know I have a lot of members here who are quite conscious of their email list hosting bills. Switching to an “in house” platform such as FluentCRM solves that problem.

I’m also helping several clients switch over to FluentCRM right now. One client I’m helping right now is literally going to save $500/month once we’re done! (I can help you switch, too.)

Of course, all the same issues with engagement are still there. The same rules apply. It’s interesting… so far, my open rates on these issues of THE EDGE are going up from what I saw with Drip! No complaints there!

But, that’s the ticket. Routine purging, keeping track of actual engagement, and looking into hosting options that don’t charge you for the ones that don’t open your emails as much.

Tech Talk

Let’s talk briefly about the upcoming Black Friday. No promos. Just some advice…

There’s going to be a lot of software for sale. I’m even seeing some people start really early with “Halloween Sales” and “Early Black Friday”. People are getting more aggressive. Which is fine. It’s how things work.

But this is a time of year where it will be EASY to get shiny object syndrome and start acquiring all kinds of plugins and software.

Every time, it feels good.  It is “just in case”, or “maybe I’ll use it later”.

My suggestion…

Take a look at your current software setup. And consider your future plans for no more than the next year or so. And, make a list of the constraints you’ve got now.

What limits in your tech would you like to solve? What’s annoying?

Make that list and then try hard to ONLY buy software during this Black Friday that solves that. Ignore the rest, as cool as it might seem.

You want to look for solving specific problems for your business. Or potential cost savings.

But, really try not to be the bug flying to the shiny light, OK? 🙂 There’s going to be a lot of shiny lights.

If you’d like some guidance from me on your tech stack and the easiest way to solve some of your constraints with your site, you can always book a quick call with me. Happy to help.

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