The Death Of The Email “Blast”

We use a lot of funny words in online marketing – some of them a bit demeaning, actually. And one of them is the phrase “email blast”. Not only do none of your subscribers sign up in order to be “blasted”, but it doesn’t even work that well anymore as a strategy. Sending the same…

Episode #85 | Episode Date: May 30, 2015

Hello there! Welcome to another episode of Coffee Break Blogging.

We use a lot of funny words in online marketing – some of them a bit demeaning, actually. And one of them is the phrase “email blast”.

Not only do none of your subscribers sign up in order to be “blasted”, but it doesn’t even work that well anymore as a strategy. Sending the same message to every single person on your list regardless of who they are just doesn’t work that well.

In this episode, we’ll talk about:

  • Funny words marketers use
  • Why the size of your email list doesn’t matter
  • The two metrics which are FAR more important than the size of your list
  • How to adjust your email marketing strategy to this new world (or face extinction)
  • How the world just isn’t linear, and how your marketing has to adapt to this.

Those Funny Words

Now I want to get started today by saying that there are certain words that I just kind of cringe a little bit in this online marketing space when people use them. And these are words that is funny how it kind of gets in or end to the jargon of the way people talk and they do not really think about what it actually is “saying”.

So let’s talk about those…


This word “engage” is one that we use when it comes to basically talking with people on social media, but who on the right mind goes out in the world and says “I want to go engage with you. Can we go to a coffee shop and let’s engage for a few minutes?” It’s just a really weird word but yet in online marketing people say “Well, you got to go out and engage with your community on social media.” You know… that’s fine but in reality, you are basically going and having a conversation. You’re talking, right? It’s the same thing that we do out in the regular word; it’s just that we are doing it on the internet, so that word “engage” is one.


Another one is when marketers refer to their audience or their readers as their “tribe”, or even worse; their “herd”. I hate that one because it is almost like their looking down at their community. Who looks at their community like our herd? And you’ve got to herd them around like little cattle? It is just not a cool way to look at your own audience. And “their tribe” is just kind of (again) a weird collective mentality.

The thing is, if you look at your audience as one big collective; one big mass, it is going to be really hard to market to them and get in to teach them and help them because in reality, not everybody is the same. In the real world, not everybody is the same. So you can’t look at everybody as a collective. And so that is why I don’t like this word “herd”.


And another one that I really don’t like is the word “blast”… “Email blast” specifically. And that is what we are going to be talking about today; the email blast.

What’s Bad With Email Blast

Here’s the thing… When you subscribe to somebody’s list, do you subscribe so that they can blast you? You probably don’t. In fact, it is probably a little condescending. And yet, marketers talk like this a lot. “I’m going to blast my list with something.”

So let’s talk about this. And we are not just talking about mindset; we are literally talking about how things have changed when it comes to how you do your online marketing. Not only is the idea of blasting your list just a bad way to think about it; it’s kind of inhuman to the subscribers who are on your list but it also just does not work that well anymore. Okay? And the truth is that online marketers, who haven’t adjusted to this, are dying off. And it is because you cannot just blast your list the same thing on a repetitive basis and have any other effect other than delivery rates dropping, open rates dropping… And you get these online marketers that go around and they brag about the fact that their email list has a hundred thousand people on there or something.

You know, that is great. But if they are just blasting out affiliate offers to that list, chances are only if a very small percentage of that hundred thousand is actually opening the email. And here’s the thing; the size of your list is really only about how many people are opening and clicking on things. Just the fact that they are sitting on your database means absolutely nothing! It means NOTHING. If they are not actually reading what it is that you send them, it is just like they are not even there. Okay?

So, online marketers who are just blasting their list, really have very small list. And anything else that they tell you; they either don’t understand what is going on or they are just bone smoke up your butt.

So here is the thing…

The key about email marketing is not the size of your list. It is not the size of your list. The key is real “engagement”.

It is the fact that they are opening things and clicking on things.

Now, I have not talked a lot about social media but you may be familiar with the world of Facebook and how they have got this thing called “EdgeRank”. EdgeRank is an algorithm that they have got built-in to Facebook which is the reason why you don’t see every single update that your friends say. What you will probably notice is that the people that you “engage” with the most are the ones that you are going to see pop up more often in your Newsfeed. And it is actually a good thing.

Marketers who are trying to blast you with Facebook messages, they complain about EdgeRank because they want their followers or what have you, in order to see everything that they ever say but the real world is, that is just the way it works. Facebook is trying to create a Newsfeed experience that you actually enjoy. And by that, they show you the stuff that you are most likely to want to see. And one of the big ways that they determine that is the things that you actually engage with on Facebook. Those people that you converse with, the people that you comment with, the people that you liked their posts on your newsfeed; they are going to show that to you more often.

Metrics That Count

Now that exact same situation with EdgeRank carries over into the world of email as well. It is not called EdgeRank, in fact it works a little differently, but the same basic outcome is there. You could be on somebody’s list, but if you are not ever opening their emails, you are not ever clicking on anything and you are just not engaged with that person at all then Gmail and Outlook.com and these guys, they are just not going to show you those messages as much.

And so, open rates and click-through rates, with you as the email marketer; those are the metrics that are a hellluva lot important than the size of your list. So do not worry about the size of your list. There are many, many cases out there where people who have lists that are “small” have outperformed and outsold marketers that have much larger lists. And it is because those people with much larger lists are probably not engaging their list very well. And you see this particularly in the affiliate marketing space where you signed up for somebody’s lead magnet and then all they do is blast you affiliate offers. That sucks! There is no value proposition there so why is anybody going to read your stuff? If they are still on the database you are lucky they haven’t just unsubscribe, probably because they are not opening your stuff, but they are definitely not seeing what you are sending so they might as well not be there.

Keep Them Engaged

So the big thing here is instead of thinking about just linear email list and how big your list is and stuff like that, you need to be thinking in terms of COMMUNITY. You need to be thinking about community; not your list. And that community is not only on your email list. They are actually spread around in different places.

They are on your Facebook Groups; they are on your Facebook Pages; maybe even your personal profile, your Twitter account, maybe they are connected to your on LinkedIn, maybe on Pinterest; maybe they are on your retargeting list and they are seeing your banner ads out there. Maybe they are on your Google+ so anytime you post something they are getting a little notification right there inside their Gmail Account.

There are a multiple touch points out there and these people can be in your community and engaged with you in many different places. And the thing is, the more that they are engaged with your brand (I’m just going to keep using that word “engage” here because it is like the terminology we are all using)… The more they are engaged with you, the more effect that is going to be had. You are not just blasting them with stuff; that’s old school marketing. The old school marketing is that we are thinking about just exposing them to your message. You want them to be exposed to your message but you want them to actually engage with it, act on it, click on it. That is what you want. It does not really matter where they do that from. It does not matter if they click on your link in your email of if they click on your link from Twitter; they are still an engaged member of your community.

The truth of the matter is that online marketing is not nice and linear. It is not one of those things to where it is as simple as get them to your blog, get them on to your email list; that it… This is a 3D world these days. It is not nice and linear anymore. And there are multiple ways that they can become a member of your community but wherever they happen to be, you want them to be engaged with you and your brand. That means you are going to have conversations with them and that can take place in emails as well.

So let us back up a little bit and let’s reiterate the point here that with email, the point is engagement. And you want them to open your emails and you want them to click on your emails, but you’ll also; with this word “engagement”, generally means that you’re having conversations. That means, yes… You want people to hit the reply button and actually reply to the emails that you send. Do not send those replies out to a bounce address like noreply@blah.com; that’s the stupidest thing you could ever do. You want to have any emails to your list be like they were coming from you. And that every single one opens the door to a potential conversation, okay? Be a real human being because that is the way engagement actually works.

Right Message – Right Time – Right Person

Now another thing I want to make a mention of here is that when you have a linear email system like Aweber or MailChimp or stuff like that where people do get on to email lists, it is really easy to get into the mindset of blasting your list because generally that is the way those systems work. You write an email, you hit send and the same message gets sent to everybody. But I just want you to be aware and looking over the horizon a little bit; is that the most ideal way to go is that every single subscriber who is on your list is going to be treated uniquely to them based on the things that they have indicated interested in, how they are interacting with your stuff; things like that. And the thing is it does require a more robust email marketing system than Aweber or MailChimp or some of those guys can provide. They are just not set up to do it. The key is to send the right message at the right time to the right person. And in order to do that, that is where we are going to getting into marketing automation systems on the likes of Ontraport or InfusionSoft or ActiveCampaign. And we talked about marketing automation tools in the last episodes so you can back up and check that out.

But you need to see that coming and realize that the future really is being able to have every single person on their own schedule getting email messages from you that you can pre-write but the thing is they are unique to that particular situation because you set it up that way. And it is a little hard to do that with a linear system where everybody gets the same autoresponder sequence and that kind of thing.

So again, keyword here is “engagement”. If you are just starting out you are going to have a linear system; that is fine. But over the horizon be aware of some of the options like ActiveCampaign and some of the others that will allow you to set up automated follow up sequences but yet they react to what the person is doing and what they are engaging with because that is where you get out of the fact of email blast… They are just not working that well; but move into the world that the fact that unique marketing is very individual. People are not a collective; they are just not. They are individuals. Okay?

Alright, hopefully that was useful to you; kind of a mindsets type episode here… As we end off very soon here, Phase 3 of our overall business building process from Coffee Break Blogging, we will be wrapping it up in the next episode and we are going to be moving into Phase 4 of our overall business building template, so to speak, that we are covering here on Coffee Break Blogging and we are going to be moving right into the world of traffic.

I want to end off by reminding you of the big Blog Monetization Webinar that I am doing. We are going to be talking all about how to monetize your blog but do it effectively in today’s online world. A lot of bloggers are doing it in the old ways. They are doing it in the ways that quite frankly, people were still talking about back in 2008 and 2009. And I know because I was around back then. And it is just the same basic stuff you’re seeing… Banner ads, guest posting and all those stuff; and the world has changed.

And if you are not aware of how the world has changed and you need to structure things with your site to accommodate that to actually enable you to grow, you are going to be at a loss.

And we are going to be talking about that on my free live training and you can get your seat totally free over at blogmonetizationwebinar.com. Okay? 😉

See you soon!