I grabbed my iPhone and recorded a quick video for you in my house in Melbourne. No professional microphone, no professional lighting, just a little bit of post-production editing to keep things interesting.
In this less than 5-minute video I talk about the subject I have spent the last twelve months thoroughly studying. I’ll explain more after you watch this…
It’s funny how things change yet stay the same.
Back in the mid 2000s when I began studying email marketing and internet marketing in general, I often heard about the need to segment your list.
At that stage I had only just begun my first email newsletter about blog traffic tips, connected to this blog.
Back then, like most people, I would send broadcast messages to my entire list, often sharing more free information from my blog or a podcast interview, or promoting an affiliate product.
I did make one smart decision – I wrote an “email gauntlet” – an autoresponder series that was designed to provide education as a presell to my Blog Mastermind program. It took me over a year to do it, but I ended up with 50 quality email newsletters about blogging, which you can still find here in my newsletter archives.
That gauntlet series was responsible for hundreds of people joining my program over the years. It meant I had steady cash-flow because every week a few people would join my course thanks to the email sequence so I didn’t need to keep doing launch campaigns.
I did eventually retire that email sequence and close down Blog Mastermind (for renovations). Since then my newsletter has been only broadcasts to everyone, with the occasional bit of segmentation so I don’t annoy people with promotions for a launch they are not interested in.
Sending Every Email To Everybody Is A Mistake
As I mention in the video, like most people I have sent broadcast messages to my entire email list regardless of what that email was about.
That means I might send out a link to my latest podcast, or to my blog post, or a link to a video from someone who is launching a new product. The subjects are quite broad, from traffic, to business opportunities, to mindset to product creation.
This I am pretty sure is what the great majority of bloggers who have email lists do. We send broadcasts to everyone on our lists.
I’ve known about segmentation since all the way back when I first started. However I never totally took on the concept properly because I felt it was limiting my results.
I noticed if I send my newsletters to everyone, then naturally I reach more people based on the total number of email opens and links clicked in my statistics. Every time I did a segmented email only to a proportion of my list (usually about 25% of the total), I did not have nearly as many people open and click my messages. Of course the actual click through rate and open rate did increase (usually about double or triple my normal numbers) because I was only sending to a segment of my list who had showed interest in previous similar content I had sent.
I figured I should send my messages to everyone because that way I reach the maximum amount of people.
The problem with this is it is short sighted.
While I might reach more people, I wasn’t factoring in all the people I was sending a message to who had no interest in that subject.
If a person receives content they have no interest in over and over, they will stop paying attention. Do it often enough, and they will unsubscribe.
In other words, I was damaging the engagement I have with the majority of my newsletter subscribers just to reach a few hundred more people who might click the link.
Deleting Unresponsive Subscribers
About two years ago when my AWeber bills were getting too huge because I had over 90,000 subscribers I decided to do a cull of the unresponsive email addresses.
Email newsletters naturally have some attrition. People move on or no longer need what you have or they change email accounts. I can’t correlate things of course, but I’m pretty sure a good chunk of my unresponsive subscribers would have become so because they simply were not getting the information they wanted.
They might have signed up with me for information about blogging or membership sites, but I kept sending them podcast interviews with other entrepreneurs or perhaps links to articles I had written about mindset or productivity.
There is SOME connection between these things of course, but I wasn’t exactly matching the reason why they signed up to the content I was sending them. Initially I did, but after that the broadcasts they received were quit broad in subject matter.
Like I said I can’t correlate this, but it makes sense to me. I’m pretty confident that when I did the first mass newsletter cull, dropping my list from over 90,000 to less than half of that at around 40,000 subscribers, it would not have been so significant if my email marketing strategy was more tailored – more segmented over the last few years.
Incidentally, if you are curious, the criteria I used to do the cull was deleting any people from my newsletter who had not opened a message in the last two years.
I then did another similar process to “clean” my list as it is called, when I moved from AWeber to Ontraport.
I figured I would start fresh with Ontraport and focus on only the very active people on my newsletter. This time I cut anyone who had not responded in over a year. This left me with about 17,500 subscribers.
Interestingly my total number of opens and clicks in my newsletters barely dropped, so I really was cutting the inactive or “dead” emails doing this process.
Segmentation Begins In Ernest
This year I began a true segmentation process. I spent most of last year planning things out and laying the foundation. I’ve also consumed a ton of information about email marketing and product funnels since I want to get this right from day one.
It will take a while to set everything up, but I am excited about the process because it means I can provide a better quality of information to people who actually want it.
This change makes things a whole lot easier for me strategically too because I know exactly what to write about and what to teach because I have a much more narrow focus for each segment. It’s like back when I had my first email gauntlet series, but this time even more focused and rather than just one gauntlet, I will have many smaller hyper-focused gauntlets.
The changes have already started. Most of the newsletters I sent so far in 2014 have been my latest podcast interviews. If you are on my newsletter you will only receive notice of my latest podcast if you showed interest in previous emails about my podcasts. If you didn’t you are not receiving the emails.
The rest of the fruits of these changes you will see over the coming months. Look out for some very focused content and also a survey coming to you soon, so I can learn more about what you are trying to do and make sure I only send you the information you need to solve your specific problems.
Talk to you soon,
P.S. Did you see the outtake in the video?