Mailing lists can’t get you anywhere

Sometime ago we wrote about how e-mail marketing, as we know it, is dead. Not because the medium itself is outdated or disfunctional, but because of how it is proposed to be used by most ‘marketing gurus’ out there.

The process those self-proclaimed ‘gurus’ are suggesting, is so crippled beyond repair, that it practically won’t get you anywhere. Here is why.

Think like your visitors

If it was you, watching an ad promising for that freebie, what are you interested for? The freebie, of course! You don’t care about the products or services the marketer/business offering that freebie has to sell. You just want that freebie.

Now, those ‘gurus’ advise you to deliver that freebie in one of two ways; either through the ‘Thank you’ page, or by providing the link in the confirmation e-mail. Now, this method was not working well even 5 years ago, when it was still fresh. Why? Because your visitor only wants to get the freebie, not the spam messages you plan to send him afterwards. So, what do the visitors do?

They sign up with an e-mail address specifically set up for receiving spam e-mail – if not a disposable e-mail address, which is kept alive until the visitor receives the freebie.

The value is in the list, but not your list

So, what is the value of a list containing 100,000 e-mail addresses, that only 6% of the recipients are actively receiving your messages? Or a list containing 200,000 e-mail addresses, that only 3% of the recipients are actively receiving your messages?

The answer to this question is simple: it’s equal to the value of a list containing 8,000 e-mail addresses, that 75% of the recipients are actively receiving your messages.

There are two material differences among those lists, though. You will spend about half to one million dollars to build the former, but less than a hundred thousand dollars to build the latter. And you would be spending about $400-800 per month, just to keep the former lists maintained, but only about $100 per month to keep the latter list maintained. Which one of the two would you choose?

Yes, it’s more expensive per registered recipient to build a legitimate, fully engaged mailing list. But the overall long-term cost of building such a list is minimal, compared to the cost of building a list the way ‘marketing gurus’ suggest.

The choice is always yours.

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