AskPat 552 Episode Transcript
Pat Flynn: Hey, what's up, everybody? Pat Flynn here, and welcome to Episode 552 of AskPat. Thank you so much for joining me today.
All right, now here's today's question from Paul.
Paul: Hi, Pat. This is Paul Minaz from Auckland, New Zealand. A big fan of the podcast, and really appreciate everything that you do for the SPI community. I have a question about email lists and cleaning your email lists. I've been building my audience and growing my email list since the beginning of this year, and in the beginning the open rates and click-through rates looked really good, and they've been slowly dropping off over time. And, correct me if I'm wrong, but I believe this is normal as your list grows that your open rates would gradually come down, but what I'd like to ask is that, what do you recommend for methods for cleaning your email lists? So, how could I go about removing inactive or non-engaged subscribers from my lists so that I have a really engaged, active audience? What kind of techniques or methods or criteria for doing this? Thanks, Pat. Like I said, I appreciate everything that you do, and thanks for answering my question.
Pat Flynn: Hey, Paul. Thank you so much for the question today. I really appreciate it. Here's what I would do. Now, I've answered this question before on the show. But, of course, things change. I answered that a long time ago. Now that I've gotten to see some of the more capabilities of some of these email service providers, there's a lot of different ways that you can handle this. Obviously, you could just send a direct email to everybody on your list and say, “Hey, if you don't click on this link, I'm gonna delete you.” Which is kind of the easiest way to do it, but maybe not the best way to do it because sometimes people might miss that email and if you don't give them an opportunity a second time or third time around, maybe they just weren't there, or they didn't see it, or the headline was mixed in and it got lost in their inbox or whatever.
Then they're gone, and maybe they shouldn't be. And sometimes those open rates aren't always exactly true. So, some people who might be actually opening the emails are seeing the preview of them—who are kind of reading them in that way, they're still engaged with you, but it just doesn't show. So, you gotta be careful here. Now here's what I would do. I just thought about this before I answered this question, 'cause it really made me think about how I do things, and I might actually make these sorts of changes.
So, of course, you're absolutely right. It's very natural that when people sign up for an e-mail list, those initial emails that they get in that follow-up sequence, especially that first one, they get the highest open rate, and over time, people start to die down. Same thing happens with your broadcast emails. Your broadcast emails, when you're just starting out and you're starting to send them, and people get them for the first time they're going to open them. And, then over time and as your list grows, the percentage is going to go down a little bit.
So, here's what you can do. In your follow-up sequence, in your auto-responder series, this is what you could do. After a certain amount of e-mails, you might have to play around with how many, but after a certain amount of e-mails you could have a call to action, where people have to click on something to say that they like the e-mails. Maybe it's a quick survey: “Do you want to continue getting these emails?” Again, it's a way to serve your audience. You always want to make sure that whenever you ask your audience for something, even if it's for your own purposes, you're still turning it into a way where they know that they're also being served. This is why, when I have my email lists … When people join my main list, I want them to click on one link that puts them into a specific bucket, which then puts them into another set of emails based on the answer that they gave to those questions. Essentially serving people through this email list.
That's very much for my own purposes, right? Because I want to send emails to people that matter to them and not emails that don't matter to them. But, I say, “Hey, I want to give you emails that matter to you. And, I don't want you to see stuff that isn't relevant. So, if you want to get emails that you want, click on the answer to the following question that best suits you.” And the question is, “What best describes your business? ‘I haven't started yet'; ‘I've started, but I'm not making any more than $500 a month'; or, ‘I'm making more than $500 a month.' So, they're either in one of those three categories, and then they get split off from there. You could do something similar, with, if you just have a main list for example, or even on a sub-list that you've already sort of driven people into a specific bucket. Even in there, you could have people go through a series of emails, and of course it'll die down over time. And, to reengage them, you can have them click on something that essentially marks that they are there, and you can put them into another … I would say, the next part of that same email sequence. And, if they don't click on that, you're going to send them different emails that get a little bit more and more urgent with having them take action. And then, after a certain number of emails, maybe five after a couple of weeks, you say, “Hey, I don't want to bother you. I've noticed that you haven't clicked on this or you haven't really…” Again, making it very urgent and obvious. That, “Hey, this is the last time I'm gonna e-mail you, and if not, I'm just gonna take you off the list. I'm not doing this to be rude; I just want my e-mail list to be full of people who want these emails. And, it's obvious, at this point you don't want it, but I'm giving you one more chance.”
So, let me run that again, because the way I explained it might've been a little bit confusing. It was to me as I was saying it, so I'm gonna try again. Not that it was wrong, but I'm just kind of flushing this out right now. So, people sign up to your list, open rates are great, they're getting these e-mails, you're providing value, they're taking action on what it is you're doing. And then over time, the open rates slow down, and then if by a fifth email, for example, you see that people aren't clicking on a call to action, that they love the emails and want to continue to get more. You put those people who do click on that into a separate bucket, which is essentially the next part of that same sequence.
And that way, it's like, “Yes, I want to continue getting it.” Okay, you're going on. But, the people who don't, they continue to get emails in that same sequence, and in that same sequence it's getting a little bit more urgent in getting them to want to click over to get to that second part, that those other people already went in that first time you mentioned it. So, it's kind of hard to describe this via audio. I'd have to draw it out for you, but I am always experimenting with email, and this is something that I think is very important, obviously, and I'm gonna be experimenting with it, Paul. So, I haven't tested this out yet, but I would love to hear what other people think in terms of reengaging your subscribers and making sure that you have a clean email list too. And, that's the way I'm thinking about it in my head. I haven't mind-mapped this or anything yet. It's, I think, a great solution, but I'm gonna test it out; I'm gonna see what works.
The new redesign of the Smart Passive Income blog is coming in April, and with that I'm gonna be adding more emails to my email sequences and changing things around a little bit. And this is very much gonna be a part of that too, because I definitely want to keep people engaged and I definitely want an e-mail list that's active and clicking on things.
So, Paul, I want to thank you so much for the question. I hope this at least gets your gears going and helps you a little bit. For those of you in the audience who have something to add to this, please use the hashtag #AskPat552. And, we can continue this discussion on Twitter. And, if you have any solutions or things that have worked for you, please share, because I'll be interested and I know Paul will be too.
So again, that's #AskPat552 on Twitter, and I look forward to seeing what happens both on my email list and yours too, Paul, so keep me posted. Thank you so much. We're gonna send you an AskPat t-shirt for having your question featured here on the show, and I also want to thank everybody who has asked a question too, because this show wouldn't exist without you. If you have a question that you would like to have me read here on the show and answer, just head on over to AskPat.com; you can ask right there on that page.
Thank you so much for listening in today. I appreciate it, and to finish off the day as I always do, here's a quote. And this quote is from Mohnish Pabrai, and that quote is, “Entrepreneurs are great at dealing with uncertainty and also very good at minimizing risks. That's the classic entrepreneur.” Take care. I appreciate you, and I'll see you on the next episode of AskPat.