Busting the “Money is in the List” Myth

By Michael Pomposello

In the email marketing world, the widely accepted mantra is that “the money is in the list.” This saying implies that the more people on your email list that you’re sending content to, the more money you’ll be able to pull out of that email list and the more ROI it will drive to you over time.

This is mostly true. However, what a lot of people are not accounting for with this mantra is the quality of people on that email list. The quality of people on your email list is largely determined by the methods that you’re using to acquire them. It should also take into account that people on your list just may not be interested in what you’re offering that far down the line. So, maybe they’ll be interested a couple months from now, maybe even in a couple years, but this really varies by industry, advertiser, and how/why they signed up in the first place.

Ultimately, a larger list does not necessarily mean that every time that you email that list you can be extracting more money from it. One thing to take into account with an email list is that it is acquired from a quality source to be sure that the people who are on your email list are genuinely interested in what you have to offer. An example would be if you have a store, and people provide an opportunity to enter a contest in exchange for an email address. Then, you drop those entries that into the email list. While this is an opportunity to get your brand in front of them, these are a different quality of subscriber from those who seek to join your business’ list as these people are mostly seeking their entry into the contest.

Over time, your list can get bloated, especially if you’re pulling in all different qualities of leads into this list. For example, if a restaurant puts people into their list who are extremely well qualified and interested in their upcoming events, et cetera. Now let’s say that same restaurant is also dropping in email addresses of people who have dined there and who have happened to book online through OpenTable or a site like that. These diners may want to hear more about the restaurant’s offering, but have not specifically opted into do so and are therefore, less qualified and less likely to convert.

myth-bustedOver time this builds up to a giant email list. Eventually, you look at your campaign statistics and you realize that only a minute percentage of these people on this email list are remotely interested in the business. You can see that because very few people are actually opening those emails, let alone acting on them. This can be a very big problem, considering you’re wasting a lot of time and money and potentially harming your reputation with all of these people you’re emailing who are obviously just not interested.

How have you handled bloated email lists?

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