A Solid List is Better Than a Big List

By Jane Atkinson

When is the last time you did some list hygiene?

Pardon! LOL. List hygiene is putting your email list through a series of processes that ensure that people really want to be included.

We did some research recently and realized over a thousand people on my list hadn’t been engaging. That meant they hadn’t opened any of the emails I had sent in the last six months. Yikes! That’s a lot of people.

At one point my list had been close to 10,000 speakers. Pretty good right? But it wasn’t a good list.

We went through a series of list scrubbing emails and brought it down by several thousand. My goal now is to have a lean and mean list and to have those people be engaged, loyal followers.

Depending on your goals, bigger isn’t necessarily better when it comes to your list – really think about that.

What if you specialize in one target market, let’s say it’s retail, and you go deep into retail? Your list is full of people in retail. Isn’t that more powerful than having lots and lots of people who may or may not be interested in what you hae to say? You can do so much more with a targeted list.

Here are some things to check on when considering the quality of your email and broadcast list.

1. Is your list legit? Because people get confused and think I’m a bureau, they somehow think it’s okay to add me (without permission) to their mailing list. I cannot state this clearly enough – THIS IS NOT COOL! If you have added people to your list without their okay, you need to circle back and gain their permission.

2. Do you have an option to UNSUBSCRIBE? If you have been sending your emails out from your Gmail or any system that doesn’t include an option to adjust email settings and unsubscribe, you may be sending email illegally, and even if it’s not illegal it’s not good business.

3. Do you track your open rates? It’s really important to check in and see how engaged your list of followers truly is. Keep a close eye on your open rates and that will also tell you what resonates with your readers.

4. Is your list segmented? It’s taken us years to really get this part down and although it’s an ongoing battle, my new website will have a much clearer path for our different levels of speakers. Our three buckets will be: Emerging Speakers, Intermediate Speakers and Seasoned Pros. Based on the way they enter the site, they will go into email campaigns that support those three buckets.

Newsletter lists

You might be wanting to segment your list at minimum into people who are decision makers and those who aren’t. The non-decision makers may be good candidates for your books, products or courses as you unveil them. Ideally, though, you want to be able to keep both groups engaged in your content.

Let’s say you are an expert in customer experience and you specialize in retail. Your postings, newsletters, blogs and podcasts can all be directed towards levelling up that customer experience. Your stories and examples can all be from people in the retail industry. (Another great argument for picking a lane!)

I hope this post has been helpful in having you think differently about your email list and convinces you that bigger is not necessarily better.