I hate sharing revenue numbers. It’s a powerful proof element but I see so many people do it for manipulative reasons. And maybe I’m about to do the same… you get to decide.
There’s a page on my website that’s set to noindex (requesting that Google and other search engines not index it and not display it in search results) that is partially responsible for $39,000 in revenue for me during 2016. Almost “40 large” in revenue from a page that I’m hiding from search engines.
What’s wrong with me?
Wouldn’t sales be better if I let Google index that page, did some SEO to get it ranking better, and so on?
Nope. That “secret” sales page combined with marketing to my email list (that’s YOU), keeps my 10-person Positioning Accelerator Program 80% full.
I don’t need more sales from that page. I certainly don’t need it to be conversion rate optimized. What I need to do is send the right, very very warm prospects to that page.
And my email list is perfect for that.
What about you? What could you sell more of or sell better if you had several hundred people who look forward to hearing from you and you could link them to certain pages on your website at the right time?
This email is basically a PSA that 99% of self-employed software developers that I’ve ever met could benefit from having an engaged email list.
An engaged email list can actually be quite small.
I’d measure engagement by sales–especially if you have a mix of low-priced product(s) and services–and by the number of questions you get from your list members or conversations your emails to them initiate. I would not measure engagement by email open rate, unsubscribe rate, or any other simple dumb metric your email marketing software provides you (though some do track reply rate, which is better than the other metrics, but the best indicator for engagement is seeing… engaged replies show up in your inbox). Those are vanity metrics. Sales and # of productive conversations are not.
Not every self-employed software developer should use email marketing even though 99% could benefit from it.
I think of it like this: “should” you ask someone to marry you if you have no intention or ability to follow through on the expectations that you and that person set for your marriage? Of course not. Neither should you build an email list unless you are committed to doing what it takes to cultivate an engaged email list over the long haul.
Email marketing is sort of a simple “what you put in equals what you get out” kind of equation with a twist: if what you put in doesn’t add up to at least 1 valuable (helpful, interesting, entertaining, or a blend of those qualities) email/week on a consistent basis over the long haul, then what you put in equals basically zero meaningful output. One helpful, interesting, or entertaining email/week is the absolute minimum definition of acceptable input to get good results from email marketing (unless you’re like Patrick McKenzie and sporadically send 5,000-word emails that have impressive value).
Here’s the quick and dirty recipe for cultivating an engaged email list for the non-Patrick McKenzie’s of the world:
- Have a clearly defined market position. Have 3 to 6 polarizing viewpoints that a) you actually believe in that b) relate to your market position c) you’re willing to stick your head above the crowd to talk about publicly.
- Commit to a list publication schedule that you can follow through on 98% of the time. Publish to your list on the same day of the week once per week, at the same time of day every weekday, or at the same time of day 7 days/week. Publication consistency is more important than you think for getting good results from email marketing.
- Ask your list to take action in every email. If you have a mix of low-priced products and services, sell your product(s) in every email. If you have only services, ask for action like one of the following: a) reply and ask questions b) schedule a short diagnostic workshop with you c) hire you.
- Have a good reason for people to join your list. This is NOT “get our newsletter”. A lead magnet or email course are two much better ways to invite people to join your list.
- Actively promote your lead magnet or email course. Potential ways to promote your list appear on http://trustvelocity.com.
Looks simple, right?
Unsurprisingly, it all begins with positioning. Without a clearly defined market position, your efforts to cultivate an engaged email list will deliver disappointing results. If positioning is confusing or difficult for you, the best resource I can offer is: http://thepositioningmanual.com
Talk to you soon,