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Having A Small Mailing List Hurts Bloggers

Ah! you’ve never heard of the small mailing list syndrome? Oh! do stop laughing, it’s real. It’s contagious, spreads rapidly and has left its mark on almost all Bloggers.

This syndrome does not attack only beginners.

There are great Bloggers worldwide steadily delivering awesome content.  Yet, None of this awesome content seems to add value to them. Irrespective of their very best efforts their returns are zip, nada, zero.

Not because they are in the wrong niche.
Not because there content sucks.
Not because their Blog sites are look and behave lousy.

No. It’s essentially because they have a – Tiny mailing list – or worse, no email list at all.

Their (almost) insignificant, mailing list is the disease that’s quietly negating all their traffic, revenue, and site visitor engagement, until there is – Nothing left.

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Now The Scary Part

There is an excellent chance that you’ve caught the same disease as well. In the stress of delivering awesome content consistently, have you had the time to focus on building your mailing list?

No time at all?
Ah! ha! you’ve been leaving your subscriptions to prayer, i.e. your secret weapon?
Made some teeny tiny efforts – really, I mean really?
All this is bad news indeed.

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When I came across Jonathan’s Blog post titled “Double Your Email Marketing List Subscription Rate For Free”, I asked myself who doesn’t want to double their Email Marketing List Subscription list, for Free.

This is definitely worth the read to find out how to increase your Email Marketing List.

The Good News Is – Small Mailing List Syndrome – Is Curable

To kick off, figure out if you really infected.  Here are the easy to recognize symptoms:

#1 – Depressingly Few Shares

Social Shares

Okay, okay some of your posts do get shared a little bit, BUT most posts seem to go nowhere at all.

Publishing a post starts feeling like buying a lottery ticket.  At the time of purchase – great hopes – but almost always disappointment in the end.

Worse – You begun to feel you have no control on site subscriptions.

Have you noticed: You’ve worked your butt off crafting a Blog post that is exquisite, no shares
You’ve delivered a really crappy post. It gets a few shares

This inconsistency can make any Blogger blow their fuse quite early in their Blogging career, and throw in the towel permanently.

I assure you that it does not have to be that way.

I’m sure you’ve noticed that posts on some Blogs gets fifty / hundred shares fairly consistently?

This is because they have thousands of email subscribers who come flocking to the Blog every time a new post is published.  Hey, they have all been notified via the mailing list that a new Blog post has just been published and their curiosity has been piqued.

Since, they are regular visitors they are a lot more likely to share the post on their social streams as well. Hence, getting shares is dependent on the size of your mailing list.  The bigger the better.

#2 – Totally Crappy Comments

Are comments influenced by the size of your mailing list as well? Oh Yes!

The size of your mailing list directly affects the number of comments you get as well as the quality of the comments.

You’ll notice such behaviour in your local pub or bar. The newcomers are silent. Sipping quietly as they watch what’s going on around. It’s the regulars that do all the talking.

It’s exactly the same thing on your Blog.

Most first time visitors / readers will say little or nothing. Not because they don’t like your content, but largely because they don’t you well enough yet.  If they notice that your post has not comments, they may be reluctant to write anything at all.  Kind of like a newcomer wandering into an empty bar.

The fix? You need to gather up some regulars.

Via you mailing list you must stay in constant contact with your site registrants / readers.  Let them know about the new posts you’ve published.  In time, they will get to know you and your content. Then they’ll get comfortable leaving their comments.

#3 – Ignored By Influencers

The authority Bloggers in your space not paying you any attention?

Perhaps you think it’s because your Blogsite is new. Honestly, this has little to do with it. The truth is that influencers are motivated by the same – five words – as everyone else:

What’s in it for me?

If they figure out that you can send then a few thousand new readers when you share their content, then – miracle of miracles – you are their new best friend.

If you’ve never been able to send them anyone – or just a handful of new site visitors – then regretfully you will be as noticeable as an ant is to an elephant.

Having a large mailing list, AND working that list cleverly, attracts the attention of influential people. Try it out, accumulate a few thousand site subscribers and you may be really surprised at how many doors open up for you …  without you knocking – almost.

The opposite is also true. Have a meagre mailing list, and influencers in your vertical will most likely ignore you in return.

#4 – Little Or No Revenue

Little Or No Revenue The size of your mailing list is a key factor that determines the volume of your website’s inbound revenue. This should be a great motivator for you to nurture your mailing list. The larger the size of your mailing list, the more money your website can make you.

Here is a simple thumb rule. Your site should earn you – One USD, per subscriber, per month.

Want to earn USD 1000/- accumulate 1000 subscribers.
Want to earn USD 5000/- accumulate 5000 subscribers.

Okay, okay it’s really not quite as black and white as the math above, but its close enough to ring true.

Now, as you get better at marketing, start delivering better and better products, you can (and must) earn more than USD 1/- per subscriber, per month.

Some simple projections, assume USD 5/- per subscriber, per month mapped to 10,000 subscribers that is definitely not chump change, if you get my drift.

Talented, authority Bloggers are earning between USD 5/- to USD 10/- per subscriber, per month BUT they have in excess of 100,000 subscribers.

Now, that is really the generation of willable income.  At least to me it is.

#5 – Uncertainty About Content

Uncertainty About Content Do you ever find yourself wondering what you should publish next?
Well, you shouldn’t.
Your email list should be telling you what you should be publishing next.

The biggest benefit of having a large mailing list is that you receive instant feedback on anything you do, whether you ask for it or not.

Every time a new post is published, and you notify the list, you’ll receive a wave of both compliments and criticism, and there’s pretty much nothing you can do to change this.  Do not even try to, this is gold.

If you publish a post, and get back hundreds of glowing comments and shares, you just have to plan on delivering similar content again soon.

If people are confused – or worst of all, silent – then you know that what you’ve delivered does not resonate with your readers and you need to refocus on what readers really desire.

This is the pulse of your Blog.

As long as you have your finger on it, you always know what to do next.

Without it, you’re also flying blind, and the uncertainty will never end.

#6 – Dwindling Motivation

Here is the severest symptom of a small mailing list.

Here’s what almost universally happens when a Blogger:

  • Has hardly any shares
  • Crappy comments
  • Zero attention from influencers
  • No income generation
  • Nervous about their direction
  • Uncertain about their content

They give up.

On one I know has the self-discipline to work in a vacuum forever. Without feedback or evidence of progress, everyone runs out of energy, and soon quits altogether.

That said, the opposite is also true.

If any Blogger is getting:

  • Consistently good shares
  • Loads of great (encouraging / intelligent) comments
  • Emails from influential Bloggers in their vertical
  • Buckets of money
  • Compliments about their branding and content

Then they stay hugely motivated.
Guess what controls all those things?

Your mailing list.

A Cure For Small Mailing List Syndrome

This may sound like I’m oversimplifying things, but I’m not. Your email list really is the cure-all for every problem Blogger’s face.

Invest specific time in a day/week to build it.

Kick off by ensuring that new site visitors have an irresistible incentive to subscribe.
i.e. The bribe you offer for them to share their Email Id with you must be awesome.

Build an attractive opt-in form to snag new site visitors. The tons of free WordPress plugins really makes this awfully easy.

Never stop looking for new ideas to get even more subscribers.

Figuring out how to build your mailing list in the not the most exciting part of Blogging, but then taking medicine is rarely fun.  You have to just gulp it down and pray that it cures what ails you.

Your Blogsite will prosper or perish based on how seriously you grow your mailing list.

So get serious about building it. Getting serious about building / expanding your mailing list is the only known cure for – Small Mailing List Syndrome.

Please Leave Your Comments They Really Are A Huge Help

Please do share what you did to create a large and trusting mailing list in the comments below. My readers will be thrilled and bless you for sharing your approach.

If you liked this Blog post, I’d love to read your comments. If you thought that this Blog post was not up to your expectations, I’d love to read your comments.

It’s your comments that helps me get better each day. Please pass on your bouquets or brickbats in the comments section right below.

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I've been an entrepreneur for more than 33 years.

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14 responses on "Having A Small Mailing List Hurts Bloggers"

  1. Hey Ivan,
    What a post! Its not only well written but contains hard truth. Having an email list has its many advantages. Bloggers can exploit it to increase engagements, conversions and revenue.

    The real issue is that many bloggers don’t know what to do in order to revamp or increase their email list.

    Its a good thing that this post not only addressed the cure for small mailing list but it also provide quick idea of what could be done to make a mailing list more vibrant.
    Its sure a bookmarkable piece!

    I left the above comment in as well

    • Hi Sunday,

      Wow! thanks Sunday. Loved the praise. In truth a mailing list with as little as 1000 significant people can turn a Bloggers life around. A ton of real – Business – Magic can happen for any Blogger with such a list.

      Yes, I agree. When I speak at the WordPress meetups (speaking today 3rd Sept at 03:00pm) I always encounter Bloggers who understand the value a mailing list brings to a Blogger but do not know – How – to cultivate such a list. Developing a great mailing list is not rocket science, it does require, patience, an understanding of what your audience wants, and a continuous plod to deliver.

      I’ve also written a very details – Part II – which covers the – How.
      I’m working on the finishing touches of the Post and will publish this very shortly.

      Thanks for taking the trouble of commenting on my Blog, Sunday. This is really nice of you and very appreciated.

  2. Hi Ivan,

    Having a small list does not hurt bloggers if that list is converting. Say if I have a small list of 100 subscribers with a 30% conversion rate, that’s quite encouraging enough.

    But the other points you mentions – like not getting enough shares after post being published is really disheartening because I’ve seen many brand authority bloggers not publishing good enough posts yet getting huge number of shares for the post whereas some lesser renowned blogger publishing a better post than them yet getting just few shares. This really is discouraging and hurts a blogger.

    BTW, you have a nice blog and hope to get you know more.


    • Hi Eugene,

      Thanks for dropping by and leaving your point of view.

      The statistics you’ve left in the comment need some clarification as the puzzle me a little.

      1) Personally, till date, I’ve not encountered any list of 100 subscribers that – Continuously – converted at 30% month on month.

      2) Statistics that I’ve accumulated in the 20+ years that I’ve been Blogging seem to indicate a Top conversion rate in single digits of about 7%

      3) Consistent month on month conversion rates are usually much lower about 3&

      Assuming that each conversion brings the Blogger about USD 10/- then one has a top income level of USD 70/- to a minimum income level of USD 30/-
      I do not think this is a – Living Income – anywhere in the world.

      I’m focussed on a mailing list that has the potential to deliver at least USD 1000/- per month (average) and upwards.

      If one has an average selling price of USD 30/- then on is going to need a ton more than 100 subscribers to generate a consistent USD 1000/- per month, month on month.

      Ah! Well, authority Bloggers getting shares and comments even for not so hot content has been a reality in the Blogging world since its startup I guess.

      This truth does not dishearten, I take it in my stride and work my butt off to deliver the very best content I can. I’s absolutely sure that – Over time – site visitors – are astute enough the choose wisely. Those are the site visitors I really do my very best to nurture.

      Glad you liked my Blog site Eugene. I hope you pop across more often and leave you comments. I’d love to hear from you any time.

      If you need any help with you Blog, please reach out, I’d be happy to help in any way I can.

  3. Hi Ivan,
    Great article, I’m very guilty of this. Kind of a nice kick in the pants to get me motivated to work on my mailing list again!

  4. Hey Ivan,

    Interesting post as usual.

    From what I’ve seen the main problem is many blogs do not do enough promotion, to have a opportunity to build a list in the first place. The other big problem seems to be SO many dreadful opt-in boxes. Ones like “Subscribe to my blog” or “Subscribe to my newsletter” alone, won’t cut it. They are not exciting enough to get conversions.

    We also have to remember that not only do we need opt-in’s that have a chance of converting the visitor to a subscriber, but even more importantly, those opt-in spots should always be in test mode, so we know our conversions and that we are testing other variations to obtain the highest conversions possible. We should always looking to improve. It only makes sense to get the most of the traffic we do get. Even small amounts of traffic with high performing opt-in’s can build a list pretty quickly.

    I also some what disagree with the title of the post. Well sort of. 🙂 On another hand a smaller list of high targeted subscribers that you have a good relationship with, can often beat out a huge list that is not targeted and you don’t have a relationship with. Just my opinion.

    See many people look at the size of the list. It’s sure not everything. Plenty of people with huge lists that have nothing.

    Enjoyed the read Ivan 🙂

    • Hey Ron,

      Thanks for dropping by and sharing. Always a pleasure to reading your comments.

      Yes, I believe that a huge percentage of Bloggers are struggling because they lack the time to promote their Blog posts properly OR do not have a strategy that helps them do this such that it does not consume a TON on time.

      BTW, I’m seriously thinking about writing a detailed Blog post on how popular Bloggers – Market – their Blog posts successfully.

      Opt-ins have always been a point of controversy, love em or hate em one cannot really do without them entirely.

      I use an opt-in box – triggered On Exit – on my Blog site that has not caught any serious complaints BUT have increased my subscription rate significantly.

      I’m in the – love opt-in boxes – camp. 🙂

      I love different points of view. That’s what has helped me learn and grow.

      I’ve read many posts about the terrific value that a smaller list of targeted subscribers, with whom you’ve built a – Trusted Relationship – beats a huge list that’s not targeted.

      I have absolutely no quarrel with that POV at all – Except – the size of the smaller list never seems to be described, ever. i.e. No specific measurable statistics.

      I’ve also replied with some simple – living income – type arithmetic to Eugene Zavarzin above, take a quick look please.

      Please do engage Ron. I’ve an open mind and I’d love to get better at what I’m doing.

      Thanks heaps for your comment Ron. Appreciate this.

  5. Hello Ivan, Great post my friend!! My girlfriend Donna gave me the much needed push this year to help me get motivated to building my list. I did subscribe to Get Response wrote my free report and finally got my opt-in on my blog and Yeppers it does work too.

    I know there is more to it then this but I am on my way. Thanks for sharing and do have a Blessed Sunday
    Chery :))

    • Hi Chery,

      Great to hear from you after a bit.

      I’m glad you’ve started to take you mailing list seriously after your girlfriend gave you a push. A mailing list with a number of people who engage with you/your site regularly does wonders for inbound site traffic which helps keep search engines happy.

      Get Response is a perfectly good service. I’ve been using MailChimp for a few years now and I’m comfortable with it.

      It’s always thrilling to see a process – Work successfully – after the efforts made to implement it. I love the feeling as I’m sure you did.

      Have a blessed week ahead Chery filled with pleasant surprises

  6. Hi Ivan,

    What a beautiful post and so caring. I am just beginning to work on my mailing list and it is growing since I got myself a coach. I believe that my problems were lack of knowledge and you’ve brought to life the importance of having a large mailing list.

    Your six steps are very helpful and true. I now have regular subscribers to my list and that is making a huge difference in my blog traffic. Some spammers are using CommentLuv to make it through to my comments. You can tell who they are by their contact information and their comments. It’s something to look out for.

    Thank you for sharing, Ivan and you have an awesome day and week ahead!


    • Hi Linda,

      I’m really happy that your mailing list is growing. This is key to generating a smidgen of income in the beginning that can easily grow into a stream.

      Ah!, glad my Blog post helped Linda. This is such a feel good factor to hear.

      As for the Spammers who use CommentLuv, here is a simple solution.

      Underneath their comments you will find a link labelled as – Remove Luv – Definitely click that link. This disconnects the Spammer from your CommentLuv link up. They cannot re-spam you via CommentLuv again.

      The second trick (if you are using an independently hosted WordPress site) is to ensure that Akismet is active and is configured properly.

      These two approaches take care of about 90% of my SPAM issues. 10% I still deal with manually. A lot are genuine SPAM and very few false positives.

  7. I’m am not going to lie, there are many wonders that can come from a huge mailing list. The larger the email list the more people you can market content to and the more products and services you can market as well. Having a small email list may not be the only problem, but is undoubtedly a problem faced by many bloggers. You also want to grow ref feral traffic from the right sources and build your social media profiles in a way you will get more shares from the right people. You have to be social media savvy for that. Great post!

    • Hi Lawrence,

      True, there are many wonders that come from a large mailing list. Nary a doubt there. That said, I regularly – Purge – my mailing lists of junk subscribers. Sometimes this can b as much as 50%.

      People who’ve subscribed and never returned to the site or responded to anything on my newsletters.

      While the size of a mailing list is crucial to getting an ROI, a smaller but interactive and lively mailing list works way better. At least this has been my personal experience.

      True, having a small mailing list may not be the only problem of Bloggers, its one of the problems.

      Thanks for commenting Lawrence. Always a pleasure hearing from you.

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