One way you can reach a larger audience quickly is to piggyback on established email lists from bloggers and businesses with similar interests.
“Third party email marketing, whether for Business to Business (B2B) or Business to Consumer (B2C) is a great way of finding new customers and can be an awesome resource for new, fresh leads,” Andrew Paul explains in a post for Email Answers.
He’s right, but there’s a catch. Social media experts often describe email lists in terms of size and freshness—in other words, “How many people opted in to this email list and how recently?” But there’s a third factor at work as well: influence.
Back when we were launching 5 Days to Your Best Year Ever™ the first time, I noticed something peculiar. A few affiliates who had the biggest lists did not get the greatest results. Several affiliates with smaller lists produced far more sales than we expected. The same thing has happened in subsequent launches.
I had seen something similar in book publishing when I was CEO of Thomas Nelson. An author might have a significant platform on paper—big social media numbers, a large email list, and so on.
But those numbers didn’t always add up to action. Sometimes an author’s new book would release, and people on their lists didn’t seem to care.
I wondered, “Why the disconnect?” After some digging, I decided It comes down to three factors: investment, trust, and expectation. Miss these and you’re not going to get the results you want.
1. Is Your Audience Invested in Your Message?
Wired magazine cofounder Kevin Kelly introduced the idea of “1,000 True Fans” in a classic article. He argued that most creators won’t ever see blockbuster success. But they can have enough success to sustain a profitable business if they cultivate 1,000 true fans.
“A True Fan is defined as someone who will purchase anything and everything you produce,” says Kelly. “They have a Google Alert set for your name. … They can’t wait till you issue your next work.” In other words, they are invested in you, and your message.
This is critical when building a list because subscribers who aren’t invested won’t move the needle. The affiliates with smaller lists drove more sales because their audiences cared enough to respond when they spoke.
2. Does Your Audience Trust You?
What the smaller affiliates in the launch lacked in size, they made up for in trust. When they said a product was worth buying, their audiences believed it and acted on it.
Trust comes down to one question: Can I count on you? If audiences can rely on you for high-quality content and recommendations that interest them, then even a small list can churn big numbers. The affiliates with smaller lists drove more sales because their audiences counted on their recommendation.
3. Does Your Audience Expect to Buy?
Some of the affiliates that were okay in the first two departments still had trouble making the sale because their audience did not expect the product pitch, the price, or maybe both.
True Fans are happy to buy when the offering fits their needs. Not everybody on a list is a True Fan. So when they see a pitch they ignore it or even scoff at it.
That’s why the size of the list almost didn’t matter. A person with a small list of people who expect to buy from time to time will see far better results than a person with a massive list of people who expect everything for free.
You’ve got to train followers to expect the pitches. The goal is to turn lesser fans into True Fans. It takes time and practice, but eventually you can find and cultivate relationships with people who love to buy what you curate and create.
In business as in life, the quality of relationships matters much more than the quantity. That’s why hustling to build a big list is not as important as laboring to create greater investment, deeper trust, and eager expectation with your True Fans. They’ll keep coming back for more.