How Do You Keep Your Email List Happy and Healthy?

From subscriber Jesus comes this excellent question:

Do you do anything specific to keep your subscribers happy & your open rates high? Everyone talks about having a good relationship with your list, but I haven’t seen many examples on how to do that.

Jesus is exactly right.

Everyone does talk about how important it is to have a good relationship with your list…

But a “list” is such an abstract concept.

It’s like this nameless, faceless crowd “out there” somewhere.

What does it even mean to have a “good relationship” with your list?

I’m going to dig into this over the next few days.

But before we do that, I thought I’d start by showing you one example of what a BAD relationship looks like.

Here’s what happened:

A while back I ran an experiment with this list-building technique called “coregistration.”

If you’ve ever signed up for an email subscription on a big website like Baby Center or BuzzFeed, after you enter your email address, you may have seen a screen with a huge list of additional free offers from their “partners.”

All you have to do to get the offer is click a checkbox, and then you’re signed up for that list too.

When I tested this out, I found I was able to get new email subscribers for around 50 cents each, which is GREAT.

(Using AdWords in this same niche I was paying $10 to get a new signup.)

I quickly burned through my $100 trial credit for this service and added about 200 email subscribers to my list in just a couple of days—I was excited.

Fortunately though, I kept a close eye on this batch of subscribers before I decided to invest any of my own cash.

And after a few days, I realized that NONE of these subscribers ever opened ANY of my emails.

It was like I didn’t exist.

In online communities like Reddit and Hacker News, there’s this idea called “shadow banning.”

When the moderators find that you’ve been breaking the rules by spamming or trolling, they’ll flip a switch and suddenly you’re a ghost.

You can still log in, comment, submit links, etc. But no one ever sees anything you do.

THAT is what a bad relationship with your list looks like:

You’re invisible.

It’s not when people get mad at you and unsubscribe, or reply and yell at you because they don’t like something you said.

Bad list relationship = total indifference.

Sure, they’re still technically signed up, but mentally they’re long gone.

Or, as in the case of my little coregistration experiment, they were never even really on board in the first place.

This is yet another reason why I almost always use an email course as my lead magnet.

When you offer a sizzling hot PDF download as a lead magnet, a lot of people will dump in an email address like “” just to get your free download.

With email courses, people sign up with an email address that they actually check, because they know you’ll be dripping the content out via email over a span of days.

And getting their BEST email address is step 1 to establishing a good relationship with your list…

One where your subscribers:

– Open and read your emails (maybe not every one, but over time they read consistently)
– Rarely file spam complaints
– Actually look forward to hearing from you
– Often reply back to you with their thoughts and questions
– Click links when you ask them too
– Connect with you on a personal level
– Trust YOU as an expert

And of course, buy from you when you have something to offer.

Tomorrow we’ll look at another “secret” for a healthy, happy list.

This one can be a real struggle for a lot of entrepreneurs—but it doesn’t have to be.

Talk soon…

P.S. Note that I did not say, “they don’t unsubscribe.”

A regular stream of unsubscribes is normal and healthy for any email list.

Fear not the Unsubscribe!