If you are crushing it in the online marketing space, it’s likely that you have a big list and have learned that big = more expensive for many of the tools you need to use.
Welcome to the big leagues! You’ve made it! Now act like it kiddo.
(This article is an ever developing analysis as tool features are added and the race to be the best in the online marketing tools space is fast and furious. I’m seriously impressed with how many great tools are out there. So expect this to be an active and updated article as we watch the race.)
Currently the email marketing tool niche has so many players you can probably name 3 right now I’ve never heard of. Awesome. Because that means there is a big need and competition refines each other with better results for YOU and ME, the business owners.
One of the first hurdles I’ve seen those who have grown their list to 10k+ come upon are the costs of these email tools.
Suddenly over Black Friday weekend, you’ve got a big explosion and you’re hit with multiple $99 charges for email sends.
Or you launch this amazing free challenge and add 14,000 subscribers in 5 days (no income yet, just subscribers) and it bounces you up a tier in pricing +$300 / a month.
The cost of these tools can easily reach $1000 / month when you are sending 100,000 or more emails.
Hopefully if you are at this level of business you are making five figures a month minimum and can absorb the costs like it’s nothing. Still, the wealthiest people I know watch their dollars closely and know they can optimize this spend.
Here are 5 tips to optimize your contact size and email send volume to maximize the value of your email marketing tool costs
Tip 1: Scrub your list and reduce the size
But I worked so hard for all those followers! Yes. Yes you did. Let it go, Elsa. The person who subscribed 2 years ago may have moved on in life and no longer needs your product. Perhaps you even have duplicate contacts. The same person with different email addresses or old emails that constantly bounce.
Tip 2: Segment your list by most engaged
Create a group / tag / list of contacts within your tool that are the most engaged and send your campaigns primarily to them as opposed to the full list.
“Most engaged” could mean:
- Have opened at least one email in the past 60 days
- Have clicked any link in the past 3 months
- Have opened / clicked key emails / links in your bread and butter automated email funnels
- Have purchased a product from you in the past 6 months
Tip 3: Segment by Asking Your List What They Want
You could ask by subject matter that pertains to your topic.
Example: If your topic is cooking related, ask if they are a beginnger, intermediate or advanced chef. Or if they prefer chicken or beef. Or if they are cooking for 1, 2 or 6.
Or ask them what medium they prefer to receive content from you.
Would they prefer a facebook click through instead of another email? Segment based on where they came from. And….set some facebook retargeting to reach those who are all over facebook. If you can reduce your email tool costs by $300 / month, take that dollar amount and apply it to Facebook ads, marketing the same content, to the segment of your list who primarily comes to you through facebook.
Ask them if they would mind if you moved to a twice a month instead of weekly send.
You could also segment automatically based on their actions. Product purchaser. Blog reader. Facebook skimmer.
Tip 4: Simplify. Reduce funnels, products, opt-ins and programs
Eliminate your lowest performing funnel / opt-in or product. Now if it’s the lowest performing it may not reduce your email send volume by a lot but I’ve had a peek into some of your all’s cluttered up email marketing closets and chances are you’ve got some skeletons hanging around out there that need to go away.
Is there an ugly opt-in and ebook you made 2 years ago before we had all these fancy nancy tools? Ditch it (or temporarily shut it down and put it on the “to be updated” project list.)
Is there a product that brings you more stress and less dollars? Eliminate it.
You know the 80/20 rule. 80% of the results comes from 20% of the __________. Apply this in whatever way makes sense for your market.
(And listen to this tough love….if you are thinking “but I have 27 digital products and all of them sell something!” Trust me on this simplification thing. What you focus on thrives. There’s no way you can market 27 digital products unless you have a big team and have segmented your team into specialization areas. No ones brain works well on 27 different topics AND it’s probably harder for your ideal client to find what they need as well.)
Tip 5: Analyze Email Send Frequency and Top Opens / Engagement times and topics to reduce the number of emails you are sending
What time of day / week / month are your emails getting the most opens? Eliminate the low openers and focus in on the hot times.
Do you have a 10 part drip campaign but emails 5 and 7 barely get opens? Re-evaluate that message and eliminate or consolidate.
There is no “right answer” here so if you feel constrained, by all the “send emails on Tuesdays at 6 am EST” messages you see online, do a fact check on your metrics. The question is what works for YOUR audience. If you are targeting moms of little kids, an 8 pm email send could be perfectly timed right at the top of their inbox when they sit down for the evening and a little “me time”.
So, there are a lot of possible actions there. I know what that means. You’re overwhelmed and don’t know where to start.
Look at YOUR data. And pick 2 low hanging fruits to get started.
If this is not in your bag of tricks, outsource it.
Fudge. I think I need a new email tool.
Did reading this make you realize you may be overspending?
Don’t want to dig through all the latest tools / options / feature comparisons?
Are you in the big leagues but haven’t yet stepped up to the big kid table with your tool?
Here’s a spreadsheet we keep updated with tools we feel are worthy of being on your radar and meet needs across the spectrum of online businesses.
It’s free. (Send us your thoughts if you’d like us to add more criteria or tools for analysis!)