Why I’ve Deleted 30,000 Leads

When you’re starting out in the Internet marketing, an often advice you hear is “build a list” and “money is in the list”. I have too and I’ve followed the advice, I’ve signed up with Aweber and started building lists. I’ve amassed quite a list of subscribers at over 30,000 over the years. And yesterday I’ve deleted them all and canceled my Aweber account.

If you follow the general IM advice you must be thinking I’m insane. I believe in general it’s considered that a single lead is worth at least $1 a year and that’s 30,000 of them. I’ve just thrown $30k/year out the window, what’s wrong with me? Not so fast.

You see, general “truths” like “money is in the list” have a flaw and that is that the devil is in the details. Money is not in just any list, it is in the list of customers. And that’s not just a rule that comes from IM, it’s common business sense – you need customers to sell. And that’s the tricky part.

The general idea of list building in IM is to put up a squeeze page, give away a freebie and collect emails that way. Almost every guru tells you to start doing it as soon as possible because, well, money is in the list! You can then send them promotions and make money even if you don’t have any product to sell – you can send affiliate offers. Oh yes, the affiliate offers.

Now let me ask you a question. Do you like getting all those ridiculous emails from affiliates, all 159 of them every single day? Then why would you want to join their ranks? The matter of fact is, if the subscribers aren’t your customers you’re just spamming them. And everyone hates spammers.

So I’ve amassed a list. I can count on my fingers how many broadcasts I’ve sent to it over the years, and every time I felt terrible. I tried to make them as “soft” as possible, add as much value as I could and never push a sale. Obviously that didn’t convert well and I haven’t made any money at all. And even if I had been pushing hard and spamming like there’s no tomorrow, I’d have made very little but lost a ton of karma points.

So to cut the ever growing bill from Aweber I’ve thrown the supposed $30k worth of leads to the bin and cut the agony.

The matter of fact is that you only need a list of customers when you have customers, i.e. when you have products or services. I don’t have any products or services and I don’t want to have them. My business model is creating websites and earning from affiliate programs and advertising. I’ve chosen it because I’ve tried doing both and nothing beats the passive income that such websites generate without having to deal with support. Hence, I don’t need a list.

And my advice is, don’t build a list just for the sake of building a list. If you don’t have a base of customers to make a list of, don’t make a list. The last thing you want is paying a bill for the storage of a bunch of worthless email addresses and much less spamming them.

Oh and did I say all those pop-ups and forms asking you to opt-in for something are just plain annoying? Glad to finally get rid of those from my sites.

11 Responses

  1. Where did you get your 30,000 leads? If you bought them then I’d suspect they’d be worth less than garbage. If you built that list over the years only to have no success than I feel terrible for you.

  2. admin says:

    I have built it over the years. But having no products to sell and hating to spam people does that to you.

  3. should’ve given those leads to me…i have no problem “spamming” people…it’s only spam if you pitch them right away, and peddle cheap products to them. I’m sure i could find at least 5000 quality leads out of that 30,000. ::shakes head::

  4. Steven Bell says:

    People on the list know they can choose to opt-out. If they haven’t, they must have had some interest in what you were saying.

    You probably should have pushed the envelope a bit, and recommended something you thought would be useful to them. If you’re marketing, especially to other marketers, people know it’s a business and the value you’re providing is in exchange for at least considering something you’re promoting.

    Also, with a list that big there’s a middle ground. You can send out a poll and ask what kind of products and services they’re interested in. Then transfer individuals into more focused lists that would be more welcoming of certain types of products or services.

    Anyhow, you have an awesome site here, and if you’re making good money passively, I guess you know what you’re doing…

  5. admin says:

    Yeah, see, to do it the right non-spammy way you have to treat them as your customers. If they’ve signed up for a free educational ebook then they are your students that might pay for education or relevant tools if you take care of them. The taking care of them part is key. If you do a half-assed job like I did you’re not going to make money from it. But if I wanted to do that I’d still be running my little software shop.

    Thanks for all your comments.

  6. Hats off to you! I have been on the receiving end of all the SPAM emails since I started my adventure to understand IM. Before I started signing up for those ‘splash’ pages, I typically received 10-30 emails per day. I had NO spam.

    Today, I have had to abandon my old email. Last count I had over 10,000 spam emails. What is worse is that the IM spammers are becoming flat our RUDE in their approach. The subject lines are outrageous, and the content is nonsense.

    If you think email marketing will gain you respect as a marketer, think again! I find that the good gurus have quality emails and limit them to 1 per month. It is easy to tell the newbies who don’t care about keeping my business.

    Originally, I signed up for 1 or 2 programs via the email spam, but I recall both programs were a total waste of time and had NO quality content… cancel and REFUND. I don’t know what percentage sticks, but I am sure that the cancel rate is very high.

    I have over 25 years traditional sales and marketing experience… rule number 1 is treat your customers like gold. I promise you will lose respect and lose all of your good customers if your only approach is to spam people every third day.

    Seriously, there are so many others professional ways to earn money via the internet. Have respect for yourself and others and STOP the spam!

    Thanks for deleting your list! You now have my interest as a quality website to follow.

  7. Procket says:

    What a fascinating discussion. 30K list expunged. Sounds like a cardinal sin of IM from what I’ve gathered. And going with your conscience; what a unique view, and maybe a cardinal sin also. Joking, I think? The cash is in the list, after all. Now pummel ’em.

    As a newbie I’ve been researching and opting in to numerous offers and most of them offer free downloads or $1 trials and they tell you very little about the expense that follows. Buy lists, sales funnels (love that term, funnel), squeeze pages, auto-responders, SEO, etc on the back end sales. And of course the endless trail of emails selling other products from their associates/affiliates, which they themselves may have never used, just collect commissions on.(I know, it takes money to make money, but many of these products are just up-sells). I ask myself if that’s the kind of business I want to duplicate. I hate an inbox full of constant selling, selling, selling of stuff I get nominal info about and end up canceling anyway when I actually see these products. That’s why I have an email just for this junk. Glad I did this..

    So I’m guessing IM is a slow tedious process that involves many years of trial and error to actually produce a business to be proud of. Wading through all the affiliate products to see if a handful actually deliver as promised, I guess, seems to be the road forward, as I have no product of my own yet.

    Can anyone give an updated (7/2012 or so) experience on all these “Commission” products out there, many from the same person/group. In 15 minutes your making $100 to $500 a day and all that jazz. And they’ve made millions and just want to give back to you for $37-$47. (I’m catching on to that price point real quick). Are there legit “done for you” programs that really work and have a chance at some income? Putting a whole campaign together yourself seems to be quite a daunting task. How about PPMarketing, Kevin Fahey? Got some offers from him. Anyone use it? Just heard about FIVERR; have to check them out.

    Anyway, I’ve tried the “payday, try an offer” sites and see nothing there for free I want to try much less pay for a trial offer. How many credit reports or satellite TV services or credit card approvals can I possibly use? I know, get others involved with the same drivel and make money from them. Reviewing products for cash; the same thing. Try something I have no interest in for a price; review it on some click button form, then get paid, deduct what I’ve paid and see all the profit. Ok, works for some I suppose.

    Thanks for reading this far; kinda wordy. I would appreciate some honest feedback from people really wanting to help. If you have a product for sale that really delivers, I’ll check it out. It’d be nice to build relationships as opposed to being pulled through a funnel.Ouch…

  8. admin says:

    Thanks for the comment. I can give you some tips:

    – The IM products lately have really gone down hill, I can think of maybe one product from the past year that is worth anything, so be cautious about new products and avoid them if you can
    – “Done for you” to put it bluntly is a scam, always was, always will be, so avoid at all costs
    – You’re right about the kind of business you have to replicate in order to make good money in IM business. Few make it honestly and the odds are you have to go rogue, unfortunately
    – So, you won’t ever make much by following IM programs that show you how to make money via various IM tricks
    – Instead think long term business, think outside IM, think real services or products you can provide or real valuable blog/authority site you can create. It’s hard to make money honestly in IM and most money is outside the IM business

  9. I couldn’t disagree with you more on this because I know for a fact your wrong. Internet marketing is ALWAYS a numbers game, ALWAYS! It doesn’t matter if its a customer list or a subscriber list, if you have enough you will always make money from it.
    Think about it logically. Why do you think you still get tons of spam in your spam folder every single minuet of every day? It’s because the real spammers are still making money from it even though 99% of people know never to trust a spam email. Nobody would be sending manhood enhancer spam and Nigerian presidents office spam if they didn’t make money from it. It’s always a numbers game.
    Yes obviously, a customer list is always going to get a higher percentage of sales simply because you’ve sold to the before. (well unless your product was a complete rip off)
    With IM subscriber list’s, people double opt-in to receive emails from someone and EVERY email sent has an unsubscribe option at the bottom so I don’t believe most people get hacked off by the emails lists they’ve opted into as much as you might think. I’m guessing that’s your PERSONAL experience but if they annoyed you so much why not just opt-out, it’s super easy to do.

    Also, theres an art to sending emails en-mass and 70% of that is getting the subject line right. Andy Jenkins and Frank Kern are the best at this. 20% is down to the quality of content you consistently provide. The best at this, in my opinion is the Envato newsletter because EVERY email they send contains free graphics, free themes, tools etc one item from each of their marketplace sites and that’s genius. As soon as I see an email from Envato I ALWAYS open it every single time and I would put money on it that they have a 80% read rate and just as high for people visiting their websites from the email too.

    In regards to your experience with sending out emails to your list, the softly, softly approach already makes me feel like you have a lack of confidence. That’s not an insult it’s just an observation because think about it, who is going to want to buy a product from someone that hasn’t got the courage to really push that item and really rave about it. Being apologetic never sells anything, in fact, this is one of the golden marketing rules because 90% of the time as IM’er we have to tell people why they want something. If we can’t convince ourselves as sellers how can we convince a potential customer?

    Finally, when writing the copy for an email to your list you have to get yourself in the right frame of mind. A great technique is to image you have a product that is so amazing your super excited to be able to tell people about it. Imagine you have a product so earth shattering that EVERYONE would love it. Imagine your living in the 1980’s and your about to offer an iPhone to your list – This is the state of mind you need to get yourself into, then you will stand a better chance at making sales.

    So, as I said, its ALWAYS a numbers game and the money is ALWAYS in the list. Mobile numbers are the new money maker now though. Theres much more potential in a text message but even so, I would never get rid of my list, EVER.
    Wish you would have given me your 30K list as I would have given you 50% of everything I made.

  10. admin says:

    I’m not sure what you disagree with. The fact that I’ve deleted the list, or that I said you had to treat your list as your customers? That’s basically the two main points I made in the post.

    What worries me is that you make it sound like it’s ok to spam people because it’s a numbers game and it works. It is not ok to spam people. Worse yet, by peddling the crap most IMers peddle you also scam them. If you don’t think people are annoyed by this browse around the comments on product reviews on this blog – I have to read them every day. Go to warrior forums and other IM forums, scam report sites, etc. People are annoyed.

  11. alex says:

    yes i agree with the author the list is not the b all and end all, just look at the high street the top three companies are always trying new techniques to get NEW customers. they already have the original customers and the only way to keep them is to be loyal to them and stop trying to sell them crapp.click bank is full of how to make money crapp items.
    my list i keep private never swap them or trade them they are my customers that have genetically come to me.
    the so called marketing gurus are so full of b.s. its untrue.
    if you are a proffessional closer and you buy a list of proven buyers (leads) then you may make some sales, only if you understand selling also asking the customer for the order in ways that thay are happy to give you thier hard earned cash.
    i was cold calling for many years it amassed me a fortune, my own personal techniques of selling can not be done on the net if they could be then i would be able to make anyone a fortune.
    i dont need a list either, infact put me outside a shopping precint with my choice of wares to sell and i would clean up on a daily basis.
    all businesses need new and more customers then the true art is knowing how to sell.
    the answers to getting customers are right under your nose in the high street, so don’t buy all of the b.s. traffic getting over used click bank crapp use your own intelligence and start winning, another tip is be honest and keep your customers happy they are the best advertising that you can get.

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