Around a year ago, one of my clients got kicked off Aweber.
You might think to yourself that he was in the internet marketing space, or perhaps he was selling something crazy like weight loss or credit cards… or causing troubles with the readers. Truth is, this was a person who saw a 2% increase in complaints from his normal every day list. They were used to seeing a newsletter every 30 days and this was one of the first promotional emails in a while and the spike was un-natural in Aweber’s eyes.
This gentleman’s entire list consisted of churches! His entire list was dedicated to church services.. .and the message wasn’t particularly offensive.. but it’s quite possible that when the email came through.. a few pastors didn’t recognize the sender or the title of the email and it caught them off guard…
Could just 2-3% of your list – in a moment of bad judgement make that mistake?
Well, you can imagine the chest thumping – heart pounding fear that enters a man’s heart when he’s lost 428,000 contacts gathered over seven long years. Let me just say this wasn’t a very pleasant day. After repeatedly calling Aweber and eventually getting through to the customer service folks, there was a glitch or a mistake made and they re-activated the account. Too late…
They’d spooked the horse.
These kinds of days teach you something super valuable. This client got away from a potentially serious situation not having that list, but… others aren’t so lucky. Some people accidentally use an affiliate link, not knowing that some email providers have it against the rules in the fine print. Others have situations like Jim’s where they spook the list with something unexpected and pay the ultimate price.
Even if that had never happened, there was other issues that Aweber users are all-too-familiar with. Each week, this client would painstakingly hunt thru this account looking for contacts he could delete to keep his bills down. Contacts. Customers.
Would YOU want to have to delete hard earned customers just to keep your account affordable? Imagine, the very customers that you work hard.. blood, sweat, tears, frustration.. 3am late nights to get to your website to HOPE they fill out the form and WANT your newsletter… Delete them.. Huh?
Something’s not right here.
So, we started investigating ways we might be able to build something custom from scratch. I called up someone that I used to work with at The Internet Marketing Center. They were used to the technologies needed to mail 800,000+ contacts. What I learned changed my life forever.
Some common myths about self hosted email changed immediately. The biggest myth was that there would be this huge management headache. I’d have to hire a full time coder, a full time list management team or someone to co-ordinate and talk to major ISP’s. I’d have to learn all kinds of technical things and pay huge money to keep a server live. The costs of the servers would be incredible!
Well, far from the truth… Michelle got to work straight away on building an email marketing system that would take his tired list and turn it into a profit machine. We setup in the Amazon cloud which averaged $40/month and bought a few hundred dollars worth of software and an account with a deliverability provider.
Hands down cheaper than Aweber’s $1500 per month
First, the list was separated into several segments. Some being the general list, and some being what we called the “hot” list.
The hostlist was a composite of anyone who had been tracked as a click or an open on the list. If they hadn’t opened or clicked on an email, they remained in the general list. This ensured that we really focused on engaged people and only the people who were really FIRED UP to receive the messages.
The list was mailed as per usual but with emphasis being that promotions went to the hotlist and the newsletter went to the general ‘uningaged’ list. That way if they weren’t interested in our stuff as the hot list was, they’d at least be getting given value and over time we won back over HALF of the 400,000 person list to have a HUGE hotlist.
Since then, that campaign has had mailings that reached over 50% open rates on the hot list when sending the newsletter.
The response has been dramatically increased and the whole system is on autopilot.
Normally, when you setup a self-hosted email system, you have to purge you’re soft bounces, hard bounces, and your spam complaints so that your list remains clean. However, our incredible and super intelligent coder Michelle was able to hack the software, interface the API of our deliverability provider and take care of all these things on AUTOPILOT!
This means our client can literally just mail
and all these tasks are taken care of automatically.
Have you thought about leaving your email provider? Have you considered what it might cost, what benefits it might have or what you might be able to do that you couldn’t before? Would you like to Own Your List?
Feel free to email firstname.lastname@example.org or skype me for a totally free chat on what’s possible.