How I Lost Over $100K by Neglecting Email
14 May 2013
This is going to be a bit embarrassing...
I am a member of an accountability group. Every month we have a call where we check up on each other, rehash the previous months goals/progress, state our goals for the upcoming month, give each other advice, etc. I LOVE these monthly calls. Really helps to get me focused for the upcoming month.
Today, on our call, I brought up the fact I want to start writing more. Not because I'm a great writer (clearly, I'm not) or because my content is in high demand, but because writing on this blog used to open up the flood gates for other content creation which I used to make some decent money from.
Around 2008 I started selling information products. I've sold a fair share of info products over the years. Some of them were products I created, others were affiliate pitches. I used to read everything I could on copywriting. Long form sales letters, bullet points, headlines, sub-headlines, testimonials, guarantees, PS. blurbs, etc. You name it, I probably read a book about it.
I love that stuff. It's so cool to be able to influence someone, using only words, just enough to pull out a credit card and purchase something. Especially something digital like an info product.
The books of Joe Vitaly, Dan Kennedy, Seth Godin, Jeffrey Gitomer, Joe Sugarman, Bill Glazer, and Claude Hopkins still line my bookshelf. Dusty, but there. I feel like they scream "Hey, fuck you!" every time I look at one of them and think "I should re-read that" but quickly forget that thought and move on to doing something else.. I don't know, spraying WD-40 on my pocket knife or something.
But somehow I got comfortable. Lost my hunger to sell information. I wanted to focus more on software products so I spent more time creating various products that never saw the light of day. Slowly I spent less and less time writing and testing ads for lead generation and more and more time writing software.
Now it's no secret I LIVE to code. I write software every damn day. That will probably never change. It's in my bones. I love it. I flat out love it. I taught myself the C programming language on an old, barely running Linux station back in the mid 90's. I had nothing but man pages, a shitty 14.4 kbps internet connection, and a half ripped book on programming I found at Goodwill (can't remember the name of it) and I never looked back.
Writing code and writing copy are not the same and don't provide the same satisfaction. Same thing as writing a blog post versus writing copy or code. It's all just different. Different goals, different approaches, whatever. It's different.
Anyways, back to how I lost the $100K.
So back when I was "slangin' info" (as we say in the hood) I naturally collected email addresses. Leads, Prospects, Buyers, High interest, freebie seekers, etc. I kept my lists nice and segmented like a good boy. This helped me get the right message to the right person, which obviously helped me sell more product.
I had a formula I followed. I tested various patterns, and when one was more successful than the previous, I moved forward with that. I emailed at certain time of the day for certain lists, other times for others. All guided by test results. It all became so routine.
The more I focused, the more I made. I could consistently see the results of my testing every month. How? More money! Not lots more, but a gain of $50 or $100 was cool to me. I didn't have large numbers (list size) by any means, but this was all from writing, scheduling, and sending email to my subscribers.
By late 2009 I was consistently making around $2500/mo. just from sending email. The problem was I started to have issues with time. I wanted to spend more time coding (work, personal projects, client projects, open source, whatever) and that was cutting into the time I would normally spend on email stuff. My multi-week email efforts turned into once a week, then once every two weeks, once a month, etc. Obviously, I can't sell if I don't pitch. So the money dried up.
I didn't care much because I was so busy with other stuff. Once I realized the situation I thought, what the hell, I'll just pick up where I left off. Of course, it's no where near that simple. Email is like a normal relationship. It takes time to build rapport and trust. Also, I wasn't doing much in terms of marketing so new leads into my funnels were slowing down or all but stopped.
So I left it alone. Mailing out every couple months. Watching sales trickle in.
It got so bad I just stopped mailing all together. I was so embarrassed I removed the opt-in form from this very blog. Why bother? I never mail the list anyways.
Back to tonights accountability call... This came up and I thought about it a bit afterwards. Had I just kept up the minimum requirements to maintain $2500/mo. then that would have been an additional $100+K over the last few years.
I don't know why, but this is really embarrassing to me. I feel like I shouldn't have been so lazy when it came to email or content creation period. I shouldn't have let the skill, as weak as it may have been, die out. Writing software will always come first, but that doesn't mean I can't devote ample time to other things.
So because I'm feeling extra motivated tonight I wrote this blog post. For extra shits and grins, I logged into my AWeber account (been probably 6 months since my last login) to take a look at my subscriber numbers. See for yourself...
Keep in mind, I've been paying for AWeber every damn month, for years, and not sending email. More lost money.
I've got 4,462 people who are still subscribed to my lists. Now a good chunk of them will unsubscribe as soon as I send my next email. Some will report me as a spammer. Some will do both. Hopefully I can keep half of that number.
I got distracted and lost focus. I got lazy. I'm an idiot.
But now the fun part. I still have a list. I get to figure out how I can rebuild my relationship with my remaining subscribers. I get to crack open my old dusty books again. I get to rediscover that excitement and love for writing persuasive words.
Life is good.