Big List Energy

does size really matter?

Once people realize the power and value of an email list, they usually become obsessed with growing it as large as possible.

And sure, size DOES matter.

But it’s only one factor of three that determines list value.

I know a couple of people who have millions of subscribers on their lists, but what they are able to do with them is vastly different.

In 2021, I met a guy who claimed to have millions of email addresses.

He built an eCommerce website, and began sending emails promoting the products.

But I was shocked to learn that instead of becoming a kajillionaire, he was barely making ends meet.

Turns out, all those email addresses didn’t voluntarily subscribe to his list.

And, they weren’t very high quality.

As a result, open rates were awful. Sales were worse.

Contrast that with the best email marketers in the game…

Who can make 6 figs per year (or more) with a multi-thousand person list.

What’s the difference?

The best breakdown I’ve heard was given by Sam Parr at the Capitalism Conference in 2021.

(Don’t know Sam? He built an email newsletter called The Hustle and sold it for ~$30 million bucks. He knows a thing or two about big lists.)

Sam told us that the value of your list is the product of 3 factors:

List Size x Subscriber Quality x Your Influence Over Them

Pay attention. If any of those terms is close to zero, then so is the value of your list.

The million-address-list guy had Quality and Influence close to zero, making the list value close to zero. Even though there were a million addresses on it.

But the good news is that if you’re pretty good and ONE of these things, and avoid sucking at the other two, you can get some decent results:

Huge list + decent quality subscribers + fair amount of influence = what Sam Parr did with The Hustle.

Small list + decent quality subscribers + massive influence = what Andre Chaperon did here and is doing again here.

Being good at TWO means your list value goes exponential.

You need to understand each of these three factors, and pick the ONE to focus on (while not sucking at the other two).

I’ve got a couple of posts on list growth coming soon, and I shared some tricks about influence here.

So let’s spend a moment on subscriber quality.

Quite simply, can they afford the things you sell?

You should always have this in mind when creating content and building your list.

It’s important to attract and retain the right kind of people, if you plan to make any money.

I subscribe to a LOT of other newsletters, and one of my current favorites is WriteOn by Joe Portsmouth.

Joe sends about one email per week, and each email can be consumed in about 3 minutes.

If you’re working on improving your own copywriting skills with an emphasis on storytelling, go check out some past issues here, and subscribe if you like what you see.

If you have or want to create something premium and expensive, audience quality is critical.

You control audience quality by how you bring people onto your list.

(Freebies and giveaways attract quantity, not quality.)

Next week, I’ll dive into everyone’s favorite topic, list growth.

Some of you will love it, others will hate it.

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