3 Mailing List Tips That Don’t Work

Mailing List Tips That Can Hurt You

As they say, “the money is in the list.”  If you have a mailing list, you can increase your affiliate marketing earnings.  It’s a bit of trouble to maintain a mailing list, and there’s a lot to know.  You’ll need to find an autoresponder system and learn how to use it.  You’ll have to learn to write email messages and you’ll have to learn how to properly format them to work with your chosen autoresponder.  There’s a lot to know, but there’s also no shortage of information on the Web about how to properly use an autoresponder and a mailing list.

mailing listThe problem is that some of these mailing list tips that are frequently posted here and there aren’t actually helpful, and in some cases, they can even hurt you.  While the ultimate goal of a mailing list is to help you convey whatever messages you choose to the people on your mailing list, making sure that they receive the messages and that the messages have value to them should be paramount.  Sometimes, the mailing list tips offered by so-called “gurus” or “experts” are helpful, but at other times, they’re misleading or counterproductive.  Read on and I’ll explain.

Misleading Mailing List Tips

Listed below are three mailing list tips that I think are going to either hurt you in your marketing efforts or simply won’t be effective.  Even if they don’t do any harm, they’ve wasted your time if you’ve tried to make use of them.  The idea of working with a mailing list, as with anything else, is to be efficient with your time.  If it works, do it.  If it doesn’t then you should move on and spend your time doing something else.


Big autoresponder companies will protect you from spam complaints – This myth is largely spread by the autoresponder companies themselves.  It’s true that the larger autoresponder companies regularly work with the big email providers (Gmail, Hotmail, Yahoo, ATT, etc.) to ensure that the messages from their system get delivered.  The last thing you’d want if you were running a big autoresponder company is to have your IP addresses blocked for spamming, which would effectively make the messages from all of your customers undeliverable.  The big autoresponder companies, such as Aweber or GetResponse, work with the big email providers to make sure that the messages from their customers are deliverable.

mailing listsNote that I said “are delverable” and not “are delivered.”  That’s where the myth kicks in.  Signing up with a big autoresponder is going to make sure that your messages are potentially delivered.  It’s not going to protect you from spam complaints.  If you send out messages with spammy content, your messages are still going to be flagged by the email companies’ spam filters.  Don’t think you can get away with overselling your offers or offering lousy content because your autoresponder company will protect you.  Spammy content is spammy content, and you’ll get flagged for it, regardless of who you’re using for an autoresponder.  If you’re not sure what spammy email messages look like, just browse your own spam folder sometime and read a few messages.

It’s all about the subject line – It’s true that the more your messages get opened, the greater the likelihood that you’ll see positive results.  Because of this, a lot of the so-called gurus will recommend that you spend a great deal of the time that you spend on your mailing list creating great subject lines for your message.  Remember, though – a subject line alone isn’t going to motivate someone to take action.  It’s the content that’s going to do that, and a great subject line, followed by lousy content, isn’t going to persuade anyone to do anything.

Personally, I don’t worry too much about my subject lines.  I try to make them snappy and I try to make them relevant, but I don’t spend too much time on them.  What I try to concentrate on is the content itself, which I always write myself.  If you’re promoting a product and the creator provides pre-written email messages, take the time to rewrite them.  They’re usually pretty spammy or over the top, anyway.  Often, they’ll start with something like, “I just saw the new product from Joe Smith, and I was totally blown away!”  I’m rarely “blown away” by any marketing product, so I’m not going to lie to my mailing list about it.  Send honest messages, and make sure the message is just as good as the subject line.

mailing listSingle optin builds a bigger list – When you’re creating a mailing list, some autoresponder companies will allow you to choose whether your list is created with “single optin” subscribers or “double optin” subscribers.  With single optin, your subscriber fills out a form, provides their email address, and they’re automatically on the list.  With double optin, they fill out a form, provide their email address, and then have to click a link in an email message to confirm that they want to subscribe.

Statistically, a surprisingly large number of people who subscribe to a double optin mailing list don’t ever click the confirmation link, so some people think that they’d do better to simply use single optin.  While single optin may produce a bigger mailing list, it won’t necessarily produce a better mailing list.  There are several potential problems with using a single optin mailing list:

  • Your list could have some subscribers who are simply bots.
  • Your list could have nonexistent subscribers due to mistyped addresses.  This can cost you money if you pay your autoresponder company based on the size of your mailing list.
  • You could end up with people on your list who never subscribed.  With single optin, it’s possible to put someone else’s address on the mailing list.  You could then end up with a bunch of spam complaints.

Most autoresponder companies, such as GetResponse or Aweber, use double optin by default, though you can use single optin on request.  Others, such as Trafficwave, do not allow single optin at all.  While single optin may produce a bigger mailing list, the fake names and spam complaints are going to be a nuisance.  Stick with double optin and accept the slightly lower number of subscribers.

Mailing List Tips Summary

Maintaining a mailing list is a bit of work.  There’s a lot to know and a lot to learn.  Some of what you need to know will come with trial and error.  Just remember that not all tips or suggestions are going to lead to better results.


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