If you've spent any amount of time in business, you've probably heard some variation of this statement... and it's true.
Your list is the life's blood of your business. It's your best vehicle for building relationships with the largest number of prospects and customers, and the most successful vehicle for marketing your products and services.
Other fads may come and go, but the mailing list will always be there.
As such, its important to regularly take measure of your list and make sure it's performing the way it should.
If it is, great! You can then build on that.
If it isn't, then you have to take steps to correct the problem.
3 different metrics you should use to measure your list performance:
1. List Growth
At minimum, you should be adding one new subscriber per day to your mailing list. If you're not doing that, ultimately, you won't be able to replace customers who leave your business with new ones.
If you're not meeting this minimum benchmark, you should look at the onsite and offsite marketing you're using to drive people to your sign up form, as well as the incentive you're offering in exchange for their information.
2. List Responsiveness
Basically, what percentage of people on your list are actually opening your emails? You want this number to be at least 40%, but 60% or higher is ideal.
When you look at this number, make sure you're looking at 'unique' opens, rather than total opens. Unique opens only counts each subscriber one time. Total opens would count five opens by the same person as five. Obviously, unique opens is a more accurate reflection of your list responsiveness.
If you're not hitting this metric, look at the number of new subscribers per month, your subject line (which you should be split-testing anyway), your spam score and your mailing frequency.
3. List Performance
This is a measurement of the percentage of people on your list who respond to an email by clicking a link, writing a reply or (most critical) making a purchase.
Your goal should be to generate revenue and profit for your business EVERY TIME you send out an email. If you're not currently able to do that, it could be for several reasons.
You'll want to look at your list growth, list responsiveness, information/solicitation split in your emails and whether or not you're offering things your list subscribers want to actually purchase.
Meeting these three measurements is key to your business' overall success. If you're not currently meeting one or more of them, you're definitely leaving money on the table.
The good news is, any and all of these issues can be fixed. It's not an overnight fix, but if you begin addressing some of the potential problems I outlined above, you should start seeing things move in the right direction fairly soon.