1. I think you hit the nail on the head when you said, “I have mixed feelings about the Law of Attraction crowd.” Perhaps Joe has experienced this audience as especially susceptible to hype. Tell them that Source invariably responds in like sums when they demonstrate their belief in the Law and in themselves by buying expensive packages, and some people whip out their credit card.

    Great post! I love how you tracked the emails you received.

    • Hi Diana, and welcome!
      I like your style, and I like your site. Your philosophy of direct action demonstrates perfectly my little axiom: “the antidote to attempted attraction is action!”
      I think a lot of folks want to avoid the risks/costs of taking action: it’s so easy to talk ourselves into believing that whipping out that credit card for another course “is” enough action in itself.
      You keep doing what you’re doing!

  2. There is a lot of food for thought here! Two questions come to mind:

    1. What if you have segmented your lists, but have taken (ahem) a while to create the next step on your tiered product funnel? How late is too late to go back to some of those ancient lists and say “hey look at my fabulous new stuff”?

    2. What is a decent open rate? I’ve seen wildly different answers to this question. Interestingly, even when I’ve sent information to non-targeted lists, I get the same open rate as when I send lovely helpful fabulous not-selling-anything content to targeted lists. This could mean a) nobody is really reading anything and the open rate is just fly-bys in the preview window or b) the same people aka my “true fans” are reading everything I send, no matter what it is. c) something else.

    These are the questions that plague my mind…

    – Susan

    • Susan,

      Let’s take a quick, top-of-mind attempt at un-plaguing your list (and mind) ☺

      1. First, it’s never too late to go back to a list and tell them about your fabulous new stuff. But a list segment is created by response, not by the stuff.

      Like most lists, your current segments sound like they’ve been created as you’ve launched products? If so, it sounds like these segments are attached to your action (creating a product), not attached to your reader’s actions (raising their hand to buy the product.)

      A successful list segment is created “organically,” as a direct result of a reader taking their next, natural step by raising their hand to tell you, “Yes, I’m ready.”

      With our lists, I keep my segments focused by using an internal “curriculum” framework; each product, no matter how small, needs to represent a “semester,” and each builds on the last. In order for readers to “be ready” for product C, they need to have raised their hands and purchased product A and B. Each purchase adds that reader to the next segmented ladder, but not until they raise their hand and either opt-in or purchase. Now of course my hyper-responsive readers love jumping ahead and buying product D first, because they can! Which is fine. But for the vast percentage of most lists, readers need stair stepping through your process/ladder.

      Sometimes you’ll want to offer your list something completely different, something from a different “school” entirely. Offer once, ask them to raise their hand by opting-in to be added to the new segment, and then drop it.

      2. Open rate. Short answer: doesn’t matter. Really. Feel free to ignore. (OK, I look, I’ll admit. And I’m unhappy if I get less than 75% open rate . . .) however, until Google invents lasers that scan eyeballs as they read, “opening” an email doesn’t mean it’s been read. It doesn’t mean much.

      I measure click-thrus from an email, and I use them rarely. For most segments, I’ll add ONE action-based link every third or fourth email, and measure, to make sure readers are utilizing that next step. If they aren’t, I create a better next step until click-thrus (considering the next step) and conversions, (taking that step) are a good percentage.

      Track meaningful actions that show forward motion.

      Hope that helps, and thanks for asking!

  3. Hmm…here’s where I get confused.

    My lists in AWeber are opt-ins to free stuff, not paid stuff. So, Joe opts in to attend a teleseminar, receive a newsletter, or get 10 tips to help him do something. He has only raised his hand to get the freebie.

    Here on this site, someone might opt in for the free Blink Test, for example. They haven’t purchased, but they have raised their hand. How does the segment get beyond, “I want the free stuff” to “I’m willing to stair-step up the product ladder”?

    – Susan

    • Hi Susan,

      So if our first two “rules” of segmenting are:
      1. Base each list segment on a topic and a reader action, and
      2. Create opportunities for readers to “raise their hand” by offering next steps up the curriculum ladder, then…

      The third “rule” of Segmenting is all about “strings.”

      In my email eBook I call it the “String Theory of Segmenting,” just for fun.

      It doesn’t matter if Joe opts in for a freebie, or for a paid product. What matters is that:
      a. You are offering Joe a new topic that isn’t already covered in your current mix of topics, and Joe is telling you he’s ready for something new/additional.
      b. You’re sending Joe a string of emails laser-focused on that topic only.
      c. It doesn’t matter if the string lasts for the next two years, what matters is that ALL conversation in that string remains attached to the reader’s original, expressed desire. If not, the string is broken, the interest lost, the reader gone.

      Here’s where classic marketing (briefly) enters the picture: What we’re really talking about is “lead nurturance.” It’s about nurturing readers, based on their expressed desires. And some readers just take years to gain trust (like me with Perry Marshall – two years!)

      Back to the string: One reason the auto-responder series of emails is so great is it allows a continuous “string” of emails about a focused topic. The purpose of this string is that it keeps the reader engaged in your topic, and each email in the string is another opportunity for your reader to say “yes!”

      Problem is, a lot of people drop the ball (errrr, string…) and if/when they pick it up again, they’ve lost the relationship, or the reader has lost interest, or has moved on to another topic, or teacher.

      It doesn’t matter if the string consists of one email a month spanning two years, or one email a week – what matters is that when your reader receives that email, he recognizes the consistency in your “learning track.” He or she says, “Wow, that Susan really knows exactly what I need to know about this topic. I’ve got to white list her, I really love reading Susan!”

      Finally, to your question: How do you get someone to move past the free offer and opt in for the next step? That’s where marketing comes in. The offer has to be a good, targeted offer.

      If your occasional offers are good ones, and they don’t step forward, then they just aren’t ready.

      But yes or no, your string of content stays constant. Here’s a good model we’ve used:
      — Free opt-in.
      — Series of auto-responder emails
      — Offer to take next step
      — If yes, add to next list segment (if another topic), or increase frequency of current segment topic string.
      — If not yet, loosen the string: begin sending emails less frequently; make another offer in a few months, etc.

      Remember the Perry example. He is a master of this: He has “strings” that run for years, and you join another topic stream only after you say yes to a new offer.

      But if I don’t join another string, I enjoy every darned email the man writes.

      Thanks Susan, you’ve inspired me to pull all of this out of the eBook, and write a new post –(ummm, I think I just did…)

      Hope this helped.

  4. Oh my gosh, I think the light is dawning. Joe opts in for another offer (another topic string). Apparently, I needed the visual of string for it to make sense 😉

    Interestingly, because I have had lists for such a long time, I think I’ve done this accidently to some degree. And I finally understand what Perry is doing with the offers he sends. (I’m on his lists too.)

    I’m glad I could help you with your next blog post. Thanks for taking the time to help me work this out in my head!

    – Susan

  5. The emarketing you experienced from Joe Vitale scares me because it cheapens the internet distribution system. As a coach I am embarrassed to be associated with it. But, because they are so vocal, they become the image that consumers have of internet services and products. That being said, I recognize I am to the far other end, which I know is not as effective as it could be.

    I will say that during the past year I have picked up several key clients that have been on my list for a couple of years. They have all credited my blog as the reason. They new from the content what my area of expertise was and already felt connected to me.

    It is a slower pipeline, but feels right.

    Thanks for the excellent tips.

    • Hi Sue,

      Your great comments bring up three thoughts.

      First, there’s not enough written out there about solo professionals finding a business model that “feels right.” Since we’re committed to our businesses for the long term, I think you’d agree this is the *only* viable option.

      Second, those of us growing our businesses through Content and Relationship Marketing may indeed be on the “far other end” of the internet marketing spectrum, and that pendulum is clearly swinging in our direction — some of the biggest names in the biz are scrambling to adopt a content model. But old habits can be hard to break, for some.

      Finally, as you know, “effective” in the near term and effective over the long term are two very different animals. Long after the “churn and burn” crowd have killed several lists, leaving scorched earth (and reputations) in their wake; those who have quietly built meaningful relationships through thoughtful conversations have created leveraged businesses that are genuinely exponential. One of the most thrilling things for me to witness this past year was to watch as some of the worst email offenders crashed and burned, while the genuinely value-based sites rose to take their places, and are flourishing (Copyblogger, etc.).

      You’re on the right path.

  6. Dear Keith,
    While you are not addressing my chosen business I have learned a great deal about it in your writing here, growing my business through content and relationships is the only way to earn respect and gain the confidence of those I deal with.
    You say it like it is, just like you and I were talking face to face, you are a master of communication !

  7. Hi Keith,
    I have been doing everything you recommend except need to segment the people who actually contact me after receiving my autoresponder series, newsletter etc.

    But, my question is regarding the product funnel. My nutritional programs start at 2 months because I see patients with complex conditions like type 2 diabetes. I have offered a few less expensive options in the past such as online group coaching program and inexpensive Webinars but didn’t get the response I wanted. Do you have any other ideas for the product funnel?


    • Hello Christine,

      Ahh, excellent question, and I think you may have your own answer embedded in your question: Segmenting may go a long ways toward improving your conversion.

      I can’t make specific suggestions re: your product funnel as I just don’t know enough about it, but stepping back a bit, conversion is impacted by so many factors, clearly: a few basics, however, would be making sure you’re funneling highly targeted and qualified (and thus receptive) folks via segmentation. Next is the quality of your offer: Always be testing, I split test *everything* with my clients, every offer, component of an offer is split tested with many variables, until a clear winner emerges — and the success of those tests come right back to whom we’re sending to the tests in the first place — are they qualified, are they interested and targeted — have they raised their hands to show interest in this solution?

      Hope that helps.
      Thanks for reading.

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