Most people have heard that email marketing can be a very effective tactic to drive leads and sales.  However, there’s one problem with the examples we hear over and over again…

The case studies are typically about enormous lists of 100,000+ engaged subscribers.  By engaged, I mean they are already actively opening and clicking on the emails the business is sending.

Sound familiar?  When you hear those stories, you probably get excited because the stats are so impressive, but then you likely get depressed when you realize your email list is not that big and/or not that engaged… And by not that engaged, I mean you may have a list that you’ve never emailed before.

But don’t worry! Email marketing can still be very effective even if you have a tiny list and/or a completely cold list.  I’ll even prove it to you with these 2 case studies…

Case Study #1: Don’t Underestimate a Small List

Since we’ve all been brainwashed into believing we need enormous lists of tens of thousands to hundreds of thousands of subscribers, we naturally underestimate small lists.

For example, do you think it’s even worth emailing a list of 45 contacts?  

I bet your first thought was, “No.  It’s not worth the effort to write and send an email to a list that small.”  In fact, many businesses make that decision every single day.

By making that false assumption, you’re leaving money on the table! How much money? Based on my experience, you could be missing out on over $1,000.  That’s how much one of our clients, a chiropractor in San Francisco, generated from a list of merely 45 prospective patients.

We didn’t do anything fancy either.  We simply drafted and sent a 3-part email sequence to the 45 contacts to promote a 50%-off first time patient “Summer Tune-Up” service.  The campaign had a defined start and end date so we announced the promotion, sent a reminder a week later, and then a final reminder right before the deadline.

Oh and I should mention these emails were 100% text with no graphical design.  If you can type a basic email, then you can run this email promotion to your own list.  It really was that simple and our client was able to bring in just over $1,000 in new business from only 45 contacts.

OK, I’ll admit the list of 45 contacts were not cold.  The contacts had heard of our client because they filled out a contact form on the website.  That brings us to the next case study…

Case Study #2: It’s Never Too Late To Start

If you have a list (big or small) that you rarely email or haven’t emailed in several years, then you’re going to like this case study.

We worked with an e-commerce company that had an email list of about 14,000 customers. When I first heard that number my ears certainly perked up.  However, later I learned that the vast majority of those customers were over 2 years old and hadn’t heard from our client for that entire time.  

In other words, this list was ice cold!  There was a very good chance the customers didn’t even remember our client’s brand or product.

Here’s what we did to overcome this problem…

First, we ran what I call a “Warm Up” campaign.  This was a series of just 2 emails that re-introduced our client’s company, reminded the customers about the product they had purchased 2 years ago, explained that we’ll be staying in touch more frequently now via email, and most importantly, provided an easy way to opt out so we didn’t follow up with anyone that did not want any more of our client’s emails.

Sure, we lost a fair chunk of our list that didn’t want to receive any more emails, but that’s the price you pay for not staying in touch for over 2 years.  

From that point forward, we knew we had a warmed up list that actually wanted to receive more emails from our client.

Next, it was time to run an email promotion.  In this particular case, our client had refurbished products they wanted to sell at a discount ($99) over the brand new product (regularly $299).  This was a straight forward discount promotion we ran over 4 days, similar to the case study above.  

We announced the promotion to the list, sent a reminder, and then followed up right before the deadline.  After the dust settled, we tallied up more than $20,000 in sales!  Not too bad considering just a few weeks prior to the promotion our client thought their list was worthless. :)

I hope you can see from these two examples that no list is too small or too cold to generate sales.  With those excuses out of the way, it’s time to take action!

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