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The biggest social media mistake I’ve ever made.

I have made many mistakes related to my use of social media. I have been a jerk to people. I have been passive aggressive. I have said and done some very stupid things. But in 13 years of writing online, there is one mistake I regret the most.

Want to hear it?

So, in the last 6 years, I’ve had about 7 million people read my blogs. That is awesome, I am blown away by that. Very cool.

Given that traffic, what would you guess my email list is? That is, how many people do you think I have encouraged to sign up for my email list? If I was successful at getting 10% to sign up, then I have 700,000 people on my mailing list! But let’s say I wasn’t.

Let’s say only 5% did. That’s still a pretty low conversion rate, but it’s not horrible. That’s 350,000 people. That’s legit. Pretend I did a really bad job though, maybe only 2.5% of people signed up for my mailing list. That’s still 175,000 people. That’s a lot of people! Well, the truth is, the number is a lot lower than that. In fact, it’s almost half. I have 100,000 people on my mailing list. (I am so out of touch with it that when I initially published this post I had the wrong number, 90,000, in it.) Why does that number matter? I didn’t realize it did until my blogs were down for a month. Can you imagine how much easier it would have been during that month if I had an active, well put together email list?

I could have sent out daily posts. I could have encouraged people with new ideas and challenges. I could have had a lot of fun. Instead, I just had to tweet and hope that a month of silence would make people forever stop reading. Email matters. People don’t change their email addresses. Facebook, Twitter, Google+, people join and drop that pretty often. But changing your email address is a hassle. That’s why you still have friends with AOL and Hotmail accounts. I’m not going to link to my email sign up in this post because otherwise it would seem like that was secretly the point.

And it’s not. The point of this is two folds:
1. If you have a dream that requires other people to be successful, which every dream does, focus on creating value for your email subscribers. I didn’t and regret it.
2. I am going to find the absolute best email marketing company and absolutely crush it in 2014. Promise.

Question: Have you done a good job focusing on email?

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Jon Acuff
Jon Acuff

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63 Comments

  1. Jon,
    I enjoy getting your blog posts via email. The rss-to-email feature of MailChimp seems to be super slick and the way to go. We’d like to do something similar for parents at our church. We will blog the kids content from Sundays and give them the option to subscribe to get that content via email. We’re getting stuck on optimizing our WordPress posts and images and our MailChimp templates so that they are optimized for mobile devices. Whoever worked with you did a fantastic job. Would you mind passing along their contact information if they are available for hire?
    Thanks,
    Ryan

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