Has listbuilding lost it's effectivness?

45 replies
Listbuilding has proven difficult anymore because people just are not willing to give up their email addresses for freebies, but what's worse is i'm noticing for 2 of my lists that they have a 0% open rate! Am I doing something wrong, or has listbuilding lost it's effectivness?
#effectivness #listbuilding #lost
  • Profile picture of the author J.M.Wilson
    No it most certianly has not, quite the opposite!

    It's lost it's effectiveness if you try and push the same junk everyone else has tried pushing which has led to consumers being wary about giving their email addresses.

    However, if you offer REAL value consumers will be more than willing to part with their email. Offer REAL value and they will be more than willing to part with their cash too.
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    • Profile picture of the author jerem25
      So what's your opinion on having a 0% open rate? I can't see why people would sign up and not read the emails unless they where just in it for the giveaway.
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      • Profile picture of the author J.M.Wilson
        Originally Posted by jerem25 View Post

        So what's your opinion on having a 0% open rate? I can't see why people would sign up and not read the emails unless they where just in it for the giveaway.
        Many people are just in it for the giveaway. Most people are in it for the giveaway. Do you think they give you their email address and then can't wait for your emails so they can open them up, whip out the credit card and start sending money your way?

        Try thinking like someone who is on your page...

        1. Why should they give you their email address.
        2. What should you do to make them feel like they were right in giving you it.
        3. What they want or need from you in the future.
        4. How you can make money from that want or need.

        Don't assume they want to hear from you because you gave them a freebie. Once they are on your list it's your aim to make them WANT to hear from you.

        That's my experience anyway, you may want to choose something completely different.
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    • Oh come on you people, especially J.M.Wilson who thinks ... 'it most certianly has not, quite the opposite!'.

      J.M.Wilson either started working online a couple of hours ago or just hasn't got a clue.

      Of course its not as effective, any one in touch will know this.


      Email has existed since the very birth of the Internet, yet despite the massive changes and development of new technologies, standards and expertise very little has been done to retain email’s past reliability and efficiency resulting in today’s lost communication, lower click throughs, dwindling enquiries and most importantly diminishing revenue and profits.

      Millions of online companies around the World have seen revenues dip as a direct result of these email delivery problems.



      As more and more people and generations arrive on the internet so more and more are driven to the use of email by the big players such as Google and Yahoo. But email was better suited to the way we used to use the Internet—logging off and on, checking our messages in bursts. Now, we are always connected, whether we are sitting at a desk or on a mobile phone. The always-on connection, in turn, has created a host of new ways to communicate that are much faster than email, and more fun.

      With the ability of spammers to hijack your subscribers email address and for ISPs to choose what they want you to read the situation grows worse by the day.

      A big area of our business has or at least used to be based on building huge lists of newsletter subscribers for different subject matters and interests eager to read our content.

      In the past we’ve been lucky enough to deliver twice weekly newsletters to more than 1,000,000 subscribers and with the enviable joy of being able to attract over 1,500 fresh new subscribers on a DAILY basis.

      With the potential for each one of these to be a buying customer, the capacity to generate sales was immense.

      And we weren’t alone; thousands of companies enjoyed this very same unique experience.

      And it sounds great doesn’t it… well it was great, at least it was until some point in 2006 when we started to feel the affects of the internet getting clogged with spam.

      From as early as 2004 the term ‘Email Bankruptcy’ has been used when a an email user decides enough is enough and lets everyone know they have decided to close an e-mail account due to an overwhelming receipt of garbage, spam messages, compared to legitimate messages.

      Unbelievably the same situation exists today, do a search for ‘Email Bankruptcy’ and you’ll find millions of blogs reporting Email Bankruptcy.

      It was inevitable that the big players, ISPs, email service providers such as hotmail, Microsoft, yahoo, aol and Gmail had to do something to stem the menace. Their only recourse was to set up inaccurate and at best misleading detection systems to decide if you were sending spam.


      It was inevitable that legitimate email senders would get caught in the trap.

      It’s was no longer just a matter of getting your messages out, that’s the easy part, it’s now far, far harder to get those messages opened, let alone read.

      In fact younger companies who have appeared in more recent years know no better than to receive 10% email opening rates with even lower click through rates.

      But wait a minute, did you know that just 5 short years ago the industry average for email opening rates stood at 42.5%.

      That’s a huge, massive difference. If… as with 99% of online companies you factor in an element of your revenues and profits from your newsletters and email communication, if things had stayed the same your company could be earning over 4 times as much, that’s over 4 times as much straight to your bottom line.

      As already suggested we saw the writing on the wall, the inevitable break up and dissection of a once reliable and efficient communication tool known as email.

      The decine started years ago and it's not about to not stop.

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      • Profile picture of the author Dan C. Rinnert
        Originally Posted by Internet_Corporation View Post

        From as early as 2004 the term 'Email Bankruptcy' has been used when a an email user decides enough is enough and lets everyone know they have decided to close an e-mail account due to an overwhelming receipt of garbage, spam messages, compared to legitimate messages.
        Well, as soon as we've gotten rid of all the lawyers, spammers are next on the list.

        Or, maybe they should be moved ahead in the queue?
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        • Originally Posted by Dan C. Rinnert View Post

          Well, as soon as we've gotten rid of all the lawyers, spammers are next on the list.

          Or, maybe they should be moved ahead in the queue?
          You'll never stop them, lawyers or the spammers, as long as people fall for the offers in the spam then the spammers will continue to evolve until email is no longer a useful communication medium.

          In my opinion we are already there.
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          • Profile picture of the author bryansarnold
            Jeff,

            Specifically to your question about your 0% sign up. People probably don't know who you are nor do they necessarily respect you cuz your name isn't out there like other marketers. So show em what you got! You can have maybe some points of reference about things you've done or places where they can find you. Also offer your help on the landing page so they know that when they've signed up, you won't just pile drive them with countless offers (well, maybe a lil). Let them know that you'll help them out anyway you can and leave an email.

            Two Things: Build up your Brand and Build up your lead magnet Offer...

            And no...Listbuilding has not lost it's effectiveness. It will always be the core of your online business.
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          • Profile picture of the author J Bold
            Originally Posted by Internet_Corporation View Post

            You'll never stop them, lawyers or the spammers, as long as people fall for the offers in the spam then the spammers will continue to evolve until email is no longer a useful communication medium.

            In my opinion we are already there.
            Bit of an overstatement, don't you think? Email has certainly changed but it's not gone, at all. I still use email every day in my personal and professional life.

            It may have changed, but you just have to change with it. There are many people still making great money from their email lists. Yeah, spam didn't used to be a problem and people could make more money per email lead on average, is that your point? Same with a lot of things, doesn't mean it still can't be used effectively and if you're smart you can't do better than the averages by doing things differently.

            I get the best results from list building than I do from anything else so I'm just going to have to say it's not all doom and gloom for me, in this area.
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          • Profile picture of the author scrofford
            Originally Posted by Internet_Corporation View Post

            You'll never stop them, lawyers or the spammers, as long as people fall for the offers in the spam then the spammers will continue to evolve until email is no longer a useful communication medium.

            In my opinion we are already there.
            Wrongo again! Email will ALWAYS be a useful communication medium. Lawyers and spammers don't have to affect what YOU do in your business and whether you are successful with certain techniques. You just have to think outside the box and when it comes to list building, make sure the perceived value standard is much higher for you as far as your give away.

            People will unsubscribe from the spammers but if they like what you are giving them, they will subscribe...it doesn't matter what others are doing.
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            • Originally Posted by scrofford View Post

              Wrongo again! Email will ALWAYS be a useful communication medium. Lawyers and spammers don't have to affect what YOU do in your business and whether you are successful with certain techniques. You just have to think outside the box and when it comes to list building, make sure the perceived value standard is much higher for you as far as your give away.

              People will unsubscribe from the spammers but if they like what you are giving them, they will subscribe...it doesn't matter what others are doing.
              Get with it man, listen to what I am saying, of course spammers affect what you do in your business, years ago you didn't have to spam proof your out going emails, you didn't have to pander to ISPs to allow your emails to get through and you certainly didn't have to pay staff just to delete spam from their inbox.

              You are missing the point completely, both in your replies to my posts And to the originator of the thread.

              The source of the 'article' as you put it is 100% my own words.

              My company spent close to $100k developing software as an alternative platform for delivery of information. The 'article' is part of a presentation document (written by and not taken from the internet) prepared to secure additional venture capital funding.

              Obviously the facts are taken from reliable resources.

              If you still think email is still as effective as it was 8, 7, 6, or 5 years ago or even 2 years ago you are clearly deluded or only just discovered the internet!
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      • Profile picture of the author scrofford
        Originally Posted by Internet_Corporation View Post

        Oh come on you people, especially J.M.Wilson who thinks ... 'it most certianly has not, quite the opposite!'.

        J.M.Wilson either started working online a couple of hours ago or just hasn't got a clue.

        Of course its not as effective, any one in touch will know this.


        Email has existed since the very birth of the Internet, yet despite the massive changes and development of new technologies, standards and expertise very little has been done to retain email's past reliability and efficiency resulting in today's lost communication, lower click throughs, dwindling enquiries and most importantly diminishing revenue and profits.

        Millions of online companies around the World have seen revenues dip as a direct result of these email delivery problems.



        As more and more people and generations arrive on the internet so more and more are driven to the use of email by the big players such as Google and Yahoo. But email was better suited to the way we used to use the Internet--logging off and on, checking our messages in bursts. Now, we are always connected, whether we are sitting at a desk or on a mobile phone. The always-on connection, in turn, has created a host of new ways to communicate that are much faster than email, and more fun.

        With the ability of spammers to hijack your subscribers email address and for ISPs to choose what they want you to read the situation grows worse by the day.

        A big area of our business has or at least used to be based on building huge lists of newsletter subscribers for different subject matters and interests eager to read our content.

        In the past we've been lucky enough to deliver twice weekly newsletters to more than 1,000,000 subscribers and with the enviable joy of being able to attract over 1,500 fresh new subscribers on a DAILY basis.

        With the potential for each one of these to be a buying customer, the capacity to generate sales was immense.

        And we weren't alone; thousands of companies enjoyed this very same unique experience.

        And it sounds great doesn't it... well it was great, at least it was until some point in 2006 when we started to feel the affects of the internet getting clogged with spam.

        From as early as 2004 the term 'Email Bankruptcy' has been used when a an email user decides enough is enough and lets everyone know they have decided to close an e-mail account due to an overwhelming receipt of garbage, spam messages, compared to legitimate messages.

        Unbelievably the same situation exists today, do a search for 'Email Bankruptcy' and you'll find millions of blogs reporting Email Bankruptcy.

        It was inevitable that the big players, ISPs, email service providers such as hotmail, Microsoft, yahoo, aol and Gmail had to do something to stem the menace. Their only recourse was to set up inaccurate and at best misleading detection systems to decide if you were sending spam.


        It was inevitable that legitimate email senders would get caught in the trap.

        It's was no longer just a matter of getting your messages out, that's the easy part, it's now far, far harder to get those messages opened, let alone read.

        In fact younger companies who have appeared in more recent years know no better than to receive 10% email opening rates with even lower click through rates.

        But wait a minute, did you know that just 5 short years ago the industry average for email opening rates stood at 42.5%.

        That's a huge, massive difference. If... as with 99% of online companies you factor in an element of your revenues and profits from your newsletters and email communication, if things had stayed the same your company could be earning over 4 times as much, that's over 4 times as much straight to your bottom line.

        As already suggested we saw the writing on the wall, the inevitable break up and dissection of a once reliable and efficient communication tool known as email.

        The decine started years ago and it's not about to not stop.

        So where does your info come from because I disagree with a lot of it. The truth of the matter is that cream rises to the top and if you try to build a list with crap, you won't get anywhere. So tell me, how can just one graph from who knows where tell me anything, especially how much email marketing and list building has declined?

        Not to mention your post looks like an article copied off the internet... not an actual post from you...just would like to know the source...but back to what I was saying, email marketing and list building is still a hot way to build a business. You just need to know what you are doing, give excellent content, and keep up with the times.
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        • Originally Posted by scrofford View Post

          So where does your info come from because I disagree with a lot of it. The truth of the matter is that cream rises to the top and if you try to build a list with crap, you won't get anywhere. So tell me, how can just one graph from who knows where tell me anything, especially how much email marketing and list building has declined?

          Not to mention your post looks like an article copied off the internet... not an actual post from you...just would like to know the source...but back to what I was saying, email marketing and list building is still a hot way to build a business. You just need to know what you are doing, give excellent content, and keep up with the times.
          Which has got nothing to do with 'Re: Has listbuilding lost it's effectivness?'

          You sound like you've just landed from Mars and are totally out of touch.
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  • Profile picture of the author ChickenMan
    Well I sometimes give my email for the freebie then I unsubscribe.
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    • Profile picture of the author Rita012
      Most emails from IMers seem to be affiliate offers. Rarely is there
      something valuable in there.

      As soon as I read:

      " My good friend ..... blah blah blah", I immediately unsubscribe.
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    • Profile picture of the author jerem25
      Originally Posted by ChickenMan View Post

      Well I sometimes give my email for the freebie then I unsubscribe.
      Exactly. There has got to be a better way. I'll figure it out and WSO it!
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      • Profile picture of the author ChickenMan
        Originally Posted by jerem25 View Post

        Exactly. There has got to be a better way. I'll figure it out and WSO it!
        Rita's post hit it on the dot. 99% of emails from marketers are nothing but affiliate offers.

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    • Profile picture of the author scrofford
      Originally Posted by ChickenMan View Post

      Well I sometimes give my email for the freebie then I unsubscribe.
      That's been going on forever...that's nothing new, although I think it's kinda wrong.
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  • Profile picture of the author Mark R Carter
    I wouldn't say list building has lost its effectiveness. The subject line of an email has got to be enticing and arouse curiosity. That helps the open rate. Take a look at some of the subject lines from the emails you recieve from some of your fellow marketers for ideas.
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  • Profile picture of the author lior1970
    I'm still thinking list building works well. As long as you give a real value there and having remarkably attractive persuasion sentences around within a package.
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    • Profile picture of the author myob
      The perception of the value of something offered "Free" has certainly diminished especially in IM. Your offer must be "sold" to bring out the value to prospects. It's not unusual anymore to see a lengthy "salespage" for an optin. And do not disappoint with the freebie; you'll find a much higher open rate with subscribers in subsequent emails. Then, continue to dazzle with each email. Try that.
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      • Profile picture of the author deertrail
        Think of listbuilding as a subcategory of relationship building.

        If you're having trouble building a list, take a step back and look at the fundamentals of a good relationship.

        Are you giving more than you take? Do you have their best interests at heart? Are you genuine?

        What "works and doesn't work" for listbuilding will constantly evolve, but as long as you remember that the essence of that activity is relationship building, you will be able to chart your own course and do just fine.

        I agree that many people in the IM market especially are tired of getting spammed from opt-ins. In my experience, you're better off to give something of high value to prospects and only then ask for the optin, after YOU have taken the first step and proved you have value to share.

        -Bryan
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        • Profile picture of the author Jagua
          Deer Trail I agree that going first with something of value that precedes the opt in is the way to go. Maybe the equation is Credibility=Opt In. One question is the delivery or the venue by which one offers that high value prior to the Opt In
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        • Profile picture of the author halmo
          Originally Posted by deertrail View Post

          Think of listbuilding as a subcategory of relationship building.

          -Bryan
          Good way of putting it.
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    • Profile picture of the author ryanbiddulph
      Originally Posted by lior1970 View Post

      I'm still thinking list building works well. As long as you give a real value there and having remarkably attractive persuasion sentences around within a package.
      Great point. Adding awesome value and knowing how to use words is the combo.

      It's one thing to provide super content but if you do so in a bland manner don't expect to build a list.

      One part value one part showmanship has worked best for me.

      RB
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  • Profile picture of the author jeffmull
    List building has not lost its effectiveness. However, perhaps the way you are building a list is not effective.

    We all face the challenge of developing a good incentive to get people to opt in to our lists. Once we figure that out, we have the challenge of providing them enough good content that they like and trust us.

    I think we also have to realize that the Internet marketing niche is a beast of its own. Once you get outside that niche, things are often easier as people are not analyzing every move you make.

    As far as improving open rate, certainly one of the most important things is the subject line. Also,what are the previous messages you have sent? If they are all promotions, then you're training your readers to expect nothing but promotions. It's pretty easy to not open that.

    On the other hand, if you frequently send good content to your readers they are much more likely to open.

    One of my niche lists has over 84,000 subscribers that we built through a variety of methods, though mostly paid media. We have found that using very short emails with a link to more content on a webpage has been very effective. It trains our readers to expect a short email and the link. This helps us get much better open rates.

    The other benefit is that most of the content is on a webpage instead of in an email. This provides us SEO benefits.

    Above all, do not give up on email marketing. It is still the most controllable of our options.

    I hope this helps,

    Jeff Mulligan
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    • Profile picture of the author Wesley Atkins
      Originally Posted by jeffmull View Post

      We have found that using very short emails with a link to more content on a webpage has been very effective. It trains our readers to expect a short email and the link. This helps us get much better open rates.

      The other benefit is that most of the content is on a webpage instead of in an email. This provides us SEO benefits.
      Jeff, that's pure gold right there!

      I've seen a couple marketers doing this, but haven't tested it myself.

      Why are more marketers not doing this?

      Do you think it's effectiveness depends on the market?
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    • Profile picture of the author Jagua
      Jeff, when I am on the receiving end of emails using my blackberry, I don't click through links because it is such a struggle to to view the pages. I do read content, and 3 to 4 paragraphs is my attention span. Do you optimize any of your page views for smart phones?
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    • Profile picture of the author TimG
      Originally Posted by jeffmull View Post

      We have found that using very short emails with a link to more content on a webpage has been very effective. It trains our readers to expect a short email and the link. This helps us get much better open rates.

      The other benefit is that most of the content is on a webpage instead of in an email. This provides us SEO benefits.

      Jeff Mulligan
      A good friend of mine (Josh Spaulding) uses this technique extemely effectively. He is in fact one of the few marketers I will stay subscribed to in 2011 because I intend to get rid of the folks that send nothing but promotion after promotion.

      Respectfully,
      Tim
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  • Profile picture of the author tpw
    I'd lean towards you are doing something wrong.

    Certainly, list building is still one of the most solid ways to make money online. Leveraging other peoples' lists is even more so.

    If you are not getting the signups, you are either offering something of little perceived value OR you are talking to the wrong people.

    Once you get people on your list, you need to train them to open your emails. One way to do that is to offer exceptional content to let people know that your email is worth opening.

    Another way to get people to open your email is to promise special gifts to those people who do. Tell them what to expect if they open your emails, then deliver.

    If you have a 0% open rate, then you have not given people an incentive to open your email or believe that your email is worth watching out for.

    I hear that most lists have about a 35% open rate. So you are definitely doing something wrong: targeting the wrong audience, not telling people why they should subscribe, not showing them why they would want to open your mail, or otherwise getting lost in the junk mail.
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  • Originally Posted by jerem25 View Post

    Listbuilding has proven difficult anymore because people just are not willing to give up their email addresses for freebies, but what's worse is i'm noticing for 2 of my lists that they have a 0% open rate! Am I doing something wrong, or has listbuilding lost it's effectivness?
    Are you sure you are set up correctly to measure opens?

    If you are then try sending the same message but change something like the subject.

    It won't hurt to send again, after all they it looks as though no one opened it.

    Remember, however, that 0% opening does not mean no one read it, it just means no one downloaded or allowed the images.
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  • Profile picture of the author Neil Morgan
    but what's worse is i'm noticing for 2 of my lists that they have a 0% open rate!
    Maybe you're using plain text email which therefore won't register opens.

    Just sayin'

    Cheers,

    Neil
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    Easy email marketing automation without moving your lists.

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  • Profile picture of the author scott33
    I think what you need to do is tweak your email copy and make it stand out from the other emails people receive, if the person is very active in that niche there probably subscribed to a lot of other people, your email is probably getting buried in all the other emails they receive, you could ask your readers to install the gmail notifier plugin if you use gmail....
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  • Profile picture of the author Leo McMackin
    If your open rates are 0%, you're doing something wrong. I still think list building can be effective.
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  • Profile picture of the author Zero
    Originally Posted by jerem25 View Post

    Listbuilding has proven difficult anymore because people just are not willing to give up their email addresses for freebies, but what's worse is i'm noticing for 2 of my lists that they have a 0% open rate! Am I doing something wrong, or has listbuilding lost it's effectivness?

    It is as Frank Kern and a few others say, it is the quality of the leads, and even more so, the quality of the lead magnet you use to attract the leads.
    You want your good quality lead magnet to attract the good kind of subscribers, but also repel the worst ones ( biz opp seekers who jump from 1 money making opp to another, freebie seekers, newbies who're not willin to make an effort to learn what u give em etc)

    It could also be that your email subject lines suck, you email during the wrong time of the day or they don't remember who u areand they just delete ur stuff. You need to make sure the "From" field is clear in who who are, so they instanntly recognise you.

    Offer a good high quality lead magnet, something that'll attract the good kinda leads, provide them with gret valuable content, that blows them away and le;aves them wanting more, and when you promote something, make sure it is of the highest quality and u OVER deliver.
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  • Profile picture of the author jeffmull
    Jagua - our pages are pretty simple - I can easily view them on my Droid.

    As for open rates, I saw the graph posted above that claimed an 11% open rate. I think you have to take that with a grain of salt because so many email marketers mail nothing but offers.

    Seriously - I know many internet marketers mail too many promotions - but when was the last time you got good content from the BestBuy email?

    People are getting overwhelmed with offers and when they can immediately recognize a mailer that constantly sends promotions, they stop opening.

    Our 80,000 person list gets mailed weekly and 25% of them are opening the email's and going to our website. This gives us over 100,000 page views per month.

    It also gives us a new income stream as we are now selling sponsorships on those pages.
    100,000 highly targeted page views is a lot for this niche.

    Jeff Mulligan
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    • Profile picture of the author TimG
      Originally Posted by jeffmull View Post

      Seriously - I know many internet marketers mail too many promotions - but when was the last time you got good content from the BestBuy email?

      Jeff Mulligan
      Jeff,
      Great point but with underlying point. I always open 100% of my BestBuy emails because I like to see what they are sending.

      With emails from certain IM folks I am now getting to the point where I say "Good Grief, not another email from this guy again!"

      Thier tactics remind me of a Karate Instructor I knew who for someone reason had students that achieved their belts in record time.

      Turns out every time he needed money, a test would be given so those folks could get a new belt. It had nothing to do with their actual skills or ability, just his need for fast cash.

      For some marketers every time I get an email fro them I think to myself, they must have some bills due or need money because here comes their promotion again.

      If they spent more time on building a relationship instead of thinking that the free report they gave out entitled them to use their subscriber list as a personal ATM machine they would do much, much better.

      Subscribers are not a checkbook for people to use as they see fit.

      Respectfully,
      Tim
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  • Profile picture of the author Fun to Write
    If people aren't opening the emails, then the subject lines you're using are not attracting them. Are you using too much hype? Or maybe you come across as another person just trying to sell them something.
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    Focus+Smart Work+Persistence=Success

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  • Profile picture of the author Kate C
    In order to compete effectively in the internet marketing arena, you have to be creative and come up with things that are not being offered by everone else. People know if you are tricking them into giving you their email addresses. You have to give them value because it is not just about building a list but about building a long term relationship. If you give them something really good, they will be eager to see what else you have so they will open your emails.
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  • Profile picture of the author palwarrior
    you need to find out changing pulse of your audience and market them with what they want
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  • Profile picture of the author maidmarion
    You do need to be different and add value! If there is a free gift or some good value, people will subscribe.
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  • Profile picture of the author tacoverhoef
    Originally Posted by jerem25 View Post

    Listbuilding has proven difficult anymore because people just are not willing to give up their email addresses for freebies, but what's worse is i'm noticing for 2 of my lists that they have a 0% open rate! Am I doing something wrong, or has listbuilding lost it's effectivness?
    I don't know what you are doing wrong for the 2 lists with a 0% open rate. The qeustion is do you give away good free content in adition to your promotion of products to your list. Do you know how to get good free content? How do you build your lists?

    The basic qeustion is do you give real value to your list and how do you do it. If you can anwser these qeustions then we can talk further. If you can't anwser then probably can't help you, meaning if you don't know if you give value. Well maybe we still can help you, I would at least want to try so just reply or PM and I will see if I can help.
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    The Action Taker
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  • Profile picture of the author clever7
    Email marketing is an entire system. In order to have positive results, you have to work very hard.

    I’m not an expert on email marketing. I’m simply pointing out the complexity of the entire process.

    The reasons why your subscribers are not opening your messages could be too many. And you may realize that even when many people open your messages, nothing changes in your life. In order to convert your subscribers into buyers you have to follow various smart marketing strategies. This is not a simple matter.
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  • Profile picture of the author ShaneRQR
    E-mail is just the medium. Yes, there are technical issues like making sure that the e-mails actually get delivered and the fact that open-rates can't be tracked with 100% accuracy, ever (I ignore them and only look at click- and interaction-rates to gage the effectiveness of my e-mails).

    Those aside, it comes down to this: Do people want to stay in touch with you? If you connect with your community in the right way, they will want to keep in touch and they'll find a way. It doesn't matter whether it's e-mail or facebook or RSS subscribers or whatever.

    If you're trying to get as many people on a target list so you can soft-spam them for money, you'll always be limiting yourself.

    If you can create a fan base and offer them ways to keep up to date on your content, then e-mail is certainly an effective medium. The most effective, in my experience. But still just a medium.
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