What would you ask someone with a list of 3 million?

20 replies
I'm interviewing a guy tomorrow morning who's company has a list of 3 million active subscribers. What would you ask him? What would you want to know?
#list #million
  • Profile picture of the author jasonTBA
    Can I have it?

    but seriously.

    There's the obvious questions..how did you get it? How much does $$ it make you (total and per sub)? Open rates? Unsub rates? Spam Complaints?

    Something I'd like to know personally would be what he thinks is the optimum period between emails? Varies quite a lot niche to niche so would depend what niche/s he is in.
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  • Profile picture of the author Tim Russ
    How he built the list.
    What is it's actual effectiveness.
    Does it work in cross niches or is it limited to specific niches.
    What does he charge to send an offer to his list.
    How does he retain the members of the list.
    Is he still building the list.
    If he's still building the list how much work does it require to build and/or maintain it.

    That's for starters. If I think of any more I'll post later.
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    • Profile picture of the author Bill Farnham
      Originally Posted by Ron Douglas View Post

      I'm interviewing a guy tomorrow morning who's company has a list of 3 million active subscribers. What would you ask him? What would you want to know?
      Can I have your autograph?

      ~Bill


      :p


      I would be curious to find out their system for purging non-monetizable subscribers so as not to inflict unnecessary charges for having too many of the wrong kind of subscribers.
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  • Profile picture of the author ExRat
    Hi Ron,

    Would he describe his approach as hard-sell, soft-sell or something else?

    Does he have a fixed strategy regarding % of good free content vs pitches?

    What is turnover like on a list that size, EG each year 40% leaves, 50% added?

    What's the open rate & response rate (click rate) on average?

    When's his listbuilding WSO out?

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    Roger Davis

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  • Profile picture of the author Joshua Rigley
    Banned
    Originally Posted by Ron Douglas View Post

    I'm interviewing a guy tomorrow morning who's company has a list of 3 million active subscribers. What would you ask him? What would you want to know?
    Well Ron, you have a pretty big list, don't you? What questions do people keep asking you about your list building tactics? Maybe you should ask that guy the same questions. I see no reason to be innovative here...people just want to know how he did it.

    Have fun with that.
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  • Profile picture of the author E. Brian Rose
    Ask him for a solo ad or two.
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    Founder of JVZoo. All around good guy :)

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  • Profile picture of the author Istvan Horvath
    I would ask him to define "active"...
    (for years I used to be on the Future Shop's list - huge electronics retailer in Canada - and I even read from time to time their announcements about deals, offers etc. but never bought anything because being on the list. Could I be considered 'active'?)

    Are they buyers or info-seekers?

    What is he doing with the list? Send offers? If yes, to all or is it segmented? If segmented, in which way?

    (BTW, is this one huge list or many niche-lists?)

    And having in mind that I've seen on this forum and in a lot of "guides" the $1/month/subscribers mantra... how does he make $3M per month with the list
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    • Profile picture of the author WillR
      Originally Posted by Istvan Horvath View Post

      I would ask him to define "active"...
      (for years I used to be on the Future Shop's list - huge electronics retailer in Canada - and I even read from time to time their announcements about deals, offers etc. but never bought anything because being on the list. Could I be considered 'active'?)
      Exactly. Their idea of 'active' might be VERY different to anothers. I think there are only two questions that really matter.

      What are their average open rates like?
      What are their average earnings per subscriber per month?

      If those two figures are not up to scratch then I wouldn't really want to know any of the other.

      Have a blast - no pun intended.
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      • Profile picture of the author Bill Farnham
        Originally Posted by WillR View Post

        Exactly. Their idea of 'active' might be VERY different to anothers. I think there are only two questions that really matter.

        What are their average open rates like?
        What are their average earnings per subscriber per month?

        If those two figures are not up to scratch then I wouldn't really want to know any of the other.
        I'm on several lists for companies I buy things from (computer related like software or hardware, as examples) and I will spend several hundred dollars with them in any given year.

        My propensity to open the emails from them is directly related to my buying needs. If it's a company like Digital Juice I'll open their emails far more often than I will for Tiger Direct just out of curiousity to see what may be new. Again, as examples.

        But if I don't open an email from them for 9 months, the likelyhood of me looking at their offers when I'm in the buying mood is still 100% when the window to purchase opens.

        So if they say "Hey, Bill hasn't opened up one of our emails in the last nine months", it would be a mistake to purge my name due to any 'open rate' criteria. Same with an average earnings per subscriber per month.

        ~Bill
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        • Profile picture of the author WillR
          Originally Posted by Bill Farnham View Post

          I'm on several lists for companies I buy things from (computer related like software or hardware, as examples) and I will spend several hundred dollars with them in any given year.

          My propensity to open the emails from them is directly related to my buying needs. If it's a company like Digital Juice I'll open their emails far more often than I will for Tiger Direct just out of curiousity to see what may be new. Again, as examples.

          But if I don't open an email from them for 9 months, the likelyhood of me looking at their offers when I'm in the buying mood is still 100% when the window to purchase opens.

          So if they say "Hey, Bill hasn't opened up one of our emails in the last nine months", it would be a mistake to purge my name due to any 'open rate' criteria. Same with an average earnings per subscriber per month.

          ~Bill
          Bill,

          You are spot on and I am the same with some lists I am on - you go through buying periods and then lulls. But having said that things do tend to average out so they would have an average open rate and earnings per subscriber.
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  • Profile picture of the author Greg guitar
    A lot depends on what info you have about his background. You didn't say if he built the company from scratch, what biz he's in, etc. I am assuming he's the owner, and that he built it from the ground up.

    With that in mind, I would start off just asking him to tell us his story-how he got started, what does he think the key moments, or key strategies are that brought him to each milestone. Did he use bum marketing, or paid promotions to build it, and what details can he give us on either or both? Knowing what he knows now, would he do anything different to grow faster or with less cost, less effort, etc-follow-up details?

    Then follow up on all the points that he thinks are relevant-dig in to as much detail as possible so your readers/listeners can use the insights in their own businesses.

    Then I'd ask him how much cash he can raise in a day, and whether he ever wants to see his family again-joking.
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  • Profile picture of the author Suthan M
    1. How much to maintain that list, and how do he maintain them?
    2. What is his strategy to monetize the list?
    3. Just being curious: what's his open rate and click thru rate?
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  • Profile picture of the author sbucciarel
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    Originally Posted by Ron Douglas View Post

    I'm interviewing a guy tomorrow morning who's company has a list of 3 million active subscribers. What would you ask him? What would you want to know?
    Could I borrow it? :p
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  • Profile picture of the author Jeff Lenney
    I'd ask him to buy me a BMW 750LI :-)
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  • Profile picture of the author Jonathan92
    Definitely "who you helped you the most in building this if anybody?".
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  • Profile picture of the author Mary Wilhite
    Can you send a mailing for me at 50% commission on the front end?

    How can I do JV with you?

    What products do you look for?

    How high is your open rate?

    How high is your click-through rate?

    How high is your conversion rate?

    What's the subject of your email with the highest open rate?

    - Ron, there are too many interesting questions to throw at
    him but the best for me is the top and the 2nd one
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  • Profile picture of the author Steve Faber
    - How did he acquire them?
    - Over what time frame?
    - How does he keep them subscribed?
    - How does he keep them engaged?
    - What are his most effective monetization strategies for them?
    - Are they focused in one fairly narrow niche (as narrow as 3million can be) or is it broad?
    - Buyers or free signuppers?
    - If they are engaged and responsive, how did he build his profitable relationship with them after they got on his list?
    - Were they blog, feedburner, or some other kind of subscribers of his before they got on this list?

    Way to go on the interview.
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  • Profile picture of the author ryanmckinney
    Id ask him to send out an e-mail broadcast for me!

    3 million, wow... in what niche/market?
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  • Profile picture of the author tpw
    Most of the good questions have already been asked:
    1. How did you build the list?
    2. What is your most reliable advertising channel?
    3. Was your traffic free or paid?
    4. What do you generally spend to acquire one subscriber?
    5. How much do you generally earn per subscriber / per month?
    6. How do you define "dead weight"?
    7. How do you purge "dead weight"?
    8. How often do you clean the "dead weight" from your list?
    9. What is your content to ads ratio?
    10. How often do you mail?
    11. What role does content play in your list?
    12. Are your subscribers the result of paid transactions or are they merely prospects?

    If you need other questions, let me sit in your interview as an additional interviewer.
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    Bill Platt, Oklahoma USA, PlattPublishing.com
    Publish Coloring Books for Profit (WSOTD 7-30-2015)
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