The Web Metric Nobody Tracks … and Everybody Should

There is an important Web metric that you should be tracking in your Internet marketing business — but probably aren’t.

It is the “evaporation rate.”

The evaporation rate measures how many names you lose from your subscriber list — by the week, month, or year.

How do names evaporate from your list?

It’s simple.

Every time you send an e-newsletter — or an e-mail marketing message — some of your subscribers are going to decide they are no longer interested in hearing from you. And they will unsubscribe or “opt out” from your list.

The percentage of subscribers who opt out per e-mail blast is your “opt-out” rate.

My opt-out rate is typically a little less than 0.1 percent. I have more than 50,000 subscribers. That means every time I send an e-mail to my list, I lose around 50 of them.

However, that loss is offset by the number of new subscribers who opt into my e-list.

In my opt-in number, I exclude sign-ups from such things as joint ventures. I include only those who opt in “over the transom” — people who stumbled across my website.

They may have found it through organic search.

They may have read an article by or about me on another site and clicked on my link in that article.

Or perhaps they were reading one of my books and decided to check out my site.

The number of over-the-transom new subscribers is your “organic opt-in rate.”

Evaporation rate is calculated as follows:

Evaporation rate = organic opt-in rate minus opt-out rate

Let’s say you get 100 new subscribers each week who opt in organically.

And let’s say you send two e-mail marketing messages per week, which generate a total of 100 unsubscribe requests.

Your evaporation rate would be:

ER = 100 minus 100 = 0

A zero evaporation rate means you have no net gain or loss of subscribers.

Your list did not grow that week. But neither did it shrink.

Most online marketers have a negative evaporation rate. They lose more subscribers than they gain.

And that’s a big problem.

Even if your weekly evaporation rate is small, it can add up to huge losses over the course of a year.

In his special report “Taking Names,” Ken Magill says the average business can expect to lose 30 percent of its e-mail file a year due to evaporation.

For the entrepreneurial e-mail marketer, your revenues are directly proportional to the size of your list. So the smaller your list, the less money you make.

If you are making $100,000 a year with your list and you lose 30 percent of your subscribers without replacing them, next year you will be on target to make only $70,000.

Therefore, you need to reduce your evaporation rate to zero. Or, even better, turn it into a positive number… so your list gets bigger all the time rather than smaller.

You can build your list in two ways, and you should do both.

The first is with specific list-building initiatives that can add hundreds or thousands of new names to your list in a very short period of time. These can include cross promotions with other Internet marketers in your niche, pay-per-click ad campaigns, co-registration deals, and affiliate marketing.

The second thing you can do is boost your organic opt-in rate. And there are two steps involved in that.

Step one is to optimize your main website for search engines. A search engine optimized (SEO) site will almost always generate much more organic traffic than a site that is not optimized.

Step two is to have mechanisms for converting a greater percentage of your site visitors to new subscribers. At minimum, you should move the sign-up box for your free e-newsletter to the upper right-hand corner of the home page. The upper right corner is prime real estate. Whatever appears there gets the most attention.

Building your list is a huge topic. There’s so much to say about it that I can’t begin to adequately address it in this ETR column.

However, you can find much more information in my ETR “Internet Cash Generator” home-study program:

[Ed. Note: Bob Bly is a freelance copywriter and the author of more than 70 books. To subscribe to his free e-zine, The Direct Response Letter, and claim your free gift worth $116, click here now:]

Some see the start of economic recovery just over the next hill. It doesn’t look that way to me. Still, I’m certain that now is the best time ever to build wealth.

Why? Because now is always the best time.

Now is always the best time to start something good. Good things take time, and time is the one thing that is definitely limited. The sooner you begin, the faster you’ll get where you want to be.

This is universally true, but it’s especially true when the goal is to build wealth. You can’t control the economy. You can’t predict the markets. You can’t ultimately protect yourself from disaster. But you can make yourself richer tomorrow than you are today.

You get richer by making a little more and spending a little less. You can do that — and you can do it today, can’t you?

There’s always a way. Work an extra hour. Sell an extra widget. Start a partnership. Cook up a moneymaking idea.

I have a friend who is very good at coming up with reasons why he should put off starting any new venture. Lately, he’s been telling me that he needs to wait for the economy to recover, for his visiting relatives to go back north, for his house to get more organized, etc.

He can find an unlimited number of reasons. But, like you, he has a diminishing amount of time.

Every day that passes is 24 hours of opportunity you won’t have again. Why not put a bit of that time to work for you right now?

When you agreed to do it, it seemed like an exciting challenge. Now, your deadline is fast approaching and you haven’t even started. You made it a priority to get the job done, yet it hasn’t happened. It stays there on your daily task list — highlighted for attention but never attended to.

Why does a great opportunity turn into an overwhelming chore that threatens to remain forever undone?

There are all sorts of causes — but only one solution that consistently works for me. Here it is:

1. If you have been stuck for more than three days, admit it. Stand in front of the mirror and repeat: “I shot my mouth off. I’m stuck.” You have been waiting for inspiration to save you, but it hasn’t appeared. Stop waiting.

2. Don’t even think of attacking the whole mess at once. Break it up into small pieces. If it’s a 40-page report you have to write, work on it page by page. If it’s a bunch of people you have to talk to, approach each conversation as a separate task.

3. Make a commitment to spend 15 minutes a day on it — doing one mini-task at a time. It is such a small amount of work that you won’t have any trouble doing it. This will get the ball rolling, even if it doesn’t seem to be rolling in the right direction.

4. Keep at it until you break through the psychological barrier you’ve been up against. Sooner or later — and this is guaranteed — you will get the inspiration you had been waiting for while you were stuck. And when that happens, you’ll whiz through to the end.