How To Measure The True Value of Your List

and it's not the number of subscribers you have

The Moment

I'd clicked 'SEND' on email campaigns for years. As an employee.

Now it was different.

It was my business. It was my revenue. It was my bills that needed paying.

We'd already built a good foundation for our guitar shop. As the sales grew, so did the investments. I went from sourcing guitars 1 at a time to 10 at a time. To 20 a time. The costs grew and so did the need to sell quicker than the invoices that were raised.

I was given a chance to take on an exclusive line of guitars from a well known brand. This was big. The challenge to make significant profit was there. At a risk though. Do I rule the business with my head or my heart?

So I listened to my heart. I purchased the rights to 100 guitars that nobody else in the UK could sell.

It was a £35,000 stock commitment like no other.

The excitement quickly turned to fear. What if I'm stuck with this stock? Yes, people knew the brand. But the guitar? It wasn't something people searched for. It wasn't something people even knew existed.

And it was scary.

But, in business and in life, risks are there to be taken. That's what I tried telling myself anyway.

So. Here I was 100 guitars en route to my warehouse and 90 days invoicing terms. I could do this.

And then the pallets arrived. The visual reality of 100 guitars kicked in. Like a hoof to the chest.

And I penned an email to my list. Just like I'm doing now.

Subject line: I think I’ve just made a huge mistake.

I told my subscribers about the emotional rollercoaster I was riding. The highs of playing a truly awesome guitar that was such good value I couldn't resist in taking on. And the fear. The anger (why did I keep doing this?!?!?). And the concern. What if nobody bought the guitar?!!?

This was in the days before social media or reliable video. I just had a few pictures of the guitars (on the pallet and then setup and readied for purchase).

And I had my words.

I just wrote from the heart. I told how the guitars were some of the best I'd played at any price point. These were £750 but played like £2,500 guitars. They were something special that excited me. I shared that excitement.

I re-read the email. It was long. Wordy. But, it told the story of how I felt.

Literally crossed my fingers (which makes it incredibly difficult to type) and clicked 'SEND TO ALL'.

I then drove from the warehouse over to our high street store with a few of the guitars ready to place on the wall in the store.

Those guitars were never sold in the store.

Something quite magical happened. Within one day we sold 55 (just over half) of those guitars. From one single email to one owned subscriber list. Our list.

Our list of people that we'd built trust within. A community of fans. The majority of which were existing buying customers.

We managed to sell all 100 guitars within 2 weeks. All through our online store.

It wasn't a 'strategy' or a 'tactic' for that matter. It was just a case of telling it how it is. To a group of people who trusted me. I’d worked hard to build that trust.

There's no real lesson here apart from never ever forget the importance of forging trust and maintaining honesty with your list.

It wasn't a tactic I could re-use. I can’t advise you to do similar. It's just something that I did without any expectations. Something different. It just worked. Heart on sleeve marketing.

And those 100 guitarist absolutely loved their new purchase. 100 more believers. That's what counted (as well as clearing the invoice in quick time!)

Hope this helps you in your efforts to build a healthy list for your brand. Your list is your lifeblood.

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