(Nudnik: Yiddish for pain in the ass, nuisance, pest, a marketer who sends too many emails to his house list)
Okay, so how do you know when you’re being a nudnik?
That is, how do you know when you’re sending too many emails to your money pot, your gold mine — your email list?
Consider the following …
If your email open rate is lower than the relative humidity in the Sahara Desert … you’re probably being a nudnik!
If after every send, your list shrinks faster than cotton underwear in a hot water wash … you’re definitely a nudnik!
If you send five emails in a row and they all say the same thing — but you change the all-important subject line … it doesn’t matter; you’re still a nudnik!
And finally … if you’re sending emails to your list three times a day, every day of the week … you’re not only a nudnik, you’re an idiot!
Will the “80/20 Rule” prevent you from becoming a nudnik?
If you’ve been a marketer for longer than it takes to read this article, you’ve no doubt heard of the “Pareto Principle,” otherwise known as the “80/20 rule.”
Named after economist Vilfredo Pareto, the principle states that 20% of invested input is responsible for 80% of the results obtained. (You can tell I didn’t write that).
In English, it means 80% of your income as a marketer is typically derived from 20% of your list.
Spinning it even further, it also means that in order for you to receive that 80% from your 20% of readers, 80% of your content should be devoted to valuable and useful information, and 20% should be devoted to your offer or sales pitch.
In other words, as a content marketer, for every 10 emails you send, 8 should contain straight valuable and useful content and the other 2 should be pitches and offers.
So, by following the Pareto Principle, will sticking to the 80/20 rule keep you from becoming an unrepentant nudnik, a degenerate email marketer, a pest and a plague to your list?
No. Absolutely not.
But this I can tell you … if you increase the amount of useful and valuable content in your communications to more than 80% … and correspondingly decrease the space or frequency allotted to your offer and sales pitch to less than 20% …
… you might still be a nudnik!
Content alone cannot save you
Because content — even the most incisive, most noteworthy content — requires time to read. And time is, and will forever be, in short supply.
Even your mother, who loves you and thinks you’re the most gifted marketer in the world, doesn’t want to hear from you three times a day. And if she does hear from you that often, I guarantee, she’ll be the first to affirm — you’re a nudnik!
Furthermore, unless you’re giving away gold bullion (the literal kind, not the metaphorical kind) with free shipping and handling, you will never have anything to say, or anything to sell, that could justify contacting your list so inanely often that your readers would pay to see you shipped off to the remotest part of Afghanistan.
Use your “nudnik-odometer” to discover how often you should send emails to your list
Your nudnik-odometer is your email inbox. More specifically, it’s the inbox of that free email account — Gmail, Yahoo, Hotmail — that you never visit.
And the reason you don’t ever go there is this …
You’re tired of getting emails from nudniks!
But these nudniks didn’t become nudniks immediately, now did they?
When you first subscribed to the email lists of these marketing nudniks, you had good reason. An itch that needed scratching. A problem that needed addressing.
And these future nudniks made you a darn good offer.
So you bought their info product, or flea powder, or simply subscribed to a free newsletter or blog from a guru, recognized or self-proclaimed.
But then … after you got rid of your dog’s fleas … these marketers didn’t merely stay in touch with timely offers and helpful insights. They bombarded you!
They invited themselves into your family, your private space, they ate up your time, emptied your refrigerator, and offered you bribes if you introduced them to your friends, neighbors, and significant others.
And every day for two weeks you got an email from them that said only 24 hours left. Every chance was your last chance until your next chance … and for every 300 items left, another 500 were found. Every final offer was followed by Ooops, I made a mistake — there’s still time left!
So how do you quit being a nudnik?
Here’s my advice.
First, study and count the number and frequency of emails received from these nudniks.
And see if in the naked and revealing glare of your computer screen, you see something familiar. See if you see yourself … and how annoying you’ve been to others.
Send often enough that they don’t forget you, but not so often that they get sick and tired of you.
Second, make sure the email you send is worth the time you’re asking for. If you’re sending content people actually want to read, you aren’t a nudnik.
Third, don’t bounce from being a nudnik to being a shlemiel (that’s Yiddish for a shmo, a dope, someone whose mother still dresses him).
Your list exists to create relationships so you can make offers. Don’t be afraid to sell.
It’s not making a pitch that makes you a nudnik. It’s failing to respect your readers’ time and attention.