How many subscribers do you really need on your mailing list?

mailing list

The Internet is packed with articles about how to increase your mailing list. For goodness sake, there is nothing wrong with it, in fact, I believe that if you were to build an audience based on your business, you should do it with emails and you should try to enlarge your mailing list as much as you can.

However, focusing on growth and growing blind is not the same thing, which is why I like to have a fixed number in mind when I think of increasing my list.

In this post, I’ll show you how to find out the number of ideal subscribers you need with a simple formula and I’ll explain why email marketing is not just reaching a number.

How many subscribers do you really need on your mailing list?

Long ago, my goal was to make the phone ring 600 times a day: I had a sales target of 100 a day and I knew that if I generated that number of calls, sales would be achieved.

Of course, there was a mix of different types of calls, like those for customer service, for reprogramming, for technical support and other things, but 1 out of 6 really turned into a sale or, as they are called today, into a 16.67% higher conversion rate.

Mine was a simple formula:  600 calls = 100 sales = happiness

Today I use the same formula to calculate how many subscribers I need in my mailing list … let’s start.

1) Set a goal

Set a clear goal for the sales you want to achieve and believe me, life will seem a lot easier once you have that number in front of you.

We admit that you want to reach 100 sales, but your goal may also be revenue: if your product sells for $100 and you want to reach 100 sales, your goal will be to generate $10,000.

2) Keep your historical data

Look at the performance of your old campaigns. Let’s say that in March you were able to complete 50 sales in a campaign, what you need to see now is the number of subscribers you had at that time.

Let’s pretend that you had 2000 members, this means that 2.5% of them bought your product.

And here is the formula:  Sales / Subscribers x 100 (50/100 = 2.5)

To make sure we speak the same language, I want to clarify that we’re not really measuring the conversion rate, as it is calculated based on the clicks the campaign receives, like this:  Sales / Click on the campaign x 100.

3) The members you need

You know where I want to go, don’t you? If your current data indicates that you convert 2.5% in sales and your goal is to reach 100 sales, you will need 4000 subscribers on your mailing list.

In this formula, we do not consider open rates and clicks, nor is the fact that you can improve your conversion rate, however nothing in marketing permanent or static.

Your audience moves and a campaign can receive more open rates or fewer clicks; a post can convert 40% to subscribers, just as an update can deliberately fail. This is a number that leads to a goal, which is why we need to consider historical data.

So what happens when I reach my goal?

Should you stop in acquiring new members once you reach the magic number?

Do you want to beat five?

Of course not, because email marketing doesn’t work like that, let me explain why …

Because you always need NEW members

When I say “new members” I don’t necessarily talk about growth, but the opportunity to have fresh subscribers in your mailing list from time to time and the reason is …

Many people asked me when is the best time to bid: some leave in fourth, while others build a list for a year without offering anything; here, the perfect time to make one is during the honeymoon period.

Usually you have added enough value to the point that the subscriber is looking forward to opening your email and clicking on the campaign, after which the engagement slowly begins to decrease in this period.

Think of it as an appointment, in which you enter the romantic phase, the interest increases and you are forced to make the right move before entering the “friends” area.

Now, this does not mean that you will not be able to make good sales, so you will have to try to keep the level of engagement high for a longer period of time and maybe even repeat the action, if you see that your subscribers are happy and that your strategy works.

Someone will vanish into thin air as soon as the engagement drops … well, after all it’s impossible to keep everyone involved at the same time.

However, if you stop acquiring new subscribers today, you will probably start to see a slow decline in open rates and CTRs.

New subscribers = High open rate + high CTR = More sales

And this is why you should always keep a steady stream of new subscribers on your mailing list, so you will have more chance in your honeymoon period.


The other part of the coin is that you probably have a number of subscribers no longer involved: well, at some point they should be removed. I’m not talking about the people who are deleted from your list, but those who no longer produce good engagement with your campaigns, even if they are still on the list.

However, giving up unnecessary members is another matter entirely.

As you can see, some come in and others come out and this is what will keep your list fresh and with more chances to close sales every day … just make sure your acquisitions are always good!

Key tips

So let’s recap everything quickly …

  • The growth is good, the one done blindly a little less.
  • You want a mailing list because you want to close sales
  • Set your sales goals
  • See your historical data to see the percentage of your subscribers that they bought from you
  • Calculate how many subscribers you need to reach your goals
  • Your list should always be fresh, with new members coming in and redundant ones coming out

You are there? Well, it looks like you have homework to do, so arm yourself with coffee and establish that magical number.

Questions? I’m here on purpose!

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