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 online subscriber list—by the week, month, or year.
How do names evaporate from your list?
Every time you send an e-newsletter or an e-mail marketing message to your list, some of your subscribers are going to decide they are no longer interested in getting your e-mails…and will unsubscribe from your list.
The percentage of subscribers who opt-out from your e-list per e-mail blast is called the “opt-out” rate.
My opt-out rate from my list of over 60,000 subscribers is typically a little less than 0.1%.
That means every time I send an e-mail marketing message to my list, I lose as much as 60 subscribers who choose to unsubscribe.
However, that loss of names is offset by the number of new subscribers who opt into my e-list each week.
In that opt-in number, I exclude sign-ups from major campaigns like joint ventures and the like.
I include only the average number of new subscribers who opt in ‘naturally’—people who stumbled across my site or found it from organic search or through some other means.
For instance, they read an article by or about me on another site and clicked on the link in that article to my site.
Or they were reading one of my books and decided to check out my website.
This number of new subscribers is called the “organic opt-in rate”.
Evaporation rate is calculated as follows: Evaporation rate = organic opt-in rate – opt-out rate
Let’s say each week I get 100 new subscribers who opt in organically.
I also send 2 e-mail marketing messages per week which generate 60 unsubscribe requests each, or 120 unsubscribe requests total.
My evaporation rate is: ER = 100 – 120 = -20.
A negative 20 evaporation rate means I lose on average 20 names a week. Yikes!
Many organizations have a negative evaporation rate, which means they lose more subscribers than they gain.
When you have a negative evaporation rate, you have a big problem in your Internet marketing business, because your list is evaporating—you are losing a portion of your list every week.
Even if the weekly evaporation rate is small, it can add up to huge losses over the course of a year.
Direct marketing writer Ken Magill says that the average company can expect to lose 30% of its e-mail house file a year due to evaporation.
For the entrepreneurial e-mail marketer, your online 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 at its current size and you lose 30% 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, making it zero (flat) or even more desirable, positive, so your list actually gets bigger all the time rather than smaller.
You can build your list in two ways, and you should do both.
The first is to undertake, during the course of the year, 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, affiliate marketing, and joint ventures.
The second thing you need to do is boost the organic opt-in rate. And there are two steps to getting more organic opt-in rates each week.
First, you need to optimize your main web site for search engines. A search engine optimized (SEO) site will almost always generate much more organic traffic than a site that is not optimized for search engines.
Second, you need mechanisms on the site for converting a greater percentage of your visitors to new subscribers.
If your goal is to maximize opt-ins, you should move the sign-up box for your free e-newsletter from wherever it is on your site now to the upper right-hand corner of the home page.
The upper right corner is prime real estate on the home page, and whatever appears there gets the most attention.
So if you move your sign-up box to the upper right corner, your conversion rates will increase—and you’ll add more new subscribers to your e-list.
Bob Bly is the author of “World’s Best Copywriting Secrets” and has written copy for more than 100 companies including IBM, Boardroom, Medical Economics and AT&T. He is the author of more than 75 books and a columnist for Target Marketing, Early To Rise and The Writer. McGraw-Hill calls him “America’s top copywriter”.