Since starting Mailing List Builder events, which score between 500-3000+ reader emails for participating authors, I've heard that providing authors with thousands of potential new fans is sometimes actually a problem - thanks to MailChimp, MadMimi or other third party mailing list systems.
These services are restricting your ability to grow your author fan base in two ways.
1. Sheer numbers
After you have X number of subscribers on MailChimp (etc.), you need to start paying monthly for the service. You're being penalized for doing well!
2. Unsubscribe Issues
If the percentage of unsubscribes or spam reports from a mailing is more than X amount, MailChimp (etc) disapproves. The problem is, there will be unsubscribes. Usually about 1-2% for me, whenever I add a new list gathered from an AXP giveaway.
While AuthorsXP Giveaways DO warn people that by entering the giveaway they're agreeing to be added to the authors' lists, not everyone reads that disclaimer or remembers it. We're not doing anything wrong or illegal.
I've added nearly 9000 readers to my own personal mailing list and have had 600+ unsubscribes. That still leaves me with 8000+ new people and it's done wonders for me! But if I was using Mailchimp, I probably would have been flagged. They're hobbling their users to keep themselves from being flagged as spammers. I understand they don't want people buying lists and spamming thousands, but this makes Mailchimp less than great for list building!
So what to do?
1. Have AuthorsXP change the way we do the contests and let readers choose which author lists they'd like to be added to?
Some contests do that, but
- It would mean a lot less signups for participating authors
- Many readers sign up for everyone anyway thinking it helps their chances of winning
- Readers may still be surprised when they get their first author newsletter
I feel like better to get thousands of sign ups, lose some, and surprise some other readers with how much they like you!
2. Stop doing such a great job getting us reader emails!
3. Add a small portion of your new list to your Mailchimp list each time you do a mailing.
This will keep your unsubscribes down for each mailing, and keep you under Mailchimp's radar. It's just going to take longer.
What if you're on a system that no longer lets you import ANY lists?
4. Make the first mailing to your new list a double opt-in, so you first ask readers if they really want to be added.
Some authors do this. For me, you're going to lose a lot of people before they even have a chance to get a feel for who you are.
5. Be in charge of your own mailing lists.
There are fantastic alternatives to Mailchimp that allow you to own and work your own lists, which is what I do.
How to Be Your Own Mailing List Provider
Is your site on self-hosted WordPress CMS (content management system)?
MailPoet is a great solution for WordPress. You do NOT pay for each mailing. It's $99 per YEAR to have unlimited addresses.
Is your site on Joomla? (CMS)
ACYMailing is my favorite mailing program of all time. The whole AuthorsXP.com web site runs on it. You do NOT pay for each mailing. It's $34 per YEAR to have unlimited addresses.
Is your site just an old fashioned HTML site your cousin did for you that isn't even phone friendly?
Come on. Cut that out. Do you want to get serious about your marketing or what? (I can help, see note below)
What if web site technology makes you cry?
Or if you know anyone who is even vaguely techy, both the programs I mentioned are very easy to setup and use. They can probably help you too!