The Email List Mistake That Caused The Loss of 40,000 Subscribers And Thousands Of Dollars In Revenue
Imagine logging in to your email marketing account to send out your latest offer, and finding all your subscribers have been deleted.
The icy grip of fear clutches your chest, panic starts to set in, and you start shaking your head in disbelief as you frantically try and figure out what went wrong.
That’s when the cold realisation hits:
You don’t have a fresh backup of your list.
It sounds like the kind of boogeyman story that email marketers would tell their kids, but it was the reality for Chanie Hyde, who deleted 40,000 subscribers from her list accidentally.
Accidentally. But permanently.
She reached out to her email marketing provider for support in a panic, as the number of subscribers on her list marched relentlessly down towards zero.
Only to be told in no uncertain terms… it was not fixable.
She had indeed queued all her subscribers for permanent deletion.
I can barely imagine how she must have felt when that gut wrenching realisation dawned on her that everything was gone.
Knowing that without your email audience, you can’t earn a living from your work.
And then being told
Your email marketing provider can’t help
But wait, I hear you say… don’t the email marketing providers have backups?
Well, the truth is, yes they do.
But they can’t use them to help you.
The backups your provider makes are designed for “disaster recovery”.
What that means is – in the event of a catastrophe – they can grab the latest good backup and spin up a new copy of their entire email marketing platform.
But here’s the problem:
These disaster recovery backups are HUGE.
They hold thousands of customer accounts, plus all the software that makes up the platform.
So they can’t use disaster recovery backups for anything other than a full platform restore.
It would be like restoring an entire office full of computers to get a single file… and they are not going to do that unless the data loss was their fault or responsibility.
Thing is, there are so many ways you can lose subscribers because of your own “fault”.
And if that happens, your email marketing provider’s backups can’t help you.
- So if you trash your email list by deleting the wrong segment …
- Or you upload the wrong CSV file…
- Or you misconfigure an app integration or automation…
- Or someone logs in to your account and wipes your list deliberately…
You’re on your own
And it’s far more likely you’ll lose subscribers for those reasons than it is for your email marketing provider’s servers to get wiped out in a storm.
It doesn’t matter whether your email marketing provider uses “the cloud” or not.
If the action came from inside your account, and they haven’t provided a specific feature that lets you undo that action as part of their app, the data is changed forever EVERYWHERE.
The risks skyrocket if you use third party lead generation or automation tools.
Or if your account gets hacked.
Or if employees can login to your account.
Blogging service, JournalSpace found this out the hard way in 2009.
A disgruntled employee wiped all their data… including their only backup.
And without a viable backup, it was game over for their business.
The bottom line is this.
Even if your email marketing provider could help you recover lost or trashed subscribers…
You need your own backups
That’s because, like “eggs in baskets”… you should never keep your data in just one place… especially when that place is outside your control!
Fact is, nobody cares about your business as much as you do.
Not even your email marketing provider.
The most important thing to them is email deliverability.
It’s the ‘golden goose’ they must protect at all costs.
All it takes is a badly received email to put you on the wrong side of policy…
Or a rogue affiliate who gets your website blacklisted for spam.
Or a targeted campaign by unscrupulous competitors to raise your complaint rate.
Or a period of poor list hygiene.
Your account could be shut down
If that happens, it could take weeks to get your list back (if at all).
Fact is, you don’t have to be a conspiracy-theorist or white nationalist to get booted from your email marketing provider.
Regular, hardworking men and women who are running legitimate businesses, serving their audiences and providing for their families, get booted too.
Blogger, Tim Denning, was banned for life for an unspecified policy breach after sharing a friend’s Medium article with his list of around 50,000 subscribers.
Entrepreneur, Ryan Guina, lost several thousand dollars in revenue when his list of 30,000 subscribers was cut off without notice in the middle of his biggest marketing event of the year.
The reason – his spam complaint rate had crept too high.
Imagine all the subscribers you’ve spent time and money building a relationship with suddenly vanished…
Have you got a fresh backup?
If you’re like me… the answer is “probably not”.
It’s such a hassle remembering to login and export your lists, isn’t it?
Like me, you probably started out with good intentions, but with so many other things to take care of, enthusiasm fizzled out fast.
And pretty soon, the last backup you have is weeks or months old.
Old backups are risky
If you use an old backup, it’s going to get you in all kinds of trouble.
At best, you might just annoy people who unsubscribed since you made the export.
That might lead to spam complaints and lower engagement, killing your deliverability.
At worst, you might hit a recycled spam trap and find yourself blacklisted. That’s when an email address gets abandoned by its owner and is recycled into a spam trap by the provider… and this can happen in as little as 30-90 days.
Either way, that’s the fast track to getting your account permanently shut down.
You need to store and rotate your old backups carefully too.
That’s because they contain people’s personal data… their name, email address and so on.
Which means your backups need to be compliant with privacy laws like GDPR and CCPA.
If they are not, then every CSV export file you have on your computer or cloud drive is…
A lawsuit waiting to happen
Especially if you aren’t carefully encrypting your export files before storing them.
All it takes is for one of your cloud drive connected devices to get lost or stolen, and your subscribers personal data could easily fall into the wrong hands.
A data breach will not only destroy all trust in your business, it can also result in a business-crippling fine… or expensive lawsuits from angry customers whose personal information got leaked on your watch.
That’s why I created ListLockr
It protects your email list by making a secure, encrypted backup of your key subscriber data.
Automatically… Every. Single. Day.
You just set it up once and it’s done.
You don’t have to think about it… or “do” anything.
The service encrypts all subscriber personal data, and enforces a maximum 30 day rolling data retention period… making it 100% compliant with GDPR and other privacy laws.
For added security, we don’t allow backups to be directly downloaded from your account. Not even by us. Instead, when you request a download, a special time-limited link is emailed directly to the account holder.
It also has a flexible backup quota to help you control costs. This means as your subscriber numbers grow, we remove older backups to keep you within your chosen plan’s quota.
We’ll also send you weekly backup summaries and give you advanced warning as you start to outgrow your plan, giving you time to upgrade when the time is right for you.
I should probably wax on about all the other features, but the bottom line is
ListLockr can protect thousands of subscribers for less than it costs to replace one of them
Let’s do some quick math using industry averages.
But not all opt-ins are equal.
Once you weed out the fake, mistyped and unconfirmed emails, and factor in 20% average email open rates, your cost per responsive subscriber is nearer $25.
So, replacing 1,000 responsive subscribers could cost you $25,000
Let that sink in for a moment.
ListLockr can protect 2,500 subscribers for just $3 a month.
Literally less than a big latte at Starbucks for total peace of mind.
And the more subscribers you have, the cheaper it gets.
You can see why our customers say it’s…
“A no-brainer insurance policy“
ListLockr is compatible with the following Email Marketing Providers:
Our flexible plans are suitable for both large and small lists, protecting your list as you grow.
What’s more, you can enjoy complete protection from day one secure in the knowledge you are protected by our triple guarantee, which means:
- No Risk – You get 7 days totally free plus a 30 day money back guarantee
- Price Lock – no sneaky price rises, your active subscription pricing is set in stone
- Customer Support – when you need it most, we are here for you
Oh, and did I mention you get your first 7 days totally free… with no card details needed?
So take ListLockr for a spin and give your lists the backup protection they deserve…
Founder of ListLockr
Ps – If you use some other provider, don’t panic. We’ll be integrating with more providers as time goes on, so simply click here and I’ll let you know when your provider is supported.