If 95% of you unsubscribed, it would make me immensely happy.
If you’re reading this, you weren’t one of the sixteen people that unsubscribed amidst the heated excited discussion over the past few emails. While the core goal of this experiment was to unlock my voice, I was curious how quickly I could get 95% of you to unsubscribe.
Since you’re still here… I’ll share my logic, math, and data.
Napkin math—which my accountant hates—shows that by the end of 2016, expenses for Ghost Influence (development, hosting, management, etc.) will be approximately $10K. Divided out across the year, that amounts to $833 per month in operating costs.
While $150K net revenue is my goal for Ghost Influence in 2017, I have my CMO position at PrimeMind and make residual commissions for referrals passed to colleagues. This aim is more a product of what’s needed for the next phase in the evolution of the community.
This boils down to a target of $12,500 p/mo. net revenue by the end of 2016.
In mid-December—as I established my goals for 2016—I did some math. With net revenue of $93.89 p/mo. for each member that joins Ghost Influence, this means that I need to end the year with 133 members. That’s it! It seemed like such a small number to me.
I’d also taken a look at my time expenses. I love getting to know people and connecting dots, but it resulted in a large number of consulting inquiries that weren’t quite a fit. I could do what they were asking, but it wasn’t exactly what would move me towards my goals.
I made this commitment, “If someone was interested in working with me, I would direct them to Ghost Influence ($97 p/mo.). If they wanted me to execute for them, I would filter based on a minimum project budget of $10,000. If they didn’t fit within either of those buckets, I would connect them to a colleague with services were more fitting.”
In the first 15 days of 2016, my schedule emptied by 80%.
I was passing referrals like a hooker passes venereal diseases except… I was making friends. My colleagues were thrilled and started paying me commissions! I was making money by turning down work and the more I turned down, the more seemed to come in.
In mid-January, I walked into the cafe to work and realized I didn’t have too much to work on. My retainer clients paid my expenses and my schedule was open to focus on building the membership of Ghost Influence (which was the plan all along). The offer was established and I just needed to drive traffic. Walking away from my computer to recenter my mind and find a direction in which to focus, I came up with an idea… emailing my list.
At the time, about 2,700 people were subscribed to the list.
I hadn’t emailed you in forever and you hardly knew who I was. It cause me angst every time I thought about it so I finally said “fuck it” and thus the daily email series was born.
The thought that immediately followed was quite contrarian:
“If 95.1% of my current email list unsubscribed, I would have exactly 133 people.”
If 133 people remained after being bombarded with daily emails, I could assume they were somewhat interested in what I had to say. The logic seemed sound so I extrapolated it further thinking that those 133 people would have at that point become members.
The faster I could get 95.1% of you off my email list, the sooner I’d hit my goal.
There’s a reason I’m unabashedly me – it’s a fantastic filter. Many of the initial members that joined Ghost Influence left as a result of not being ready to execute, wanting immediate results, or thinking they could pull value from a community like Reddit without giving value first. Reflecting back, the means by which these members joined was less than authentic.
When I forced the sale, I forced the wrong people in.
When you’re building a community, finding new members is a bit like farting. If you have to force it, it’s probably shit. Seamlessness is the single most important factor in this process.
With this discovery, I stopped spending money on advertising, killed my affiliate program, and gave up on seeking out influencers. If it wasn’t organic, I wasn’t interested.
Here is the traffic to the Ghost Influence website in the past 30 days:
See the four distinct spikes? Those spikes were fostered using methods I teach within Ghost Influence — submissions to Reddit, interviews on popular blogs (via cold outreach), and posting within Facebook groups using Digital Empathy. Want to know why there aren’t more spikes? Each time the site got traffic, I got bombarded with LiveChat conversations, new email subscribers, and interest emails that lead to new members joining.
I didn’t push harder for more traffic because I had what I could handle.
The traffic converted to conversations, the conversations converted to relationships, and the relationships converted to members which moved me closer to my goal. If I drove too much traffic, I wouldn’t have the time for all the conversations and it wouldn’t help my goal.
- Find the core metric for your success based on the ultimate outcome you seek
- Have organic conversations with no objective and you’ll build relationships
- Don’t be afraid to be you, it’s a fantastic way to filter out the wrong people
While I feel that I was completely unaware of how this would all play out, writing this email makes me realize just how much of it was strategic. It’s always seemed too simple. I was constantly finding myself thinking, “there’s no way something so basic could foster such a complex outcome” and forced myself to move forward, keeping it as simple as possible.
Ghost Influence has become more of a family than I ever imagined and the results people are seeing merely from having a mentor to bounce things off continually amazes me.
What’s the simplest thing that you can do (or stop doing) to move yourself forward today?