List Size.001

“How many subscribers does it really take to make money with a blog?”

“Does list size really matter?”

“I have a tiny list, should I start selling something now or wait until it’s bigger?”

The email list.

It’s this gloriously stressful “must-have” that all bloggers, entrepreneurs, and anyone with an online business has heard is a really big deal.

But how much does it really matter?

What size does it need to be to make the money you want to make?

Well roll your sleeves up and grab a cup-a-tea because today we’re getting all down and nerdy with some real numbers.

I’m going to show you exactly how many subscribers you’d need to make $5,000 next month.

Now before we dive into the research, and numbers, and math of it all, we need to talk conversion rate.

Conversion rate is fancy word-nerd talk for how many people on your email list actually click buy.

And according to Marketing Sherpa’s 2012 research, the average conversion rate can range anywhere from 2% – 10% (or more if you’re just that good).

This means that you can probably bet that 2% – 10% of the people on your email list are going to say yes to buying from you.

Seems fair, right?

You can’t expect that every single person on your email list is going to have the money, let alone want to buy everything you put out there.

So, since this is the case, let’s chat about how many subscribers you’d need to have to hit a goal of making $5,000 next month based on three different conversion rates – 2% (to be conservative), 5% (to be a little more confident) and 10% (to account for those times when people just really can’t wait to get their hands on your offering).

And because there are all kinds of things you could be selling (or want to sell), let’s chat about how this could work for 4 different kinds of businesses…

  1. Sarah the health coach who sells private coaching packages
  2. Dave the personal trainer who sells group coaching programs
  3. Erin the life coach who sells eBooks
  4. Lily the yoga teacher who sells all three of these things

Obviously these are all hypothetical scenarios – I’m not talking about real people. I’m just playing make-believe so I can paint you a picture of how many subscribers different kinds of businesses, selling different kinds of things probably need in order to bring home the green juice.

Cool beans?

Let’s dive right in…

What Size List Does Health Coach Sarah Need to Hit $5,000? (She Sells Private Coaching Packages)

In order to make $5,000/month, Sarah needs to sell 2 of her $2,500 coaching packages each month. This is how many subscribers she’d need to hit that number…


What Size List Does Personal Trainer Dave Need to Hit $5,000? (He Sells Group Coaching Programs)

In order to hit $5,000/month, Dave would need to sell 10 $500 group coaching packages each month. This is how many subscribers he’d need to hit that number…


What Size List Does Life Coach Erin Need to Hit $5,000? (She Sells eBooks)

If Erin wants to make $5,000/month, she needs to sell 100 eBooks each month. This is how many subscribers she’d need to hit that number…


What Size List Does Yoga instructor Lily Need to Hit $5,000? (She Sells a Combo Platter)

Since Lily offers private coaching, group coaching, and eBooks, with the average sale per person working out to $750, she’d need to make 7 sales a month to make $5,250/month. This is how many subscribers she’d need to hit that number…


The Elephant In The Room

It’s pretty obvious, right?

The more high-end, premium-priced you go, the less subscribers you need to hit that $5,000+/month goal.

Now I’m not suggesting that you should, or must offer higher-priced private coaching packages.

I’m just here to give you the numbers so you can make the smart-cookie decisions that are right for your business.

Also keep in mind that….

1. These aren’t absolutely-right-in-every-situation numbers. They’re simply educated guesses on what size your list needs to be to make a certain amount of money.

2. These are just the base numbers. These are the number of subscribers each kind of business would need – depending on their conversion rate – to make their first sale.

In order to keep the momentum going, they’d need to keep building their list so they can keep bringing in new potential clients and customers.

In a perfect world – where math always worked out perfectly and we always got a consistent conversion rate – that would mean that each month they’d need to double their list.

So in order for Dave to make his first 10 sales with a 5% conversion rate he’d only need 200 subscribers.

To make 10 more sales he’d need another 200 subscribers – for a grand total of 400 subscribers.

To make 10 more sales he’d need another 200 subscribers – for a grand total of 600 subscribers.

And on we go…

So is your email list really that important?

The truth is, no. You don’t need a huge list to make decent money.

But – and here’s where it gets a tad complicated – it really depends on what kind of business you want to build.

Your list isn’t necessarily important if you have the kind of business where you only need one or two people to buy something from you each month.

(Keeping in mind that you might want to still grow your list now in case you decide to start selling group programs, eBooks, or other things down the line).

But your list is important if you have the type of business where you need dozens, hundreds, or thousands of sales each month to make what you want to make.

So what size list do you need to make the kind of money you want to make?

Play around with the numbers.

Decide what your money goals are, take an educated guess at what your conversion rate is (or better yet, look at the stats from your last launch), and figure out how many subscribers you’d probably need to make that happen.

Then go out their and charm those subscribers into coming your way.

Just remember – as you work on getting noticed and building your list – Bernadette Jiwa once said something you should always keep in mind…

Tweet: “Don’t start by asking how can we get noticed. Build something worth noticing. There’s a subtle difference.”


Big hugs,

My Blog Signature



P.S. Speaking of list size, wanna know exactly what I did to double my email list in just 90 days? I’m spilling the beans and sharing the goods (even some mistakes I made) in Intro to Guest Post Pitching. Join us?