Zombies, brain pickers, and why you should open my emails – Kimberly Gosney

I’ve been trying and failing to write this post all week. But, I’m finally ready to fully dig into a touchy topic.

Growing your list.

OK, I know that’s not the name of this post. But, everyone is telling you to grow your list. To keep focusing the bulk of your time and energy on delivering value, giving freebies to your subscribers, and getting more people on your list so that you can bring in more money in the future.

And you’re doing that. I see you taking action.

List building is a great long-term strategy.

But, what if the people you’ve been adding to your list are all kinds of wrong for your business and they will never buy because they only want to pick your brain for FREE? #brainpickers


What if the people on your list don’t give two flips about anything you’re doing they just wanted your freebie and they aren’t even reading your emails? #zombies

Zombies and brain pickers don’t make for the healthiest way to grow your business.

About six months ago I noticed that the numbers in my business seemed off. I had my secret magic number of subscribers, but I wasn’t bringing in the revenue that I thought I should be making in year 2(ish) of my business.

I was also overwhelmed by the constant, never-ending steady stream of support messages I was receiving on Facebook for me to take a quick look at, or help someone figure something out, to hop on a call with, or to do something quick for someone else just because.

I say just because… because none of these messages in 2016 that I received contained anything that was in it for me to hop to it and help someone out.

Yet, I felt like I needed to give generously and help people that needed my help. So I did and I felt resentful and used up.

These messages were coming from #brainpickers.


My list was overpopulated with brain pickers! I was spending 50% of my working time developing content (videos, challenges, courses, webinars and more) for people that wanted to pick my brain in the hopes that I’d see it pay off when my list was big enough.

I say overpopulated because I started to do the math and the numbers didn’t add up.

Here’s the formula I now use when I think about launching something new to my list.

# of people on my list X 20% = the number of people that will open my emails.

The number of people that will open my emails X 0.01 = the number of people that will buy.

If I have 1000 people on my list (I do not and we’ll cover this in a moment) and I’m creating valuable content for them my open rate for emails should be 20% or 200 people.

200 people opening your emails isn’t peanuts, but of that only 2 people will buy.

But from 2014 – 2016 I didn’t do this math. I kept thinking 10% or more of the people on my list would convert to buyers (at a list of 1000 people that’s 100 buyers) or even worse yet, I said I think this course is so good it will make $5000 (a number I pulled out of the air.)

I worked my tail feathers off creating my website, course site, videos, content, running Facebook ads, growing my list, and trying all the things I thought I should be doing versus focusing on filling my list with quality people that get me that I love.

But here’s where the overpopulated list piece comes in.

What about the 80% that did nothing.

They didn’t open your emails they didn’t click on anything.

On the example of 1000 people with 20% opening that means 800 people did nothing!

Those are the #zombies.

Maybe it’s the Gmail black hole, maybe they’re just too stinking busy, maybe they’re on your list but they don’t like you.

You don’t want zombies on your list. They’ve got to go!

Seeing an overpopulated number of subscribers on your list makes you feel safe and secure. Like your list building efforts are so worth it. Then the numbers don’t add up.

But, let me ask you one BIG million dollar question!

Would you still be running your business today if you knew that all of your marketing efforts and focus were for two people?

Here’s why you need to open my emails.

If you don’t I will happily unsubscribe you because I’m not looking to create a zombie farm. I’m encouraging you to try this in your own business with your own list too.

Take Action!

Start tagging everyone that’s opened at least one of your emails for three months. I’m tracking February – April opens right now. You might start at the beginning of a fresh month like March and do March, April, and May.

Next tag people that click on a link in an email from you in the same time frame. I’m tracking February – Arpil clicks right now.

At the end of three months delete everyone on your list that hasn’t opened or clicked on an email from you.

Kill your #zombies.

DISCLAIMER: Don’t kill real people though because that’s illegal and not the kindest way to do business.

If a zombie was busy and they really love you they’ll come back to you when they are ready to make things happen, but for now, they’re just taking up your personal mental list space and overpopulating your numbers.

This will be hard and you will not want to do it.

The first time I did it I went from 1000 subscribers to 500.

The second time I did it I went from 500 subscribers to 167.

But, once you remove the #zombies you can focus your time and energy on serving the people who really are the most interested in getting help from you.

If someone didn’t open an email or click a link from you in the last three months, not even once – all you’re doing is taking up their crowded inbox space to, so you’re really doing them a favor!

But, what about the Brain Pickers?

I’m sharing tips on this next week. I’ll email you when that post is all ready to go.

Here’s to you for taking control of your list and filling it up with the people that need the value you provide the most today!

Your wallet will bless you for it.


  1. Ferris Jay on February 23, 2017 at 12:38 pm

    What a timely post – and a topic that was on my mind this week, as my email list reached a new price level (until I deleted all my unsubscribers). It’s a brave move for sure to delete the Zombies but I can see why you recommend it. Thanks Kimberley.

    • Kimberly Gosney on March 1, 2017 at 1:53 pm

      Woohoo Ferris Jay I’m so glad you did it. <3 <3 <3 Way to go.

  2. […] somewhere out there but not opened or clicked on and now this amazing person is an inbox zombie, oh […]

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