Most people who run an online business or a blog will confirm that an excellent way to generate steady income is to maintain an active list of email subscribers to whom you can market campaigns. Consistent and high-quality communication to your subscribers builds loyalty, shares information, and increases your revenue. This is a very important part of my business, but lately, I have become increasingly aware of – and agitated by – the number of poorly written email newsletters that continue to flood my inbox.
After some reflection, I want to share three things you can do as a business or blog owner that will ensure I will unsubscribe from your email list. These three things will cut short any loyalty or goodwill I’ve developed toward you and will guarantee no money will be sent your way. I share this to get readers’ thoughts as well so I can continue to offer the information you find most useful to meeting your goals.
Bait and Switch
Your fancy headline promises some useful information but after I read it, I feel unsatisfied. The other day, I received a headline that had the word FREE in it, but after opening the email, the only thing that was FREE was a link to an article on their blog that was sent to me the week prior. I know in the content world, headlines really matter, but the headline should reflect what the information to come will be.
I’ve also seen the word FREE used for promotions that led me to a site where I learned that the first monthly payment toward something was free, and I would be responsible for a monthly fee of $39.99 for the next five months. Did the promotion say “first MONTH free?” No…it clearly read as if the full product was being offered for free. Not only was this misleading, but it made the product look extremely expensive compared to the original “FREE” offer.
Too Much Time Selling
I have subscribed to newsletters where I just get a bunch of sales pitches on information products that the website owner gets paid to sell as an affiliate. I get it. I’m an online business owner and I want to bank a livable income for my hard work, and one way to build relationships and make an income is to promote information products. However, if more of your emails are spent selling versus offering valuable information I don’t have to pay for, you lose credibility in my mind and then I’m out. There is always another place to go to find this same information without the barrage of sales pitches.
When I sign up for a webinar and as part of the registration I have to provide my email address, I expect that my address will be used to provide information about the webinar, a receipt of some type, and possibly one follow-up email after the fact. I very much dislike it when the person running the webinar automatically adds me to their email distribution list and I am suddenly receiving daily emails about their products or service. I never signed up for the actual newsletter. Maybe this information was in the fine print, and I know I can easily unsubscribe at the bottom of every email, but it just feels like a sneaky way to get my email, and I’m left with a bad taste in my mouth. A better way to encourage my continued interest is to send ONE follow-up email that provides an incentive for me to sign-up for ongoing tips or information.
I am not against email subscription lists at all; actually I am a big supporter of them as a communication tool and as a viable revenue model. I maintain lists for my business and I’ve voluntarily and intentionally (imagine that!) signed up for lists that others maintain. When they are used strategically and are designed to add value for customers and prospects, they achieve a win-win result for entrepreneurs and their base. But businesses that bait me, spend too much time selling, and are sneaky about their sign-up can kiss my benevolence –and my buying potential – good-bye!
Now to You
What things do you think work for an effective newsletter? What things would you add to the list?