Avoid The Cleanse: How To Keep Your Subscribers

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If you don't know what this is, I'm not explaining it.I’ve been cleansing for the past week. Not one of “those” cleanses that your friends post about on Facebook that makes you cringe, but an inbox cleanse. I’m trying to clear my inbox and stay on top of it. I was at 1800+ a few days ago (emails that needed attention) to 140 now. One of the things I’ve been doing is unsubscribing from almost every newsletter I’ve been on. Only a select few have survived from the dozens, if not 100+ I was on. Why did they stay? Recognized, Relevance, Relationship.

I recognized the sender and remember signing up in the first place.

The content is relevant to me, not just relevant to the sender, like a sales pitch.

I feel a connection to the brand, like a relationship.

Really, there are three classifications of email that we all receive:

1. Spam/trash/not reading.

2. Will read later.

3. Must read/react.

Stay out of the first two categories, because “will read later” is latin for “not reading later, see it 3 months from now, feel guilty, delete, pretend I never got it.”

Here are some tips to get yours into category 3:

- Get them in the door in the first place. Having a box on your website that says “Sign-up for our free newsletter” is not enticing. Besides, since when was the “free” part unique? Are there a rash of crappy paid newsletters that are taking over the nation that I didn’t know about? How about “Sign-up for product updates and exclusive announcements” if you’re a product business. Or something like “Sign-up for weekly tips on how to save your business money.”

- When I do sign-up, send me a welcome email, not a confirmation email. Big difference. A confirmation email is “You’ve been added to the BoringAsPaint newsletter. 8490283HJF-94″ or even better “You’ve been added, here’s the info you just entered into the form.” Someone signing up for your newsletter/blog update list is them raising their hand for a brand high five, and we’re leaving most people hanging. Do you know how stupid people feel when they’re left hanging for a high-five? It’s almost as embarrassing as tweeting about a juice cleanse. Welcome them. Talk to them. Start a conversation.

When you sign-up for my newsletter, my welcome email says:

“Hi there,

Thanks for signing up to the Un-Marketing newsletter. I know how an
inbox can get crowded and I appreciate you allowing my newsletter
to get through the clutter.

May I ask what line of business you’re in? It helps me tailor the
newsletter to you even better.”

Really, it does, go see for yourself and you’ll get emailed only when I have something awesome to say for your business (see what I did there?)

Go ahead, reply to it. I’ll see it. :)

You know what that does for me? It creates a connection with the reader and automatically sets the tone for future emails. Most don’t reply, and of the ones who do, half are replying to say they just like the fact that I asked! For the ones that do, I read them. I get them right to my phone, and I reply to a lot of them. I used to have them go to my assistant, but then I realized that missed the point of the reason I was asking it in the first place: I wanted to know!

Not only does it create a connection and I’ve had awesome conversations with people because of it, it’s lead to book sales and speaking gigs. When researching speakers about “engagement” for a conference coming up, the booker subscribed to a few newsletters of potential keynotes. Guess who the only one was that actually engaged with her? I’m looking forward to keynoting that conference. For those of you saying “Whoa cowboy! We can’t handle that amount of email replies!” Relax. The 3 subscribers you’re getting a week won’t overload the server with responses. Even a big brand shouldn’t have a lot of issues. I had a newsletter in a different industry with over 350,000 subscribers, thousands coming in a day. Most people don’t reply, they just like the fact you asked.

Also, when you connect with them, your brand is no longer a brand, but a conversation they’ve had and when your name pops into their inbox again? They recognize you. Forget “best time of day to send email” if they don’t recognize you, it doesn’t really matter what time it is.

Check out this great example of a brand being awesome in a confirmation email that products are on their way.

Even my fave Tshirt company, Sevenly says this when they email to confirm you’ve bought a shirt and helped a cause:

- Respect your readers. I’ve said this many times in books and talks, but email them when you have something to say that’s useful for them, not because you “should” send weekly. I rarely blog, but when I do, people open the email about it because if my lazy-ass wrote something, it has to be good.

- Make it personal. I can’t stand automation, that’s no secret. When it comes to newsletters, when I say “automation” I mean the sending of blog posts and the copy that goes with it. The “Feed” looking notification that a new post is up, or even the cut-off intro to the post. I write a custom email to my list when a new blog post is up, just for them. It’s short, fun and I love writing it. And only they get it.

So which ones made the cut for me? Sideshow Collectibles (because I’m obsessed with comic statues, those are mine in the pic), Convince & Convert (Because Jay and his team have the best content around, and a new book coming out) and a few others.

So go forth and become a category three newsletter, and save the crap for the cleanse.

Which emails are category 3 for you? Are you on an email cleanse? Let me know in the comments below?