Now, I don’t really want to annoy my email subscribers. They’re pretty awesome. They took a chance and let me have their email address. So I want to make sure they’re happy they did so!
But, even with a list of to-dos and best practices, people who want to have a thriving email list make mistakes. The hardest situations for me to see are when a client of mine is doing 90% of things right, but making just one of these mistakes below and really annoying her subscribers.
Annoyed subscribers delete your emails without opening. Or they unsubscribe. And sometimes, they mark your emails as spam. All three are bad news for you.
Please make sure you’re not doing any of these. And I promise, I’ll look at my own process to make sure I avoid these too! Just in case you want to subscribe on that form at the bottom of this post 🙂
Annoy your email subscribers by doing any of the following!
1| No introduction or welcome emails
When a subscriber first signs up for your list, you probably have a great lead magnet for them. But sending out the lead magnet (or opt-in freebie) isn’t enough. After that, you need to send one or more emails introducing yourself and letting your new subscriber know what to expect.
You can tell your new subscriber all about what you do and how you can help them out. If you have an unusual business or different set of policies, call those out. This is a great time to set some expectations.I don’t like immediate sales pitches in welcome emails, but it’s okay if you talk about what you have to offer. Just make it in the spirit of helping.
Sending links to additional free goods, links to your popular posts, and/or links to other media where you’re featured can also help your new subscriber figure out who you are and what you’re all about.
And finally, remember why you’re even bothering with a list. You want to build a relationship with subscribers, not just gather a high number of subscribers. So, ask about them and give them a way to get back to you.
2| Emailing sporadically
If you want your subscribers to open your emails, be as consistent as possible. I have a lovely client who just doesn’t want to send a regular email out. Every few months, she’d send something and get a ton of unsubscribes. That’s because half the folks on her list forgot who she was!
Even the subscribers who stayed on her list weren’t opening many of her emails. They knew she wouldn’t really be around to actually put energy into a relationship, so it wasn’t worth the bother. They just wanted to know when her next product came out, and they could get that from the subject line.
Pick a regular schedule of emailing. Or do it frequently enough that people see your name in their inbox all the time. Personally, one to two times per week feels right to me. I do have a client who only emails monthly. But she sends out such high value, that people look forward to getting her email. And I get daily emails from some people. There are only 2 people who send a daily email that I read. If you’re going to send daily, you’d better come up with great value each and every day.
3| Sending a sale email after months of complete silence
How do you feel when your fifth grade BFF that you haven’t seen since elementary school calls you up and invites you to a “party” selling stretchy leggings and crazy-print tunics?* Even if you like the product she’s pushing, you feel like a sales goal to her, not a friend.
Same thing with emailing your subscribers. If you haven’t sent anything for months, and try to reconnect with an email about your latest video course, you’ll annoy your subscribers. They will feel like just a number and they’ll doubt the claim that you really want to help them (even if you really do). Sending out emails regularly is like keeping in touch with a friend.
4| You’ll really annoy your subscribers if you never get around to the point
Since I believe email marketing is all about building relationships with your subscribers, I think it’s fine to mention things about your life and what’s going on with you. For example, if I’ve subscribed to a Pinterest guru’s email list, I want information about Pinterest.
If my Pinterest guru instead sends email after email about her dog, meandering emails that lead no where, and newsletters with no “meat” to them, I’ll drop off her list. She can mention her dog if it ties into a Pinterest story, or she can have an email that meanders a bit if she then brings it back to me, the subscriber in some way. If an email list stops being interesting or useful to me, I’ll unsubscribe.
5| Never listening to your subscribers
If you’ve asked questions or put up a survey and your subscribers have done you a big favor and answered, it’s just common courtesy to listen to them. I’m not saying that you have do what they suggest. But if you acknowledge their input you can go a long way in building trust.
Mostly, people want to be heard. If you can make your audience feel heard in some way, you’ll have a happier audience. Something as simple as an announcement of the results of your survey, or a quick thank you reply lets a subscriber know you heard them.
6| Always selling
Here’s the biggie. You can’t always sell, unless you’re a big, impersonal department store. And really, maybe they shouldn’t either. If you’re continually pushing products and that’s all you send, you’ll wear out your audience. They’ll get tired of the sell, and they’ll either unsubscribe or just stop opening your emails. That’s bad for you and potentially bad for them too. Even if you tried to put the perfect product in front of them, they’d just ignore you.
Now, I’m not saying to shy away from selling. Selling is okay and frankly, expected. Everyone knows that’s why you have an email list in the first place.
But my friend and coach, Mike Killen, says that you need to earn the right to sell to someone, and I love that idea.
You need to show your subscribers that you know and understand them. You need to give them value to convince them that you can help them. You need to be consistent so they know they can trust you. What it takes to earn the right to sell to someone varies tremendously, so it’s hard to give a metric. The more value you give away, the more you can sell.
If you need somewhere to start though, try sending two to three value emails, meaning emails that help subscribers or give them value, for every pure sales letter. An easy way to do this is to send value emails is to send out a weekly newsletter with helpful links.
Notice what’s not on this list. Sending too many emails.
I don’t know about you. I’m not sure I’ve unsubscribed from any list because I received too many emails. But I have been annoyed by too many useless emails. When the emails are valuable to me and my business, I’ll put up with more emails than I prefer because of the great value.
If your subscribers are getting a gem of value in each email, they’ll stick with you. Take a look through your email sequences and your processes, and make sure you’re providing great value, and you’re not annoying your subscribers!
*I actually don’t hate direct marketing – I have a couple of friends who kick ass at these types of businesses. They do it by NOT annoying people and by adding value by teaching classes that can be used with or without their products.