When I first started this space, I had no clue how important it was to begin building an email list. I honestly only ever used a list for my online shop but had no clue how I could utilize it for my blog and now coaching business. Once I got hip to the world of email marketing, I worked my butt off to create a list full of creative friends who eagerly wanted to profit from their passions.
After going from about 250 subscribers to a 1,000 in a little over 60 days, I was ecstatic to hit that milestone. But little did I know that having a bunch of people on your email list was pointless if you didn't know what to do with them after they signed up. I'll admit, my weekly newsletters were a bit random at first and as a result, people were dropping like flies. And at one point I began to take it personally.
I knew how valuable having solid list was for not only building a community but also promoting my products as well, so the last thing I wanted to do was make a horrible first impression and have to start over from scratch. So I stepped back and did three things. First, I asked my audience in my reader survey this question...
What makes you want to sign up for a newsletter and what keeps you from unsubscribing?
And let me just tell you, the answers were like a smack in the face. Although I didn't specifically ask why they signed up for MY newsletter, their answers made me completely re-think how I was going about the content I was sending out. So before I get into what exactly I changed, I want to share with you what my readers say makes them interested in someones newsletter and what also keeps them around.
TRANSPARENT, HONEST & REAL CONTENT
According to my readers, they love knowing that we as business owners (or whatever field you may be in) can relate to what they are going through. They don't necessarily want to know all of our struggles but they do find those honest moments to be valuable. Transparency is most definitely the best way to build a relationship with your audience so even sharing a mistake you made throughout the week can really help with building that connection. Tell a story and don't be afraid to let your audience connect with you on a personal level. Jen is incredible at using storytelling & incredible content as a way to connect with her subscribers
This wasn't one that I was expecting but just like sharing your transparent and honest content will help you build that relationship between you and your audience, so will your personality. Your subscribers want to know that they are investing in a real person and not a robot and a lot of my readers mentioned that if your newsletter is "dry" and lacks personality, then they weren't going to stick around for long. Don't be afraid to let your personality really shine in your newsletters and treat it as if you were having a one-on-one conversation with a friend. My friends Maya & Regina are great at doing this in their newsletters.
HELPFUL, USEFUL, VALUABLE & ACTIONABLE CONTENT
Almost everyone who answered this question in my survey said that if the content is extremely helpful and if it was advice that they could apply right then and there, they would never unsubscribe. And I couldn't agree more! If someone is handing you their beloved email address and allowing you to invade their inbox, then the least we all can do is provide them with content that is not only actionable and helpful but also relevant to their journey. When writing out content for your newsletter, approach it just like you would a blog post and make sure it is equally relevant and helpful.
EXCLUSIVE CONTENT & OFFERS
Speaking of content, a few of my subscribers also mentioned that if the weekly newsletters were just a round up of your weekly blog content, they would probably unsubscribe. Like I mentioned before, your subscribers are allowing you to use their email which means you should be going the extra mile to make them want to stay. Your subscribers want to receive something that they can't just get everywhere and that may be just exclusive to them. This goes for the content you create and also getting the heads up or early access to new products or projects you may be working on.
Someone may not know you from a grain of salt but if your opt-in is absolutely irresistible & super valuable they will sign up for your newsletter in a heartbeat. Let's face it, people love free stuff. And not just any old crap they love free stuff that is actually of value. But it doesn't have to stop there. Even after someone has signed up for your list, still try to provide them with something that is free so they don't feel as if you're just in it to sell. A lot of the answers also said that they loved receiving free worksheets to go along with the content as well.
SPEAKING OF SELLING, STOP JUST SELLING
Most of my readers said that the number one reason they unsubscribe from someones newsletter, is because of the person selling too much. Now, I will say that if you sign up for someones email list, then you just have to expect to be sold to at some point but being sold to constantly is annoying. Someone also went as far as saying that they hated feeling like some newsletters are just "weekly infomercials" instead of valuable content. You should be giving 10x more than you're expecting to receive.
FEELING OF COMMUNITY
I mentioned earlier in this post that I was excited to build a list of other creatives, and I truly believe the people who sign up for your list feel the same way. Your "perfect people" want to feel like they belong somewhere and that they are with people who may understand what they are going through. You don't have to necessarily create a FB group for community but simply asking your subscribers what they need or asking their suggestion on something and letting them know that they can easily hit reply to ask you a question will give them the feeling of community and also build that trust.
There you have it folks, everything that makes people sign up, stick around or ditch your email list. I didn't make this up, like I said all of these answers legit cam directly from my reader survey. The people have spoken!
So what's the second thing I did? Well after reading some of these answers, I knew I had to revamp what I was sending out. I went back to the drawing board, thought about my target audience, their needs and how I could provide actionable, helpful content that was also somewhat exclusive. For the past few weeks, I have been sending out what is now called #TANBizBoost where I provide my subscribers with weekly video challenges to help them start or grow their online business. Now only has the feedback been incredible but my unsubscribes have decreased tremendously!
Lastly, I quit stressing over unsubscribes. While yes your "number" may decrease a little, unsubscribers are actually doing you a favor. You don't want to feel pressured to please everyone nor do you even want to work with everyone. And not everyone will actually find what you have to offer valuable. And that's OK! You should be focusing on people who genuinely have a need for you and your content, so let those who don't weed themselves out!