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How to LOSE Your Newsletter Subscribers

Keller Hawthorne | March 30, 2010 | 9 Comments
Email Marketing 101
How to LOSE Your Newsletter Subscribers

Way back in July 09’, about two months after officially launching my blog, I wrote a post titled “How I Attracted My First 100 Newsletter Subscribers.” In it, I described how to gain subscribers using your content, email management tool and website design.

In this post, I would like to focus on exactly how you can LOSE your subscribers. Many of us know what we should be doing to get people to follow us, but sometimes looking at it from this perspective can help light the fire under our email marketing butts to start doing things right.

My Recent Personal Experience

As some of you know, I’m 5 months pregnant. Throughout December, January and part of February, I struggled with morning sickness. I actually stopped writing blog posts for about a month as I couldn’t convince my stomach to let me look at a computer monitor. Since then, I’ve slowly regained my strength and sanity, but I must admit it’s been tough getting back into my old blogging schedule. I’m still behind, but I’m working my way back to being a consistent blogger.

Unfortunately, not all of your blog readers will understand that life happens. Others may get the wrong idea or simply not wish to wait around for you.

I’ve received a couple negative comments recently regarding my lack of engagement on my blog. A few people have even dropped out of my newsletter, leaving the following feedback:

“I really get tired about hearing about why you haven’t written–we are all busy.”

“I got updates less and less and didn’t feel like she was devoted to her site.”

Ouch! Those hurt. But, they hurt for a reason – they’re right.

For the first time since I launched my blog, I was not devoted to it. My blog posts became inconsistent and my ability to keep up with communications became harder and harder.

I certainly can’t expect people to just wait for me to return full-force. There are tons of other bloggers out there that are engaged and ready to roll. The Internet isn’t going to wait for me.

So, as I take on the challenge of rebuilding my blog audience, I’m faced with several email marketing lessons that I would like to share with you today. Please feel free to add your own lessons in the comments section!

1. Offer Nothing of Value

A surefire way to lose newsletter subscribers is to offer absolutely nothing of value to them! Whether it’s crap content, products, or reports, if it offers no value, it will drive your subscribers away.

Valuable content:

  • Interests your subscribers
  • Helps your subscribers solve a problem
  • Offers unique ideas, viewpoints and opinions (rather than regurgitated BS)
  • Alerts your subscribers to something new or important
  • Answers your subscribers questions

If your newsletters don’t offer any of the above, you’re at serious risk of shrinking your list.

2. Be Completely Inconsistent

This has been my recent downfall with my newsletter – a total lack of consistency, be it with when I send out newsletters or the type of content I send.

One person recently unsubscribed from my list because they “received too many emails from me.” Another unsubscribed because they weren’t receiving enough. Ok, how the heck do you fix a situation like this? Which one’s right?

You’re never going to be able to please everyone. There will always be someone who thinks you contact them too much while someone else thinks you contact them too little. The key is keeping the majority of your list happy.

I honestly think one of the most powerful email marketing techniques is consistency. With it, you’re able to train your readers on how often they can expect to hear from you and what type of content they can expect to receive. If your readers haven’t a clue about either, you run the risk of losing them each time you contact them.

You can stay consistent by sending emails out during the same time each week or by always providing quality content.

3. Email Your Subscribers ALL the Time

Want to become a royal pain in the you-know-what? Try contacting your list 5 times a day for a week and see how many stay subscribed. Guess what – yours are not the only emails your subscribers receive every day.

You really are competing for your list’s attention each time you send out an email. Imagine the people that are on my list – people who want to learn more about Internet businesses. Each of them may also be subscribed to the email list of John Chow, Yaro Starak, and John Reese – not to mention all of the less-known marketers like myself who offer newsletters.

At some point, an inbox will fill to the max and cause a subscriber to make a choice – which newsletter can I live without? Now, if all 5 of your emails every day offers hardcore value, you might convince your subscribers to stay. But honestly – who has time to read that many emails? Do you? Do you really think your list does?

Don’t overwhelm your subscribers. Don’t bother them either. Keep your communication to a minimum – two to three times a week. If you really need to contact them more than that, try the following:

  • Combine 2 emails into 1
  • Make it clear when they subscribe how often you will be in touch

4. Never Email Your Subscribers

You don’t want to surprise your subscribers when you email them because they hardly ever hear from you. By never emailing your list, you run the risk that your subscribers will forget who you are and forget that they even subscribed to your list. This not only wreaks havoc on your list count, but can also cause spam complaints – a potentially serious issue.

Don’t let your list forget about you. If you’re unable to keep up with communications, try setting up an autoresponder series (AWeber is great for this sort of email marketing). Essentially, you set up a certain number of emails to automatically be sent out to your subscribers. Write the content today, enter it into your email software, tell the software when you want each email sent out and then forget it! Just make sure to come back and enter more content in the future!

5. Always Sell to Your List

Do you enjoy commercials? Neither do I and neither does your list. Obviously, your email list is one of the most powerful money-makers you have, but your list shouldn’t know that!

This goes back to offering real value to your list. If you focus most of your emails on convincing people to buy something, you’re most likely not helping them.

Now, sending informative emails with minor calls-to-actions isn’t bad at all. But limit the number of emails that focus entirely on a purchase. Again, if the majority of emails you send out are informative, you can get away with sales emails every once in a while – but you must lay the foundation of trust and quality first!

Tip!The ONLY exception to this rule is a newsletter for an ecommerce store. If people subscribe to your list because they want updates on new product lines, then go ahead and send out those call-to-action emails!

What Tips Can You Share About Losing Newsletter Subscribers?

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