Delighting subscribers

I published a “worthwhile post” last night about how to stream media from a DVD. So I hit “Publish.”

Then I realized I wanted the featured video to appear in the right navigation. I thought, “I better set that up quickly so my subscribers only get one email from the Marketing Strategy Blog. I don’t want them getting an email about the article and a separate email about the video.”

When Chris unsubscribed

Tonight my friend Chris Cade (who guest wrote a blog here) unsubscribed from my blog. I asked him for feedback. He replied:

"Trying to cut down on total emails and
I already get notification of your
blog posts via twitter."

Between his response and my own self-consciousness about “what’s worth an email,” I’m wondering how authors far more prolific and popular than I deal with emails for subscriber base. So I ask them here,

Dear Prolific Blogger, What’s your email strategy for subscribers?

— I know that an RSS feed (which I offer) is not for everyone. As “technically savvy” as I am (not really, but I imagine I’m in the top five percent of Internet users), I don’t use RSS feeds as often as I probably should.

— I get that “you need to offer your subscriber a reason to subscribe” — perhaps a special offer available only to subscribers. And I’d go there if this were my business, but it’s not. I blog for lots of reasons, income is not one of them.

— I know I want to build my subscription base. More subscribers means a larger circle of influence, which can lead to meeting a key influencer that teaches me something new, a writing or speaking opportunity, and who knows what else.

— I don’t want to clog my subscribers’ inboxes with trivia. On the other hand, I like using this platform for expression without everything having to be “important.” Plus, my Google Analytics report indicates my Humor and Random tabs are popular.


So, Prolific (and less prolific) Bloggers

and consumers of social media,

give me some advice.

How to balance the tension between

subscriber emails and the “importance” of the content?


  1. The Fearless Blogger @faryl at ~ whose fancy blue question mark I just stole) DMed me on Twitter:

    @JoeHageOnline might be helpful to you (via @mayhemstudios @upicks)

    Give it a look.

  2. My blog’s feed (via feedburner) sends one mail a day. I’d started a “tumble log” (at to try to separate random humor, etc. from my feeds, but don’t like maintaining two blogs.

    Right now I’m using this rule of thumb:
    1 – If I haven’t posted anything that day, I wonder “would I want to get this in my inbox on it’s own”, before I post a link/photo/video/etc.
    2 – If the answer to #1 is “no”, I think if there’s a way to incorporate the photo/video/quote into an entry with more substance for my readers. In other words, instead of just sharing a link, I try to add my perspective one. I figure if someone reads my blog, they’re interested in my perspective – ’nuff said.
    3 – If I can’t do #3, I’ll save the link/photo/vid to bundle with others or to post on a day when I’ve already posted something because
    4 – If I’ve posted something that day, my readers are getting an email anyhow, so I’m not as hesitant to post it.

    That’s what’s worked for me so far – interested in seeing what others have to say!

    faryl’s last blog post..Celebrate? Yes We Can! (Inauguration Resource Round-up)

  3. Interesting, Faryl. It’s kind of like my opening thought where I posted the video on the same day as the post “of consequence.”

    If I understand you correctly, you set your feedburner to send out one mail a day (even if you don’t post something new).

    Or are you saying you make a *point* of posting *at least* once per day?

    ~ Joe

  4. Ah – to clarify – my feedburner ONLY sends out one email a day and ONLY if I’ve made a post that day. So, no post; no email. That’s why I try to weigh whether it’s worthy of being a “post of consequence” if I haven’t already posted that day.

    Two more thoughts (excuse the mini-blog post!)
    1 – I try not to get hung up on the numbers. I try to stay true to writing for me – because that’s the only way I’ll be able to stay in it for the long run. I value my subscribers and readers, and would love to have more (hint hint to anyone who might find my comments interesting!) – but at the end of the day, I don’t want numbers driving my style.
    2 – That said, your friend’s feedback was about what works for him. He’s still reading your blog, just finding the information differently (I do the same – I never check my google reader & rarely read posts in email – I *do* read tweeted links though). Bottom line – you lost a subscriber, but not a reader. BIG difference, in my mind.

    faryl’s last blog post..Celebrate? Yes We Can! (Inauguration Resource Round-up)

  5. Well done! Thanks, Faryl.

    And yes, readers, check out her blog. Faryl is reason #24 I like Twitter.

  6. I let people know, up front, what to expect from me. Depending on which website of mine they’re subscribing to determines how often they get mailed.

    For example, I offer A Course In Miracles daily lesson… 1 email per day for 365 consecutive days. I also let them know I’ll occasionally send them other messages. I tend to do that about 1-2 times per month.

    For my blog(s), I say I’ll email them when I add a new blog post. No more, no less. They again know exactly what to expect.

    For my primary spiritual stories website, I tell them to expect about 5 messages a month (2 stories, 1 freebie/promo type email, 2 newsletters)… and for the most part I stick to that. Sometimes people unsubscribe because the timing of their autoresponder syncs up with my newsletter… so they get 2 emails on the same day or too close together for comfort.

    For e-courses, I basically say “I will email you for X-days, and then no more unless something really big comes up I want to share with you.” After the ecourse ends, I send an email sharing all of my other websites in case they want more info from me.

    With the large numbers of people subscribing every day, and of course unsubscribing, I don’t have time to cater to each individual’s needs. The best I can do is set realistic and fair expectations and hold to them.

    Generally speaking, it takes more effort for me to think about when / how I should be mailing. Instead of thinking, “Should I send this? Have I mailed to frequently?” I simply assume that every mail I send will be of great value to my subscribers and I send the mail.

    If they aren’t getting the value from my newsletter, or they generally are but can’t handle the occasional extra mail or two, then they’re welcome to unsubscribe.

    One person subscribed to my Course In Miracles course, and within a few days of that I sent out a promo mailing… she sent me a support request asking if I could just send her the course without any promos. Technically, it’s possible but it would require a lot of effort.

    I just replied with kindness and told her that unfortunately it’s difficult, but that she could expect them only 1-2 times per month and was welcome to delete them, or filter them (since they’d have a different subject line), or unsubscribe.

    By the time she replied back, she said she was enjoying the course and the occasional promos weren’t going to be a big deal.

    I’d sum up my approach as follows:
    1) Set accurate expectations and try my best to stick to them whenever possible.
    2) Provide quality content. Period.
    3) If an individual request is no sweat off my back, then I cater to it. If it requires significant effort for little return on that investment, I kindly let them know what their options are (including unsubscribe)

    In the end it comes down to the fact that I’m building a relationship with people who are becoming loyal fans, followers, friends, partners, etc. When people unsubscribe, it’s a very clear indicator that either my message isn’t aligned with what they need (and therefore I am not being of service to them… no matter how hard I try), or they have life circumstances and need a break from me and/or my emails.

    Either way it’s not personal and there’s nothing I can do about it except stay true to myself and being of service in ways that are best aligned with who I am and what I’m here to do.

    Chris Cade | Mr. Unsubscribe’s last blog post..ChrisCade: "Happiness is when what you think, what you say, and what you do are in harmony." – Mohandas Gandhi

  7. Oh my goodness, Chris!

    Next time I’ll have you write a blogpost! Thanks for the very thorough reply!

  8. Joe Hage says:

    Today I added two posts: one that didn’t merit an email to my subscribers, the other that did, so they get a two-fer email.

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