How to Avoid Getting Dumped by Subscribers
5 Easy Steps
“No good marriage ends in a divorce.” -Louis C.K.
There are worse things in life than getting dumped, personally or professionally. When one party of a relationship wants out, it’s best to let them go. Can you think of a situation where the alternative is better?
Serial killers, I’m not talking to you.
In any relationship, the desire to be in said relationship should be mutual. If it’s to be a healthy relationship, it should be a transparent and honest one, just like a contract.
As such, it should come as no surprise that a marriage agreement, the legal document that makes it official in the eyes of the law, reads like a contract. It is one.
- There are at least two parties.
- There are terms of agreement.
- All parties sign the thing.
Breaking that contract often leads to chaos...
As you read the subheadings of this blog, if you forget whether you’re reading a blog about emails or personal relationships, the answer is both.
Permission to send emails to someone’s inbox is a relationship, and just like a relationship IRL, they can end. Thankfully, not with clothing strewn on the lawn, but things can get... Ugly.
If a relationship is going to end, then it’s going to end. Kicking and screaming won’t stop that. In fact, please don’t. The neighbors might see you. But, if there is anything you can do to avoid getting dumped, these five unspoken expectations rise to the top of the pile.
This is how you avoid Ugly.
1. Abusing the original terms of the agreement
The easiest way is to violate the actual terms of your initial agreement. You told them, for example, you would be emailing newsletters, but you keep sending discount offers.
Somewhere along the line, the verbiage for newsletters became synonymous with general permission. It's like, if you're good with newsletters, I can send you anything.
That doesn't say much for the fate of newsletters, but if you're abusing that permission, it also doesn't say much for your definition of what a newsletter actually is.
If you're sending folks endless promotions and random emails only because they agreed to receive your newsletter, you're not really operating in the agreed terms of the permission granted to you.
This might be fine for some of your leads, but it’s not what they agreed to. In the long run, you’re tempting someone to mark your email as spam.
2. Your cadence changes
Similar to the terms, timing is another seemingly innocuous way you can violate terms. You might have said “once a week” in the initial terms or you might have simply emailed only once a week for a period of time, then increased.
Changing the cadence, either from one set in the terms or in the beginning cadence of the emails you sent, can create resistance from your recipients. It's not unheard of, and in some cases it's even necessary to increase your cadence.
A simple example is around the end of the year. Most people and email clients expect a volume increase. Smart marketers understand that there is a limit to that increase which varies on many factors like, the product, the audience, and your previous behavior.
Someone who is more proficient with holiday cadence changes could do a whole series on that topic alone. It's not my area of expertise, even though I find myself in that sandbox every year.
Changes to your cadence includes sending emails more frequently and sending them less frequently. It’s easy to see how increasing frequency could be annoying but imagine the opposite.
You were emailing once a week, and then you fall back to once a month. Your leads may stop recognizing your email address or worse, they do recognize it and feel offended at the change.
They see your lack of consistency as annoying or an indication that there is something wrong. That’s when that spam button starts looking dangerously tempting.
3. They stop recognizing your voice
If for any reason your recipients stop recognizing your emails, for the above reasons or for any reason, some of which you cannot control, they may start tossing your undergarments out the proverbial window.
It’s rare that the reasons are completely out of your control, but it can happen. All you can do is take care to control what you can and let the rest unfold as fate would have it.
A simple one to avoid is not changing your sender address. Even small changes like changing it from "damonremitchell-dot-com" to "Damon at damonremitchell-dot-com" can confuse recipients.
You can change the reply-to address in your emails, but that sender address should never change without a formal announcement. Even then, avoid if possible.
Some people are easily confused. Many people today are easily outraged. Don't give your leads the chance for either.
4. Poor treatment
Customer Service is not my professional jam *these days, but I have a lifetime of experience. Running gyms for ten years, and then owning a pizzeria for five were different but similar proving grounds for my service game.
The most important lesson I learned is that brick-and-mortar is a tough ring to scrap in. Lawd knows I've taken my share of beatings, so I feel your pain. Believe you, me, but if you're in that ring right now you can't afford to lower your guard. Ever.
If your business model provides poor service standards, there are people who will disown you out of spite. They may even mark your email as spam if they believe it might hurt you.
Ew, right? Welp. It happens.
Understandably, nobody wants to receive emails from a business they’ve come to hate. When they've got one in their inbox from a gym that's really pissed them off, they might do the mean thing and click the spam button.
This is a simple one to fix, and hopefully an easy one too. If not, then you have much bigger challenges than inbox permission to worry about.
*For the record, as an online service provider, I still have the responsibility of providing customer service so I'm not out of that game entirely. It's just that I don't 14,000 gym members under my watch anymore. The scale is way lower for me now, and the mistakes are all mine, but I've not forgotten how hard it can be.
5. They find love elsewhere
It happens. Romance fades. Sometimes it gets ugly, but it doesn’t have to be, not from your side.
If you understand that true love is not possession, but letting someone free to love however they want, then you get it. Other products and services are going to fight for your spotlight.
Sometimes that competition will steal it from you; sometimes painfully, en masse. Sometimes they’re offering something slightly different that some of your fans prefer.
It all comes down to the same reality for those lost loves. What good is tying them up in the basement going to do? Let ‘em go. As I’m fond of pointing out:
There are over S E V E N… not million… but bill-ion people on the planet. You can move on. You have to move on.
Life is too short.
Accepting most of this will come down to understanding that collecting leads is vain. Collecting customers, even if they are yet only potential customers, is wise.
Be wise. Don’t be vain.
Broadcast to a tight list of potential customers instead of a broad list of spuriously interested leads.
Transparent and ongoing permission aligns with your integrity.
Leads are so out.
Engaged potential customers are so in.
If you’re still gonna lose sleep over this, then let me help you.