How to delight your mailing list and prevent unsubscribes

Email marketing is a mainstay of the Internet economy.  Crafting email content worthy of being read is less common though.  In this post I explain my experience being a subscriber of lists and how your email’s content can prevent people like me from unsubscribing from your mailing list.

Happy to be a mailing list subscriber

Like most people who have kept the same email address for a long-time, I receive a fairly large number of mailing-list emails every day.  Actually it is also because I’m a student of marketing and I like to see what people will send.  Thankfully due to the canned spam legislation, most of these contain a link to unsubscribe, and I am a big fan of doing that when I get too many emails that I just have no interest in reading anymore.

Tim Ferriss is awesome and his methods of delegating mundane activities like responding to email are definitely worthwhile.  As a consequence unsubscribing is something do often, especially when a particular list’s email has not be read for a while.  So here in lies a clue…

Also as an avid online marketer I’m interested in metrics like click-throughs and open rates, so I monitor my behaviour in this regard.  Accordingly this post seeks to elucidate my current thinking on how people like me behave in relation to email, and the factors I can identify that determine my behaviour with respect to mailing-list email.

The Best Kind of Mailing List Email

The best kind of mailing list email contains valid information that is useful to me at the time.  Take for example the MeetUp mailing list which informs me of posts on the groups that I go to, and more critically when a new MeetUp has been scheduled for one of my groups.  This information is both useful and timely and enables me to ensure my place for over-subscribed MeetUps.

MeetUp emails are also good to keep abreast of changes to the venue, speakers, times or topics.  Because the information contained in the emails is important to me there is zero chance I will unsubscribe, and I rarely mark the emails as read without opening them.  They are good mailing-list emails because they are relevant, useful and timely.

Interesting emails are also good

Another good type of email comes from Luminosity.  These emails always contain information that is really interesting to me because it is on a topic that I love, and the information is academically reliable and they reference the source so I can do more research on the topic myself.

Although I typically do not have enough time to do this, there have been some instances where going to the source for a particularly interesting research article has been inspirational.  For this reason there is zero chance I will unsubscribe from the Luminosity mailing list, and the continuing value I get from their emails encourages me to sign up to their cognitive training.

Headlines and news are bad

I’m not a fan of email that aggregates content automatically.  I recently unsubscribed from the CodePlex website’s mailing lists because they don’t have anything other than click bait.  The articles have snazzy headlines and the caption gives little information of value, and unfortunately the content in the actual articles was relatively poor in my experience.

If I want tech news I find Ars Technica, Tech Crunch and Engadget to be quite a good spread of the news I’m after.  For local news I like the NZ Herald, not that it’s that great but it’s less prone to sensationalism than Stuff (which isn’t hard).

How to smash it

‘Smashing it’ is an Australasian slang term for great success.  It might even be used elsewhere, but I first heard it in Sydney, then again back in New Zealand.  Smashing email list email is really about good copywriting, and good copywriting starts with knowing your audience and making your message relevant to them.

Movio an NZ movie marketing campaign management software company distil this same advice in to three quick tips: Be Concise, Get Personal & Peak interest.  Their post here is a good read and recommended as a follow-up to this post.


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