Something Ross Kramer of Listrak mentioned about email deliverability during our podcast last year has stuck in my mind. Ross said that it’s no longer enough for people not to object to your emailing them–they need to want to receive your messages. There’s just too much risk in blasting people who are neutral/negative to your communications–risk that can get you reported to large ISPs as junk mail and result in your messages not being sent to ANYONE on that ISP.
My first reaction was, “But my list is different! They all want to get my quarterly newsletters.” (Don’t we all feel that way?) But I started thinking about my practice of automatically subscribing any new contact I got to my list. And then, someone I exchanged business cards with put me on his weekly list and I immediately got a communication that I didn’t want (and another and another and so on). I was really annoyed with him and with the emails. I finally made a connection–I didn’t want my subscribers feeling that way when they saw my emails in the inbox.
So I’m trying something different. I stopped automatically adding new contacts to the list. Instead, when I meet someone, I email them to let them know it was nice to meet them, and that I have a quarterly newsletter that I will subscribe them to, IF they would like to. (I also tell them that I won’t be upset if they respond, “no thanks.”)
So far, it’s worked well. Everyone I’ve asked has said “yes.” It is more work and more housekeeping. I’m certain that some possible subscribers are falling through the cracks. But I’m more convinced than ever that it’s worth it to get a list of people who really want to hear from me.
(Disclosure: I’ve done some paid customer research work for Listrak)