Wednesday, November 12, 2008

How to Lose Subscribers

In our chats, we talk a lot about how to present yourself properly for marketing. This week, I had an experience of how NOT to act toward subscribers.

I signed up a couple months ago for a newsletter. Thought it sounded interesting and wanted to take a look. As busy as I am, newsletters tend to pile up until I find time to sit down and read through them. Last week I tried to catch up, including some of the LWL newsletter.

First, it wasn't really a newsletter, it was just a blurb and a link to their blog. I find that annoying, but a lot of people are doing it. So I clicked the link to read on. I was confused because the post didn't seem to have anything to do with the blurb in the "newsletter". After a little searching, I realized that the email didn't give a link to the post it was talking about, it just gave a link to the main page of the blog. On my dial-up connection at home, it took a lot of time to look around, check the archives, and finally find the post I wanted to read.

This past weekend, I was playing catch up again. Once again, the LWL emails all had a single link to the main page of the blog. I located one post, and then decided I didn't have time to search for the rest of them. I decided to let the owners of LWL know that I was having problems, and that there is an easier way of doing this. So I sent this email:

"Could you give a link to the post you're talking about, instead of to the main page of the blog? I don't have the time to go searching for the post you're talking about. I don't have a chance to read these emails everyday.I'm about ready to unsubscribe, because it's too difficult to find the current topic."

Yes, my frustration shows. But the response I received was not at all what I expected. (Names removed from the email)

"Audrey, what specifically do you find too hard about scrolling through our blog titles and reading what you feel compelled to read ?

"If you've been around long enough, you already know by now XXX and XXX run a pretty tight ship with their readers. And, that means stuff like a) teaching self-reliance b) not molly-coddling to impatience and ineptitude and c) being direct when it comes to prompting some people to get out of their own way.

"Having said that, I see one of two choices: #1) Sloooow down, take a DEEP breath, and take the time to read our blog ( there's a reason each post has a LARGE heading ) #2) Unsubscribe

"Yup, life is CHANGE. Growth is OPTIONAL. Chose Wisely !" (Typo in the original)

I did scroll through their blog titles and found I wasn't "compelled" to read any of them. I'm inept because they don't know how to direct people? I need to get out of my own way? I decided what I needed to get out of was this worthless mailing list.

This was my reply:

"Forcing your subscribers to waste their time is not running "a tight ship". It's an inept use of the internet, inefficient, and shows that you don't care if people read what you write or not.

"I chose #2. As the owner of two successful businesses, I don't waste my time with sites/lists that insult me or waste my time. I've unsubscribed.

"And thank you for your unprofessional email! I will use it in my marketing classes as an example of how to destroy your reputation.

"This was definitely the wise choice. Have a wonderful day!"

First rule of business: The customer is always right.


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At 7:01 PM, Blogger Karina Fabian said...

Burn, baby, burn! Audrey inferno!

Well said--and a great lesson.

I've subscribed to some newsletters like these. The ones I have the most are the ones that tease. they give you rhetorical questions then lead you to their website where you have to "opt in" on something.

Or the one that's really getting my goat--the friendly letter. "I just had the most amazing thing happen....but I'll tell you about that in a minute.

I don't have a minute for a stranger who pretends to be my buddy (along with the other hundreds of buddies he has). Delete.

At 9:10 PM, Anonymous janet glaser said...

You rock, Audrey!!

At 10:31 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Great line!

First rule of business: The customer is always right.

It's easy to say, but it's another thing to practice, right ?

It's a line that almost indicates a little coddling might be in order at times.

You totally get it!

At 4:26 PM, Blogger Linda J. Hutchinson said...

Good for you, Audrey! And thanks for sharing.

Too many are reading those bookfomercials you and I were discussing last week. All of them that I've thumbed through declare that we need to put out a newsletter to be successful.

A newsletter has to have some worthwhile merits to get, and keep, our attention these days. And I positively hate it when they continue to spam me after I've unsubbed!


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