Last year, I received an email out of the blue. It looked an awful lot like spam and I was about to flag it.
I hesitated though.
The name was familiar and it was the sort of thing I’d sign up for. So I searched my inbox to see if I had anything else from these people.
It turns out they’d sent frequent emails (if you can call one per week ‘frequent’) back in 2016. Then they stopped.
Then I received one email in 2017 advertising a webinar.
One more in 2018 spruiking their book.
Then, in 2019, they started emailing every week or so.
I wonder how many people opted out or marked them as spam, like I was about to.
This sort of careless, clumsy emailing saddens me.
On one level I get it – sometimes you need a break.
(Not that I’ve taken one anywhere near that long since I started… )
But if you do take a break, don’t start up again out of the blue. Remind people who you are and why they’re on your list. This is not the time to play cute – your subject should be “I know you haven’t heard from us in a while… “
If not something even clearer.
Then reintroduce yourself.
Email is intimate. You can’t disappear from people’s lives for two years then start again like nothing happened.
Here’s something even better than reminding your list who you are:
Never stop emailing.
Not for a moment.
And if you want a good relationship with people, forget this once-a-week nonsense. Your circumstances may vary but I can’t imagine emailing less than three times a week.
Daily emails are even better.
Daily emails – isn’t that spamming?
Spam, like so many things, is subjective.
Sure, there are extreme cases. Few folks would argue that Nigerian princes asking for your bank details counts as legit communication.
But for the less extreme cases, it’s less clear.
You probably have someone in your life you would happily see every day. Maybe it’s a spouse, a child or a BFF. Heck, it might be a pet.
Daily interaction with them isn’t “too much”, is it?
Of course not. In fact, the more the better.
Now think of someone who irritates you. Maybe it’s a simple personality clash. Maybe they’re just a fundamentally bad, obnoxious person. Meeting with them once a fortnight is probably far too often.
Now imagine someone better than all that.
If you know someone like this, lucky you.
And this is someone who you enjoy hearing from. Partly because they’re fun or interesting, but also because they add value to your life.
It could be a golden stock tip, a fresh new recipe or simply another thing to smile about.
How much is too much from someone like this?
If they chose to only reach out to you once a month, how would that make you feel? If you knew they could talk to you every day but couldn’t be bothered, would you resent them for it?
You’d have every right to.
As a professional, it’s your duty to help folks. Whether you’re a doctor who saves lives or a beauty consultant who saves embarrassment, do right by your people and contact them often.
If folks like you and you add value to their lives, three emails a day isn’t too much. I know because I’m on lists like that – and I’ve occasionally sent 20-ish emails over a few days. It’s only too much if you’re clumsy about it.
So that’s it, right? Be charming (whether that’s funny, inspiring, abrasive, bizarre or whatever comes naturally to you… ) and add value.
No, that’s not it.
Because there’s a common misunderstanding around what it means to “add value”…
When folks love ads
When some (read: far too many) folks talk about offering value, they mean you should give away content for free, without asking for anything in return.
They say folks hate being sold to, so you should give away so much free stuff that they… I don’t know, feel obliged to buy or something.
I don’t understand the reasoning.
The truth is, folks love being sold to.
When it’s the right offer delivered in the right way, it’s exciting. Think about the last time you became aware of the perfect offer. Maybe it was a gadget that’ll save you time at home, maybe it was training in something you’ve always dreamed of learning.
Whatever it was, you loved being sold to.
This, then, is your business plan. Create dream offers for your market, then sell that offer to them every day.
By the way, this is valuable to your readers. Informing them of solutions to their problems counts – as long as it’s genuine and you make it clear.
Being funny is valuable in itself, as who doesn’t love to laugh?
Telling a charming story that lets them escape their problems for a while – well, that’s value too.
Adding value isn’t always giving away stuff for free. If you’re entertaining enough, your presence becomes an asset. How else do you think comedians get paid?
If you make them smile with every email, your readers will never complain about hearing from you every day.