Trying to retain people can be difficult in many situations. It’s the very core of a business. But it’s also the core of every writer.

Whether you are writing on your own blog or writing on another site, you need to accumulate fans and grow an audience.

And one of the big tools to help with that is an email list.

It’s basically what it says right on the box, it’s a list of several different emails that you’ve collected. And there are many companies out there who will do this for you for free or for a small price. MailChimp, ConstantContact, GetResponse, and more.

But email lists still run into issues. The biggest issue being able to retain people to the list.

So today, I want to be sharing some tactics that I’ve used in the past to retain people. Even though I have a relatively small email list right now, I know that these practices can help in growing a list significantly.

Here is why.

Create An Interesting Hook

I know every listicle talking about email lists has this but it’s key. You’re going to need to do something in order to retain people. But you also need people to get hooked to something as well.

Whatever you wish to provide is entirely up to you, however, I would recommend an ebook.

For one, it’s something that I’ve been using ever since I started my email list.

But I feel that it’s a good opportunity to overdeliver.

And the more value that you give to people, the more you’ll retain people.

On top of this, this best practice also applies to what you use your email list for.

So many people use it to send notifications for new posts and while that’s great, it doesn’t always give direct value to people. If you’re a big company like Medium, then it’s different than the indie writer.

People respond differently to how you use your email list.

So I’d create something interesting. It’s one of the reasons why I started the Goal Achieving Project. Instead of pushing everyone to read my posts, I’m handing out useful information that people value.

Focus On Them Not You

And that leads to my second best practice: focusing on what you can do for other people.

Every single person is selfish to a degree that they don’t care so much about you. But rather what you can do for them. This was a big hurdle for me as a writer as I still love talking about myself.

I used to devote entire articles to writing about myself. And I still kind of do thanks to #BetterMeNow. However, that’s shifted a bit to where I’m more focused on sharing info that people can use.

And that philosophy applies to our emails as well.

You need to find a balance between being personal, and being useful to other people. And that can only be obtained by providing helpful advice or guidance.

From there, you can begin to realize when it’s appropriate to talk about yourself. Typically it’s a good time to talk about yourself when you have a lesson to share with people. Even if it’s an obvious lesson, it still important because it’s your story.

Don’t Spam People

I learned quickly that sending daily emails was obnoxious and my growth stalled significantly because of that. It was at that point where I switched to weekly emails and things smoothed out a bit.

It only came to my attention yesterday that I was also sending emails out whenever I posted a blog post. And considering the frequency I’m posting now, I didn’t realize that I was sending more emails.

I’ve turned it off now, however, the lesson I learned here is that sending multiple emails can be annoying for some people.

And looking back at those who have unsubscribed I’ve noticed they unsubscribed because of these blog post updates I was sending out unknowingly.

In the end, daily emails can work, but it depends on what you’re sending. If it’s something small like an affirmation or a quote then it’s probably alright.

But if every email you send out is trying to get people to buy something all the time, it comes off as spammy if you’re not giving people enough space to breathe.

All you need to do is ask yourself a question:

“Would I consider this spam if I signed up to an email list and this list is sending the type of emails that I’m about to send to people?”

It puts you into the shoes of one of your subscribers and it helps in understanding your audience. For me, I’ve realized I get most of my clicks and engagement from my weekly emails. And when most people unsubscribe, it was through an ongoing campaign that pushed a generic email whenever I posted an article.

An email that broke my best practices.

Over Deliver

I talked about this briefly above, but I want to give special attention to it. Absolutely it means giving the people value, but I’d say it’s a cut above that.

It’s more than what so many email marketers tell you in giving value.

Tim Ferris is a great example as there are many instances of him shouting out other people, giving stuff away that’s valued in the thousands, and more. He is someone who underprices things on purpose.

Now you don’t need to do something as grand as that for other people. However, it still is wise to go above and beyond.

People will always remember how you make people feel. And the more value you give to people, the more they will stick around. They do this because you make them feel happy.

And if you over deliver, you can very well create a happy and loyal customer. You can retain people better if you give stuff away as people will gladly talk about you.

The same way that I just talked about Tim Ferris.

Theme Your List

The final thing I’ll talk about is to have a theme for your list. Themes create predictability and this predictability can help to retain people.

When people know what to expect, it’s easier for them to figure out if it’s right or wrong for them. Furthermore if you have a specific time you send the emails out, people will know when to check them.

For example, this year I’m sending out a new email series called the Goal Achieving Project. It replaced my Positive Note series as well as the time.

I made the announcement before the turn of the new year, but I kept the same time. So people now will know that they will get now only an email from me every week talking about goals. That will happen at the exact same time: Sunday’s at 1 PM AST.

Having this consistency is key because your subscribers will use this to gauge how on the ball you are with it. And that comes back to your brand and who you are.

It’s a good thing if people know when you send out emails and what sort of emails will they expect to get. It’s why when some other emails they don’t expect will break that mould and spoil the experience.

That’s why I’ve lost subscribers over the past few months. It’s because my subscribers were getting constantly pelted with a blog update post.

Retain People With These

An email list is a powerful tool for a writer. You’re going to need one if you ever want to succeed in the writing world. Hell, you’ll need it if you want to succeed in business.

So consider these best practices as these will help you in planning out what’s the best way to hook people in, but also to retain them for years.

To your growth!

Eric S Burdon


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