I’ve been thinking.
That’s always a dangerous statement to start with, isn’t it?
Here’s what I’ve been thinking:
In the business world, your email list is GOLD. The people who sign up are your biggest supporters because they choose to receive your updates. I reward my list by providing them extras that no one else gets: a chance to help me rename my business, the first look at my new name (and site!), writing and grammar tips, and whatever else I throw at them to say, “THANK YOU FOR SUPPORTING ME.”
I do that because I think they ROCK, and YES, I want them to STAY WITH ME.
But in the business world, I send out an email every other week on average.
EVERY. OTHER. WEEK.
Compare that with On a Book Bender, which publishes five posts per week on a normal week.
That means for every one business email I send, On a Book Bender email subscribers receive TEN emails. Ten emails is a LOT, especially if you’re subscribed to all your favorite blogs because you just can’t bear the thought of missing out.
When Feedburner got rid of its API and there was a mass exodus and research into alternative options, newsletters like MailChimp (which I use for my business and LOVE) were seen as a viable option because there’s an RSS to email option, which conveniently sends out an email every time you publish a new post. And that works.
But here are a few problems with that:
- If you publish a lot and you have a lot of subscribers, you’ll either hit your maximum subscriber count or maximum send count fairly quickly.
- MailChimp is strict with anti-spam laws, and you’re required to supply a physical address in the footer of every email.
- It doesn’t solve the problem of MANY EMAILS in your inbox.
- MailChimp can do SO MUCH MORE than RSS to email.
- Email lists have a different meaning in the book blogging world than the business world: you’re not selling your products or your knowledge–for money–so what are the benefits to having a list?*
In the business world, I’ve unsubscribed to newsletters because they sent me too many or they forced me to click through to their site to read their email and I decided following RSS was a better option or all they did was SELL SELL SELL at me.
But here’s the truth: sending MORE emails to people DECREASES open rates and INCREASES unsubscribe rates.
The conclusions I draw from this are as follows: 1. RSS to email is not an effective subscription option when you publish a lot of posts every week unless the person really loves your blog or they’re only following one or two blogs via email and the resulting emails are not overwhelming. 2. Daily emails (or five per week) are resulting in UNOPENED emails and LACK OF TRAFFIC to my blog.
Providing the option to subscribe to your blog through email is important. But what does it accomplish if your open rate is 21.6%? (That is the actual average open rate for my industry. My average open rate is 70%. But it’s dropping.)
Is there a better option for book bloggers?
One piece of advice many marketers will tell you is that you need to provide value and content for your email subscribers. How can you do that if you’re only doing an RSS to email campaign? A successful newsletter is one that establishes a personal connection with the reader and gives them a reason for sticking around. If you give them something to look forward to, they will open. Right? It seems straightforward.
So then I had an idea.
Weekly On a Book Bender digests.
It would be an alternative to other subscription options, not a supplement. It would essentially be my Clock Rewinders post, but likely providing MORE of ME in the email, because otherwise’s what’s to stop you from just tuning into my CR post every week?
Benefits to this idea:
- One email per week is more manageable than five
- You can pick and choose which posts you want to look at
- You know you won’t miss out on something because you hit “mark all as read” on your feed reader
- Readers who aren’t bloggers or who aren’t present on the blogosphere much won’t be overwhelmed with the number of posts/emails
Cons to this idea:
- It’s an additional step for me every week (but honestly, I’d do it for you if you wanted me to)
- You’ll like come in late to conversations on posts–if that matters to you
- It’s still subject to the “holy crap, I have 1093843 emails in my inbox, so I’m just going to delete them all” phenomenon.
Now you tell me: what do you think of a weekly On a Book Bender digest? Would you subscribe to it over any other option?
*I’m still debating this: what IS the value of an email list to a book blogger?