S.J. Varengo


The Big Email Boom

MailChimpI use a nifty service called MailChimp, that I heartily endorse to anyone who needs to develop an email subscription list. It’s worked well for me, and I’ve used the free plan since I began using email to market my books. I have absolutely zero complaints with it.

I mentioned a while ago that my writing partner, Craig A. Hart, recently put a link to my email list signup form in one of the mailings to his list, which is substantially larger than mine, and from that I got enough new subscribers to triple my list size in a matter of a few days. Phee-nommm-enalllll!

I got to thinking, however, after sending out my first mailing to the expanded roster, that it would be nice if I could connect with new subscribers automatically, to let them know I’d received their details and that they’d been successfully added to the list, as well as give them a brief taste of what they were in for.

Lo and behold, I found out that MailChimp has a function built right in to automatically send new subscribers a welcome email. “This is cool!” I thought to myself because I was the only person involved in the process who thought it was. Well, I was the only one involved in the process period, if we’re being honest.

Of course in learning how to use this tool, I found a way to mess things up a little, so that it didn’t send a single welcome email, but actually sent a second one the following day. I wasn’t really keen on the idea, feeling like if I heard from a new author that often right off the bat, I might think to myself, “This guy sends too many emails. I’m outta here.” But not knowing what I was doing, I assumed, at least briefly, that it had to be that way. I had to send the second email. The Chimp demanded it.

As I started understanding the process more clearly I realized this wasn’t the case. I could eliminate the second email, and incorporate the one useful aspect of it, (a link to this blog), into the first one. So that’s what I did.

But not before losing a subscriber, presumably for the exact reason I’d feared. They signed up on Thursday, and the day they received the second automated delivery, they opted out.

00brickspalNow, I’m a big boy. I stopped getting my feelings hurt by things like this back in high school when people opted out of your life face to face and it tended to sting a little more. (Sometimes literally, if the girl was a good slapper.) Also, I’ve unsubscribed from a ton of writers’ email lists myself, because to be brutally honest, I’d only subscribed because the author was offering a free book if I did so. After reading the free book I realized the author wasn’t really my cup of [insert your favorite beverage here], and I clicked on the bye-bye link. Other times, it was a case of too many emails coming in, most of which were pretty damn boring. (Mine are not. Mine are insanely entertaining. Or at least insane.)

So I get it. Not everyone is going to stay subscribed. But thanks to Craig’s plug I had an overall subscriber increase of 233%, and of those new readers, and unsubscribe rate of only 2%. I can live with that.

If you haven’t subscribed to the email list yet, you can click here to do so, and of course, if you were to tell all of your friends to do the same, that wouldn’t stink. Especially since I know that all of your friends do everything you tell them to do, thanks to your JFK-like charisma.


How Not To Send Auto Emails

The lesson here is: Learn to use the technology!