I did something very out of character for me yesterday. Putting aside all my doubts, insecurities and hang-ups, I sent out a mass email to my email subscriber list, asking for a favor.
You see, as I take my creative journey further, I want to start creating more content. More kinds of content. Videos, blog posts, podcasts — I want to do it all. And every single person I’ve asked, every single webinar I’ve watched, all of them have pointed to one thing to do first: research. Ask the people who are interested in you what they like. Ask them what they want from you. Ask them what their problems are and how you can help. The people who truly care about your stuff will be glad of the chance to give you their thoughts.
I found it hard to believe, but I drafted the email and hit send.
But it was a journey.
I felt like I was imposing by asking for their thoughts.
All my subscribers have done me a huge favor by subscribing to my mailing list. All I can do to pay them back is continue to send out high-quality content, which I hope I do well, and which I love to do. I create videos on best blogging practices, I send out weekly newsletters with tips and tools, and I’ve got a burgeoning baby website.
But for some reason the thought of sending out an email to 430 folks just to ask them for a favor made me cringe into infinity. They owed me nothing! I was shamelessly pumping them for information! I hesitated for nearly ten minutes, agonizing aloud to my partner, who told me, not unsympathetically, to “just press the damn send button.”
I sent it.
I got some really lovely replies.
It turns out people appreciated being asked for their thoughts. I received a lot of really nice, really informative emails on what kind of content they would value in the future, and I took a lot of notes.
It’s still so wild to me that all those folks took time out of their days to pen me a quick reply that was going to help me take my own creative process further. It’s even wilder that some of them thanked me for the chance!
But that’s what I learned: the people who like me, who like what I do, who let me swan into their inboxes whenever I feel like it? They want their opinions to be heard, and they appreciate being asked. I spent a lot of the day happy and glowing that I had so many wonderful and friendly folks who supported me.
I also lost email subscribers.
When I finally went into ConvertKit to check what the fallout was of my indiscriminate email blast asking for info, I found something that made my heart drop: yesterday, I lost more email subscribers in one go than I’d ever lost before.
Honestly, at first, I was angry and confused. These folks signed up to my mailing list, sometimes months ago, receiving email after email from me, only to drop out the second I asked them a question. It hurt a lot. I felt unwanted, rejected, and was left wondering what I could have done differently.
Then, I was a little resigned. I can’t control what people do, after all, I can just control my reaction to them. If folks wanted to leave my mailing list, I wasn’t about to march to their front doors and demand they resubscribe. They’d simply come to the end of the road together, and I couldn’t change that.
But the more I thought about it, the more my feelings changed. In the end, I was thankful. I am here to create and here for people who are interested in that. Those who aren’t so uninterested in telling me what they think that they unsubscribe after I asked them for input? Well, it’s clear my mailing list wasn’t the right place for them, and they won’t be missed.
The subscribers who matter are the ones who want to be there.
If you learn just one thing from this article, it should be this. It’s the people who don’t just tolerate me in their inbox, but the ones who look forward to my content on Sundays, who enjoy my videos, who are actively getting value from what I provide for them, that I want to be there.
The rest? I’ll miss them, sure. It might still hurt me when they go. But I wish them the best, and I have to thank them for letting me know. They told me I wasn’t for them the only way they could, and for that I am grateful. It leaves me with an email subscriber list that is all the more interested in what I have to offer.