Breaking The Fourth Wall

I received a really unbelievable email overnight and I figured that I’d take the time to share the gist of it with you.

Someone unsubscribed from my email list yesterday and took the opportunity before they left to kindly explain why, in a really lengthy response.  I actually genuinely appreciated the effort that went into it although the unsolicited advice on how I should run my business was somewhat unwelcome.

The person explained that they were leaving my email list because it had become clear to them that my reason for sending my emails every day was to try and convince people to subscribe to my Casual Marketer Monthly Newsletter.  This person was “disappointed” (their word, not mine) that I wasn’t sending out these daily emails to simply add value and provide free content to my subscribers.

This person felt that I “owed it to my subscribers” (their words, not mine) to stop publishing links to my newsletter because they were taking the time to read my emails and give me their attention.  My “desire to sell” (their words again, not mine) my newsletter undermined my credibility and showed a lack of good faith on my part for being allowed into to people’s inboxes.

The close of the email was to say that should I ever decide to just focus on providing free content, then I should contact this person directly and they’ll gladly resubscribe because they felt the content in my emails was “awesome” (their words, not mine).

I read this email this morning while having a short coffee break between meetings and I didn’t know whether to laugh or cry… By my nature, I’m pretty happy, so I chose laughter.

Let me just say, this person will be waiting a very, VERY long time for me to write them that email.

“Oh please, come back to my email list, I promise not to try to sell something to you and only spend time giving you free stuff.  Pretty please!”

Never. Going. To. Happen.

So I thought I’d use this as an opportunity to go all Deadpool on you and break the fourth wall… Time to make the Chimichangas.

Ok, you’re on an email list.  I know, I know… It’s hard to believe that I’m not sitting here every day handcrafting with love these emails just for you personally.  I mean, you’re totally worth 1250 words every day, maybe more, but if I had to write that out individually for everyone, there wouldn’t be ample time for me to count my millions and millions.

Despite being on an email list, these emails that you get every single day aren’t in some kind of massive autoresponder.  I don’t have thousands of emails banked up and when you subscribe, you start getting them in sequence.  I sit down and write them every day pretty much off the top of my head.  I have some ideas jotted down for topics, but for the most part, I just smash them out in one sitting.

You’re on this list because at some point in time over the last six years or so, you’ve subscribed and/or bought something from me.  I don’t do “list swaps” or anything dodgy like that – despite there being thousands of people on this email list, I like to think of us having a relationship and the idea of sharing you around like Pokemon cards to collect doesn’t interest me.  When I say that I value your privacy, I actually mean that.

All of the emails and content I create are for the specific purpose of convincing you to subscribe to my newsletter.  Seriously, that’s it.  I hope you get something from it and find it useful, but I really want you to read it and think, “Far out, this dude is smart, if he’s writing that stuff every day, imagine how awesome his paid newsletter must be?!?”  That’s the method to my madness.

And the newsletter is glorious.  Shamelessly, I’m going to say it’s really good.  I enjoy writing it and I think the quality of that content is among the best stuff I’ve ever created.  You’re missing out if you don’t click here and sign up.  That was an absolutely shameless plug – again, breaking the fourth wall.

I read and reply to every single response I get to these emails.  Some of them are just a simple “That was cool” or “I liked that piece” type emails and others are more in depth where the person shares something private with me.  I read every email and reply back as soon as I get the chance.  It’s common courtesy to pay someone that level of respect.

I get emails that I don’t like.  I occasionally get called a “spammer” which is absolutely untrue.  As I said, you end up on this list by opting in or buying something from me and therefore I’m entitled to send you email until you tell me to stop by opting out or you challenge me to a rap dance battle (and I lose).

In fact, I had someone yesterday on Facebook ask me about my daily email strategy because she was curious if it would work for her and suddenly she replied with, “I wouldn’t like getting an email every day, that would be spam.”  She didn’t understand that frequency had nothing to do with unsolicited email and she broke one of my cardinal rules which is that it’s pointless to hoard email subscribers.

Just a small lesson for you guys on that last point.  Building an email list is hard work, but the payoff is that you have an audience to whom you can market in a fairly captive way.  Over time, an email list is the best investment you can make, but because it’s hard and requires an investment, people get all weird about unsubscribes.  That’s just paying attention to the wrong numbers – I can’t buy petrol or pay for dinner with the size of my email list.  If people get upset that you’re emailing them, then they are unlikely to become customers, so it’s better to let them go.

In fact, I’ll extend that out further.  There are people who’ve given me unsolicited advice who always “worry” about my email list shrinking because of sending daily emails like this.  They’re like people that buy new shoes but then are too afraid to wear them in case they get scuffed and scratched.  How about you just worry about your stuff and leave me to mine?  Don’t be those people.

There you have it.  I’ve laid out my secret plan for world domination – I write you a daily email that has what I think is genuinely interesting and entertaining information and overtly link to my physical newsletter so that you subscribe and pay me money for the “good stuff”.  Pretty simple, huh?

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