I need more emails like I need a hole in the head. I recommend that every online content creator out there has a mailing list, but I actually sign up for very few of them personally. I think mailing lists are great, but some people could have more subscribers if they used their lists slightly differently.

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Here’s why I don’t sign up for your mailing list…and what you can do to change that:

1. You email me every post you write.

I think having your RSS feed available via email is a really great idea. Lots of people prefer reading posts that way. Personally, though, I use Twitter as my feed reader (find out how here) because emails get buried too quickly for me. When I sign up for a mailing list, I do so because I want emails from the blogger that I wouldn’t get otherwise – newsletters, announcements, discounts, etc. It’s okay to have an email RSS option (I recommend it), but make sure subscribers know what they’re getting when they sign up and, if possible, have two options – one for people who want special emails and one for people who want to receive your feed via email as well.

2. I can’t quickly find your sign-up box.

For many bloggers this isn’t a problem – their subscription form is located proudly on their sidebar, near the top of the page. However, occasionally, I find myself searching for a subscription box that doesn’t seem to exist – so I give up and go along my merry way. Later, I often find out the blogger does have a mailing list, but I had to go to a certain page or whatever to find out how to subscribe. The more time a person has to spend clicking around your site, the less likely it is they’ll actually sign up.

3. Your pop up punched me in the face.

I don’t mind pop up ads if they are done correctly. Three seconds after I get to your site is not “correctly.” At that point, I don’t know if I want to sign up or not. Give me a little time to read or watch your content first. Then, if you must, send me that pop up asking me to subscribe.

4. You offer me stuff I don’t want.

Offering free stuff is a great way to get people to sign up for your mailing list – but done incorrectly, it can also send people packing. For example, let’s say that I’m on your blog reading about your recent trip to Europe, and I’m enjoying the content. You sign up form says, “Enter your email address to get a free ebook about European travel.” Am I going to sign up? Nope. I’m not planning a trip to Europe anytime soon. The way you’ve promoted the sign-up form promotes the free gift only, which people may or may not want. Change the wording a bit to say, “Stay connected with emails from us and get a free European travel ebook” or “Sign up to get a free European travel ebook and more surprises straight to your inbox” and I’m much more likely to enter my email address. That way, you’re still hooking people who want the freebie, but you’re also making it clear that there are other benefits as well.

5. Your content just isn’t that compelling.

Of course, the number one reason I won’t sign up for your mailing list is that your blog’s content isn’t that great in the first place. Remember, every post you write could be the first post someone reads on your blog. Don’t be afraid to go back and delete content that isn’t up to par. We all have bad days, and not everything you do is going to be amazing, but if you write a real stinker, consider getting rid of it so people who come to your blog for the first time get the best impression possible. And of course, always work to improve your content. Don’t get complacent and think that what you’re putting out is good enough. We can all learn to be better!

Your turn – why don’t you sign up for mailing lists? Or why do you sign up on other sites?

Photo credit:  SXC