Issue #89

Sent to members on February 23, 2018

When a subscriber gets mad at you for promoting

I once had a subscriber to The Daily get pissed at me because I linked to something in The Lab which wasn’t free.

I “dropped the ball big time”, in their words. “What happened to the free, daily, valuable content?”, they asked.

I have to admit that, at first, I was mildly offended at his email. Since I try to reply to everybody, I replied to him, too. My response could have likely been phrased better (hey, I’m human), but in short I told him that I thought it was perfectly reasonable to promote my business in a daily email, especially if the core of this email is free and valuable every day. And if he didn’t like it, he could unsubscribe.

His emails went on. He told me I was childish and he proceeded to lecture me on how to do email marketing. Which was fun, let me tell you! 😉

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Anyway, it happens.

I also know from working with a lot of bloggers over the years that this kind of thing can be SCARY. Too many bloggers end up trying so hard to avoid being convicted of being “salesy” that it just paralyzes them in their business.

So, what’s right?

Should you give everything away for free? Should you barely ever mention anything that you sell?

The answer is no. It begins with the balance of exchange. In the words of Gary V, it is jab jab jab, right hook. 🙂

If you are indeed running a business, realize that exchange must be two-way. Exchange is when they get something, you get something. It is a 2 way thing.

In fact, when the balance of exchange is screwed up, bad things can happen…

Now, is it good exchange that you give your subscribers everything for free in exchange simply for an email address? Is it reasonable for me to be unlocking Lab content for email subscribers so that everything I send you each day costs nothing? Is that real exchange?

I say no. This subscriber told me I should “over-deliver”. This person wants nothing but free, daily emails that give the motherload every day…. apparently in exchange for nothing but his email address and my right to send him free stuff. Mind you that it takes a LOT of time to write these emails and I’m the one who pays for it. So, what is the exchange there?

Is it the right thing to do to continue to deliver everything for free to subscribers who gave you nothing but an email address? No. It isn’t right for you… and it actually isn’t right for them. You can hurt your business by attracting a base of subscribers who expect everything for free. They will value what you produce at precisely the level they have paid, which in this case is zero.

I’m a HUGE believer in over-delivering. But, I am also a believer in exchange. Ask any Lab member if they feel I am over-delivering in spades and I imagine they’ll all say yes. But, see, they didn’t just give me the right to send them free stuff. They are customers. The exchange is real. I’m there for my Lab members every day for this reason.

Should you “over deliver” just in your public (free) marketing? Well, sure! But, you also need to keep in mind that proper exchange is what makes the business work. When it is imbalanced, it causes problems (see that image above)

The Daily will always remain free. It is content-driven. And I will continue to talk about stuff inside The Lab and other business announcements as they are relevant.

You should do the same with your own email list. It think it is a far better approach than simply sending sales emails like so many marketers do.

My goal is that each issue of The Daily will give you something to walk away with even if you don’t join me in the Lab or buy anything from me. But, The Lab will always be a focus. The Lab is the center of my delivery. It is the core of my business. And, if you’re not a Lab member, you can be sure my goal is to get you to join. 🙂

And when you get the occasional person who bitches and moans that you dared to link to something which costs money, just keep that in mind.

Is the exchange good? Are you providing good content and service?

Then, great! Move on. There will always be a few people who complain and it honestly shouldn’t stress you out. I know it is easy to get focused on the squeaky wheel. But, keep your eye on the big picture.

And if they unsubscribe, they’re of course free to do it.

– David

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