A simple tip to make your email list a must read…

Written by Sol Orwell

“I only read a few emails religiously – and yours is one of them.”

That’s a great compliment. In the vast cacophony that is the Internets, someone is letting you know that you are one of a few that registers as a “must read.”

Having people say “yours is a must read” is the exact effect you want your email list to have on people.

As I’ve started to hear this more and more (thanks!), I’ve been seriously mulling over on what yields such a response? How do we get people to think your email list is a must read?

What am I doing that is making someone say: “I gotta read this.”

My own experience

From day one, SJO has been about having an outlet. To reiterate: I do not do any consulting. I have no coaching or course to sell you. SJO is about pontification, not about revenue.

This kind of approach frees me to explore whatever boundaries and content I want – be it my love for food, my thoughts on media, or something esoteric (but important) such as font readability. I have _no_ customers or clients to keep happy.

And if we abstract that motivation a tad, SJO is about having a conversation. About building a relationship.

Now, admittedly I start the conversations (based on whatever it is that I write about), but there are multiple mechanisms for feedback (more on that in a bit).

And so if we further abstract, the underlying question becomes: “how do I build and strengthen this relationship?”

And with that as our question, the answer becomes quite simple…

Make me feel special

Make feel special is my biggest realization this year.

I’ve talked a lot about networking and connecting, but the underlying truth is that a real connection or a real shared bond stems from when someone feels heard. When they feel listened. When they feel privy to something that is not public, something between just the two of you.

They feel special.

Here’s the thing – if I write something, you have multiple ways of accessing it. You don’t need to subscribe to the SJO Fam (but ahem, you should) – you can find it via social media and on the site itself. You can also interact (the feedback mechanisms mentioned earlier) by commenting on the actual article, on my own FB wall, or even just tweeting at me.

So then we think – okay, if we want someone to subscribe and be a part of our email list, how do we make *that* part of the relationship special?

Easy: Drop some knowledge in the email. Make it an exclusive piece of the conversation.

I’ve noticed that every time I send out an email to the SJO Fam, I always give a bit of background on why I wrote what I wrote. And this background context only goes out via email – it’s not on Facebook or Twitter or anywhere else.

This was not done on purpose – just how I approached it.

And you know what? It generates some of the best conversations and ideas.

A real life example…

An article I wrote recently was about media manipulation. When I emailed the SJO Fam about it, I talked about how I had originally started it months ago, had hemmed and hawed about putting it out there, and finally, out of frustration and a desire to just get-it-out, hit the publish button.

And lo and behold – that newsletter lede was a hit!

I’d wager 50% of the replies to that email (I get a few dozen every time I email the Fam) were about empathizing with that condition – on being a bit afraid of just hitting publish.

This feedback created my next article – on how having output/generation is critical.

By ensuring my email was not just another “read my latest missive” and was instead engaging with something exclusive for the email list, I strengthened the relationship I have with the SJO Fam

Make your audience feel special by providing content/thoughts that only go out via your email list.

People want exclusive.

While elite has become a bit of a dirty word (side note: why wouldn’t you want to be an elite individual?), the word exclusive is embraced. You’ll find exclusives across all industries.

Make your email list an exclusive place to be. Make it conversational. Drop some knowledge that is only for those people who are in it.

You may think people won’t notice, but they do. It will significantly strengthen the relationship you have with your audience.

Most build their email list by offering something exclusive as a reason to join (a guide, a course, etc). Not continuing to offering something exclusive is a bad move.

Offer something exclusive to your email list. Even something as simple as your latest thought sets you apart.

Lets feel special together

I've built multiple businesses that kick ass and take names in completely unrelated fields.

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