Sorry About That. The EU didn’t like my plug.

Sorry About That. The EU didn’t like my plug.

Alas, I’ve been missing from your mailbox for a few weeks, and my only excuse is epic tech fail in the form of one very wonky plug. I don’t think that adapter passes safety regs….

But, really, did anyone need ANOTHER email in their inbox in the past three weeks? And, show of hands, how many of you actually read all those new Privacy Policies? (Not me.)

So, I guess I need to jump on the bandwagon and tell you how I use your data (clients and friends know what’s coming): I email you with it. That’s it. I don’t share, track, market, or use it to discover lookalike audiences. I don’t do anything with it except send you one email per week. I store your data on Campaign Monitor and, at any point in time, you can unsubscribe, resubscribe, add preferences and update.

But, I know from recent emails that some of you are freaking out about unsubscribe rates as you are forced to clean your lists. So I thought I’d share my two cents, as always coming at you from the position that we must always market with integrity.

  1. The good-bad news: if you’re seeing a lot of unsubscribes, it might mean that your frequency or content suck. Sorry, gang, but it’s true. Are you emailing too often? Not often enough? Are you only emailing to ask people to give you money? Undertake some self-diagnosis and audit the past 6-12 months of email-outs. (If you’re too close to it, pay someone for a professional review.) Reframe the experience as a learning moment that can only help you do better and grow your dedicated audience.
  2. Take a look at what readers see in their Inbox: who is sending the email? Some of you may remember that I got busted by a few readers early on with the Must Read because my numbers started to swell beyond clients and friends, people didn’t know who “Polly” was, and thought they were being spammed. If you don’t have people who will tell you when you screw up, take a look at your “unconfirmed” list. Those are the people who have signed up but never confirmed their sub; if that number is consistently growing, it may indicate that your <From: address> needs a tweak.
  3. Similarly, are you spam? Not to get too techy, but sometimes, this can happen for reasons beyond your control (a common example is if you are on a shared server…which most of you will be… and that IP gets black or grey listed). Try checking your spam score with tools like this one.
  4. Enough with the clickbait subject lines. We are wineries, not Buzzfeed. Create a subject that tells readers what they can expect, or delights them enough that they are willing to stop and read. You’ve spent an hour crafting your newsletter; pop over here and make sure that subscribers get past the inbox.
  5. Embrace the unsubs. First, assuming that you are running a list of any considerable size, you know that sending emails costs money. So right off the bat, if peeps ain’t opening it, set ‘em free. Secondly, unsubscribes are better than having your emails marked as spam (ooooh, don’t get me started on that one…). Third, remember, if you’re writing with heart and personality, unsubscribes are inevitable. It’s just like real life: some people will gel, others won’t. It’s far worse to churn out tepid emails with loads of subscribers and few opens, than it is to write with feelings and opinions, lose some folks, and have the others actually open and read what you’re sharing.

My final word of advice (for today!) is don’t obsess. If nothing else, GDPR means that you don’t have the option to email for a debrief, so in the immortal words of Elsa, “let it go.” You’re better off spending your energy writing a delightful new email, full of value, than you are letting frustration and worry slow you down.

On that note, I’ll leave you to your Sunday. Nice to be back. See you all next week.