Communicating Like a Human Being

The traditional marketing blog wisdom is that using double opt-in for your mailing list is a bad idea. It’s an unnecessary step, they say. You’ll get 20-30% more subscribers without it. Oh, and put some pop-ups on your site. Don’t you want more people on your mailing list?

Ugh. I take the opposite approach. I put up as many barriers as I can. When visitors sign up for the Monday Mailer they have to:

  1. Type in their email address.
  2. Get redirected to another page, asking them to click a confirmation link.
  3. Open their email client.
  4. Find the email from me, assuming it didn’t end up in their spam folder.
  5. Click on the confirmation link.
  6. Get redirected to another page, letting them know that they’ve finally reached the end.
  7. Except, they have to wait until next Monday to get the first email.

That’s seven steps, just to read what I write.

The biggest benefit to this approach is that it’s relaxing. I’m not worried about catering to an audience whose goals don’t align with mine. They aren’t on my list because of a free giveaway or some other marketing gimmick. They aren’t subscribed because I pounded them with pop-ups. They’re on my list because I promised to share my thoughts on shipping side projects and doing good work. And that’s what I try to deliver.

Sure, it means fewer subscribers. But those people are worth more – and I don’t mean financially. I’m not here to sell you anything. I want to share what I know, build connections with people, and have interesting conversations.

And I’m succeeding in that goal. The Monday Mailer gets a handful of new signups each week. When you reach that final “You Made It!” page, I ask you to email me and share some of your work. Not everyone does it – that’s fine. But every once in a while I get to hear about something cool. A new app. A blog post. An exciting project at work.

I write back, every time. We talk about motivations. Hopes and dreams. A tricky bug. Future goals. Finishing a project.

Sometimes I just let them know they aren’t alone.

I don’t care about having a massive audience. I want the Monday Mailer to grow because someone cared about what I have to say, got some value from it, then shared it with someone they like. By communicating with them like a human being.

It feels like the right approach.