Retiring Old Email Marketing Strategies

Why don’t I share my Almost Timely newsletter as blog post content on this site?

It seems like a fairly obvious oversight, doesn’t it? It is, and here’s why: outdated email marketing strategy.

A long time ago, I had a section in my newsletter called Premium Content, back when it was hosted on a platform called Publicaster, a product of my employer at the time. Premium Content was only for subscribers who had fully completed their profiles. In exchange for more contact information, they received more content.

One of the consequences of the premium content angle was that I didn’t post my newsletter online anywhere. It only existed in inboxes, and if you missed an issue, it was gone forever. I didn’t post the newsletter on my website to preserve that sense of privilege for the people who had opted in.

Fast forward to today, a decade later. Premium Content has changed. It’s not in the newsletter any more; I reserve premium content for people who are in my free Slack group, Analytics for Marketers. So that part of the strategy has changed.

But more important, the most difficult thing to do in any kind of digital marketing is capturing anyone’s attention – at all – these days. There are so many choices, so many different ways someone can spend their time. By not offering more opportunities, more ways for people to read my newsletter than just in their inbox, I’m cutting myself off from avenues of attention.

Not everyone wants to read a newsletter in their inbox:
– Some folks want to read it on the web.
– Some folks want to read it in a blog reader.
– Some folks want to read it on their Kindle.

By not having a web accessible version, I’m eliminating my chances to reach these folks, and that’s an oversight.

How did this happen? Simple: I trapped myself with the oldest, most cliche, and most common strategic trap: that’s the way I’ve always done it. It’s really embarrassing, but it’s true: I’ve been doing my newsletter so long by this process that it never occurred to me to take a step back and question why I was still doing it this way.

What changed? What woke me up from the daze I was in? A clue bat from a reader, that’s what:

reader feedback

Someone wants to do free marketing for me. I would be stupid to turn this down in an era where getting any attention – especially for free – is invaluable. That message on LinkedIn was what started me down this path of asking why I still did something that no longer worked.

What about the cost? Well, it turns out it’s nominal. I edit both the newsletter and my website in a scripting language called Markdown, so I could literally just copy and paste the newsletter into both places at once with minimal editing, and I would have it in both places. It’s an additional 5 minutes on my weekly process.

High potential return. Zero risk. Low cost. In the annals of easy wins, this is up there.

So, the lesson here is to question your strategies – preferably more than once a decade. Why do you do the things you do? Are those choices conscious? Do they still serve your audience and still serve you?

As for me, I’m going to start posting back issues – all of 2021, for sure, and possibly 2020. Older than that and a lot of stuff really starts aging poorly, but catching up on the last year and a half should be pretty straightforward. Time to get caught up on a more modern way of doing email marketing and content marketing.


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