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Where to Find People Who Love Opening Emails?
Short Answer: Nowhere. And everywhere.
The harsh reality is that no one really likes opening emails. And using myself as the only case-study I would wager the reason is because the first time I was exposed to emails was through work. That 9 to 5 grind of a job where email was the means of communication between co-workers, clients, and my boss. Good news or bad, it all came via email as a way to document the mistakes and problems that needed fixing. Very quickly I came to dread seeing how many unopened emails I had waiting for me the following day at work.
And I know there’s that nostalgic “You’ve Got Mail…” voice from the AOL olden days. It wasn’t always like that for everyone. Most of us didn’t want mail. Especially, when companies figured out how to capitalize on the email thing and started paying for large lists of emails so they could spam us like crazy with their products we didn’t need or want. And we wondered what it is we must’ve done to put us in their line of sight or provided them with our email?
Then, going beyond our work emails, some of us did go out and create our own personal emails. Is it because we are masochists who secretly want to be harassed with emails? No. I know I got my own because I needed a means to create accounts with websites that were popping up like crazy in the world of social media. And as I started going on job interviews it seemed the easiest way was to create an account online with job sites. Before I knew it, I was neck deep in more spam emails than emails I actually wanted to open. In truth, that is still the case today. And perhaps you are like me, where we can’t delete or “unsubscribe” enough to feel like we are making any sort of a dent with the amount of spam emails we get. I already have to open the emails and respond to the ones I get for work. The last thing I want to do is be bothered with wrangling my personal email.
If I am not the only person who feels email fatigue, which I’d bet my life I’m not, then how do we penetrate this person and convince them to open our emails? After all, everyone will tell you the one thing any entrepreneur needs is an email list if they ever hope to make sales, build a community, and earn a living. How do they do it? What do they have that I need?
This is probably the hardest nut to crack because it takes a long time to build trust. I’m talking years. And the key ingredient to building trust when no one knows who you are is through being consistent especially when no one knows who you are. You need to be able to show a complete and total stranger that you can be trusted in providing whatever service/product. The way to do that is to actually provide it over a period of time and make that visible to everyone. Using myself as an example: I write stories. My goal is to write novels. As someone who isn’t world famous, the best way I know to build trust that my stories are worth reading (notice I said worth reading and not worth buying) is to have stories freely available to be read. And not just one or two. But several. As many as I can get out there. And release these stories consistently for several years. This builds my portfolio. So, when I am found (through my own means of social media, etc) and these strangers visit my website, they will be met with exactly what I want them to see, my stories. They won’t buy anything, yet. And I won’t sell them anything either. This is just the time in our relationship where we are building trust. And that won’t happen if immediately after they show up I ask them for money. Instead, I ask them to sign-up for my free newsletter if they like what they’ve read so far. Many will need more proof before they commit. Meaning, now that they’ve arrived on the scene they’ll need to see that I’m still being consistent and not just relying on my backlog of stories to get them hooked.
What will you do to build trust? What systems do you have in place for strangers to find you and see your work? I’d love to hear about it in the comments.
What do I mean when I say “loyalty?” Basically, that you don’t come off as being all over the place in what you are passionate about. That you say what you mean and do what you say. It’s perfectly fine to have your hand in multiple cookie jars, but not if it means you don’t finish what you start. Make sure you have completed work to show anyone who may stop by. The last thing you want is for people to assume you don’t finish. Imagine if I started multiple serial novels and never finished any of them? Who would want to stick around for that mess? Who would eventually want to pay for that every month? And I’d never have a completed novel that I could potentially sell either. It would be a lose-lose situation for all parties.
So, whatever your creative idea happens to be, make damn sure you can finish it, then do others like it and finish those as well. When you start to promote yourself, have a nice little portfolio of finished works that you can put out on display. They don’t have to be perfect but they have to at least show you are passionate about your work and that you can be trusted (see what I did there) to get the job done. Give that stranger a reason to stick around.
WHERE ARE THESE STRANGERS?
Now that we’ve gone over what you need to do, how about where to go? A lot of people will tell you it’s a matter of thinking like your consumer and going where they go. It’s not always that simple. Sometimes where they go has gatekeepers whose entire purpose is to keep us out. How many Facebook Groups, Discord Servers, or forums have you tried to enter where their number one rule is “no self-promotions”? I’ll bet every single one. And if you can’t infiltrate those groups to get what you’re looking for then what do you do?
Well, the obvious (and yes, time-consuming) answer is that you are going about it the wrong way. Remember when I mentioned the last thing you want to do is start your relationship with a stranger by trying to sell them something? Infiltrating these groups is the same way. Don’t think of it as a sales pitch. You need to go in there with a curious eye. These are the people who you hope to one day sell your stuff to, right? Well, ask leading questions. Find out where else they go. Become an actual part of that community. Again, not with the obvious intent of trying to trick them into buying whatever you’re selling, but because you actually want to be there. If you don’t want to be there and your only mission is to get what you came for and be radio silent or leave then you’ll never get anywhere.
Finding readers (in my case) or making sales isn’t as simple as a customer walking into a Barnes & Noble, seeing all the pretty book covers on a display table, picking it up, walking over to the register, buying it and walking out. If only life were that easy. We have to do a bit more work than that. We have to create our own display table using things like our website and social media. But on our display table we have to offer things they can just pick up and walk away with. Eliminating the cash register altogether. Not forever. But for a time. But we can’t simply leave a table somewhere in the hopes that someone will walk by and see it. We have to do whatever it takes to make it visible, short of setting it on fire! That comes in the form of social media (of which I hate as much as emails).
And then after all is said and done, that stranger finds your table of free goodies. They might even stick around your website for an entire two minutes, leave and then come back again, that is when you pull out your clipboard and pen and kindly ask “would you like to sign-up for my newsletter?” And when they seem apprehensive and rush to click away (as everyone does) you follow it up with “I promise to provide the same kind of content that brought you back. And if you at any point no longer find what I have to offer worth your time, by all means unsubscribe.”
Will everyone sign-up? Probably. But don’t be disheartened if after all the work and time and energy you devoted they don’t come in droves. They say “if you build it they will come.” And that is true… If you’re the only one building. It’s the 21st century and technology has advanced so much that everyone is building. No, seriously, everyone. This means we have to think twice as hard and be twice as determined if we hope to just capture anyone’s attention so they can see what we have built and trust that it won’t fall apart upon entry.
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