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Not long ago, I had numerous, separate email lists for various things like newsletters, podcasts, and my courses. Things were very fragmented and confusing. Many people who wanted to receive updates of my new posts weren’t getting everything because they weren’t on all of the right lists—my fault.

I realized this fragmentation wasn’t helping anybody. I was thinking of things very literally: there’s “podcasts” and there’s “newsletters.” But when I took a step back, I realized that everything I’m about is helping you make a living with your passion.

Whether it’s newsletters, blog posts, podcasts, or videos, that’s what I want to help you with. It doesn’t make much sense to have individual lists for each medium. While I’m using different mediums to share new facets of the same message, it’s all fresh, relevant content.

If you’re thinking of combining multiple email lists, running several lists of your own, or you’re just plain curious, this episode provides an intriguing breakdown of the response I got.

In this episode, I share:
  • Daily subscription numbers before the new website launch.
  • Daily subscription numbers after website launch (hint: big increase).
  • Why I consolidated my lists.
  • How I consolidated my lists.
  • The campaign I sent leading up to the merge.
  • Exact unsubscribe numbers for the last 7 campaigns.
  • Responses received from upset people.
  • How I interpret those responses and how they influence the way I move forward.
  • Frequency of emails.
  • Why it’s ok if it’s “too much” for some people.

But it’s not just about me and my story—I want to help those of you who have multiple lists really think about the reason you’ve separated them and if they really should be separate.

If this all sounds crazy and complicated—it is! It’s a bit technical, but I know a lot of people are struggling with this, so I want to provide any insight I can to make it easier for you in the future.

If you’re just getting started and thinking about creating your own very first newsletter, then I think you’ll find one of my previous episodes to be right up your alley. (Related: e042 Why You Need an Email List & How to Master Your Marketing).

Here’s the exact “giving” campaign I sent:

When I brought the subscribers from Learn Lettering onto my main list, I wanted to give them an idea of the kind of content I would be sharing. Previously, I’d been telling them all about my Learn Lettering courses and providing free videos to give them an idea of what was available. But now that I’d shared what I had to offer, I wanted to once again provide value. To do this, I sent the “giving” campaign right before merging the lists.

In the massive “giving” campaign below, I provided a ton of my most valuable content for free. I shared the 3-part series on Making A Living With the Trifecta and a bunch of other great content (Related: e080 Making A Living With The Trifecta Part 1 of 3: Client Work). In the body of this email, I also boldly invited them to unsubscribe. I said, “Your time is valuable and I want to respect that. Please only stay if this is helpful to you personally.” You can click on the image to view the full thing if you’re interested in seeing exactly what I said and how I did it.


Why it’s still good when people unsubscribe

My aim is to help people. If I’m showing up every day, sweating it to produce high quality materials and some people don’t have time to read it, I’m 100% ok with that. I totally realize that not everyone has or makes the time to consume as much content as I’m producing. However, the vast majority does and they appreciate it. I’d rather give more to the people that want it!

If people tell you your content is good and they unsubscribe because it’s more than they can currently consume, that’s a good thing.

Here’s why:

You’re setting a precedent for quality and consistency.

If you have a strong emphasis on putting out valuable, relevant content on a regular basis, it’s ok if some people can’t consume it all. They may unsubscribe, but there are other ways to stay engaged. And even if someone is no longer “following” you, you’ve still made the impression that you are consistent, and you’re focused on quality.

This means whatever it is that you’re sharing, whatever it is that you specialize in, you will be the first person these people think of—even if they unsubscribed.

Some people say podcasts that have new episodes more frequently than once a month is too often. Some say that more than once a week is too much. Others say unless you do at least once a week, they won’t listening consistently.

Guess what? Even with doing 2 podcasts a week, some people still regularly ask if I will do more!

The point is, people consume in different ways, at different rates, and at different times. If you’re showing up consistently and helping people, don’t be discouraged if it’s not for everybody. Focus on the people who want more from you and give it to them.

It’s just like a book

Today more than ever, we consume content when we want and how we want. With services like Netflix and Instapaper, we have a queue of content we want to consume and we consume it when we’re ready.

We start episodes when we have availability and pause them at will. Sometimes we’ll return after a short break, other times we’ll come back days later.

It’s just like a book. For the most part, we don’t tend to consume entire books in one sitting.

We use these old-fashioned inventions called bookmarks.

We mark our spot and come back later and pick up where we left off.

Many of us are going through 3 or more TV shows simultaneously—on top of listening to podcasts and reading books and consuming newsletters!

People want to organize their day how they see fit. They’ll fit content in the gaps of their life in the way that works best for them. This means they’re also going to consume your content how they want to and when they want to.

Personally, when I get a newsletter from someone I really like and whose writing I highly value; if I don’t have time to read it right away, I forward the email to my Instapaper account. This allows me to consume the content on my own schedule.

Don’t worry about conforming the frequency of your output to other people’s schedules. Just be consistent and focus on quality. Leave the actual methods of consumption up to them. They will adapt your content to their life automatically. It’s just your job to show up.