In this episode, I’ll be answering the question: is bribing people to be on your mailing list even appropriate? Is it wrong?

Here for the links referenced in the show notes? 

Episode 309: What’s the best email service for online business?

Grow Your Audience:

I’m really excited to answer this question!

Let’s dive in…

Before I answer the question about bribing people onto your mailing list (because that is such a great question and I’m super excited to talk about it!), I just wanted to quickly give a shout-out to Lori who sent through a question at Lori’s question was in relation to choosing an email marketing service (a CRM that you use to send your newsletters and other emails out).

I have already answered that part of the question in a previous podcast episode, but there was a little piece of it the question I hadn’t answered so I just wanted to quickly touch on that as well, seeing as we’re talking about mailing lists today.

Make sure to check out that episode here to choose the best provider: CLICK ME

One of the reasons why Lori was asking was because she is currently with an email provider, and she’s worried about how hard it is to move from service to service.

Her question was more about whether she should choose one based on what she needs now, or whether she should choose it based on what she’s going to need in the future. She’s worried about whether it’s going to be super hard to move from one to the next in the future.

The answer to that question is actually no. It’s fairly simple and straightforward to move from one to the next. Of course, it depends on how long you’ve had your mailing list, and how many of those tags and pieces of data on each lead you’re going to need to move.

There are definitely people who can help you do that at a very low-cost price. You can easily find someone on Fiverr. Otherwise, let me know if you want someone because I know people who specialise in this, and it’s not necessarily a significant investment to do that.

The process of moving to a new provider isn’t necessarily that hard.

But I wanted to answer this on the podcast because it’s important to ensure that the first few emails that you send from your new platform, have low unsubscribe rates and good open rates.

This is because when you first move to a new service, it doesn’t know your history of all the emails, engagement and love that you’ve got for your emails when you were on the previous platform.

When you first move to a new platform, you’re importing thousands (in most cases) of people’s contact details into this new platform. That platform needs to be very careful.

It needs to gather evidence around:

  • Are you legally allowed to be emailing these people?
  • Did you get their email addresses ethically?
  • Are people interested in what it is that you’re sending?

The deliverability of your emails is impacted by those factors.

If you have a reputation of spamming people, sending far too many emails, and you get super high unsubscribe rates, then when your email service sends out your emails, it will be impacted on whether it goes into the junk folder, whether it goes into the promotions tab, whether it goes into the actual inbox, whether the images are sent with it, and whether the links are clickable.

That is actually all impacted by your reputation as an email sender.

That reputation is measured by all email hosts, as well as by your sending reputation with your email service provider.

Here are my quick recommendation when you do choose to move to a new email platform…

Recommendation 1: Inform your list of the move

Let your list know that it’s coming up, and ask them to ensure that they check they are still getting your emails.

This is important because they might have been getting your emails to their inbox on the last platform, but then all of a sudden when you move to a new platform, your emails are going to junk or the promotions tab again because it’s going through a different server.

You don’t want your audience to think that you haven’t emailed them in three months because they assumed that your emails would continue delivering to their inbox.

That’s my first recommendation before changing service providers. Send an email to your mailing list to let them know.

Say something along the lines of: “I’m going to be moving service providers, and that means the email that I send next Tuesday may go to your junk inbox or to your promotions tab. Please ensure that you look out for my email next Tuesday to make sure it’s still coming to your inbox. Plus, as a little favour to me, if you can please open that email, that will help me reassure my service provider that I’m a good email sender.”

It can be as simple as that!

Recommendation 2: Don’t switch service providers during launch

You won’t the first couple of emails that you send to your list from that new email platform to be really juicy and valuable. You definitely DON’T want to be switching platforms when you’re in a launch or a big promo period.

Find a space where you’ve got a couple of weeks where you can send really great valuable emails to people, without including much (if any) promo. That’s going to help you to get good open rates and good click-through rates, rather than your regular open and click-through rates.

It’s going to ensure you get that really good reputation as a sender quickly.

If you get a really big unsubscribe rate from the first email that you send out from a new provider (and I’m talking about 10-15%), you may be excluded from sending emails until you provide the evidence that you have permission to be emailing those people.

You’ll need to provide that evidence from your previous platform (ie. showing where they opted in to receive emails from you).

Before you cancel your old provider, send out your first couple of emails from the new one, and make sure that you download all of the data on those people. Not just their name and email address, but also the information about how they subscribed and when.

Make sure that you download that. That’s your evidence of their consent to be sending them emails.

Make sure that you have those things sorted. That’s why I would recommend getting someone to help you with it. Just pay a systems or transfer expert to help you with it.

They know all of these things, and they know to look out for these things.

They will be able to set you up for success.

Actually, having said that… I DID pay someone to move mine in the past, and they didn’t know those things… so check that they know those things.

Just check in with them before you hire them and ask: Do you have strategies to ensure great deliverability, low unsubscribe rates, and ensuring I have all the evidence I need to take out of the old platform before I cancel my membership?

Make sure you check those things before hiring someone. Don’t make an assumption like I did!

If you want to learn more about which service provider you should pick, I definitely recommend checking out episode 309 of the podcast where I break it down for you:

Recommendation 3: Think about what you’re going to need in the future

I understand this struggle between moving to a service provider that meets your current needs and moving to one that will meet your future needs.

The way that I think about this is the same way that I think about moving house.

Moving house is a big deal.

If you were trying to have a child, you wouldn’t go and move into a house that’s not going to be suitable for having a child. Instead, you would be thinking a little bit into the future because of the disruption and the effort that’s required to buy and move into a new home.

It’s the same with moving email service providers.

Whilst it’s fairly simple and straightforward, you don’t want to be moving every six months, so you do want to be taking into consideration what’s going to be happening for you over the next 12 to 18 months.

If you feel like in 12 to 18 months, you’re going to need an all-in-one platform, then move to an all-in-one platform now.

If you feel like in 12 to 18 months, you’re going to need a lot of those tools and features that only come when you go to a certain platform, then move to that certain platform now.

Frankly, I would hate to move house more than once a year. Nowadays, I would even say that I’d prefer not to move house more than once every five years. I use the same kind of timeframe when it comes to moving my list.

I would say that 12 to 18 months is probably the window I would be thinking about, because I wouldn’t want to move again within the next 12 to 18 months.

If you’re going to move now, think about what you’re going to need in 12 to 18 months.

Move to something that has all of that now so that you don’t have to move again.

That would be my advice on that one.

That’s part A of today’s podcast episode.

I also want to answer the question of whether it’s appropriate to bribe people onto your mailing lists with some sort of free training, template, etc.

Is that yucky? Is that actually coming from a space of fear and scarcity and tricking people?

I have seven little pieces of advice on this that I encourage you to think about.

1. Consent-based marketing is absolutely my jam

I don’t just focus on whether I’m legally allowed to send this person an email, or whether I’ve fulfilled my legal obligations to get this person on my list.

I also look at it through the lens of consent. Informed, enthusiastic consent. Does this person want to hear from me?

All of the ways that I set up bringing people onto my mailing list are formed not just through the lens of legal consent, but through the lens of informed enthusiastic consent.

The strategies that I use and teach come through that lens.

For me, that does include having opt-ins and lead magnets where people need to give me their email address to access it.

2. Be transparent and get that informed consent

There are statements that I would expect you would make so that people know that they will be added to your mailing list.

For example, if you sign up for one of my webinars, you’ll see at the bottom it says: By signing up to this webinar, you will also be added to my mailing list to receive relevant advice and offers from time to time. You can unsubscribe from that at any time.

People know that they’re going to be added to my mailing list. But they also know that if they don’t want to receive those, they can unsubscribe from that straightaway.

For me, that’s not just legally covering that consent piece. It’s being transparent about what is going to happen. And actually, that is a legal requirement if you are a business based in Australia.

There are different rules for different places around the world. GDPR in the European European Union is even more specific about what is required and what level of consent is required.

Of course, we do want to be transparent about what’s happening with those people’s information.

3. Be clear on what they consented to, and run the reasonable person test

If I sign up for a free template from you, would it be reasonable for me to expect that you are then going to email me every day from there?

I would argue no, that is not reasonable.

If I sign up for a five-day challenge, is it reasonable for me to expect I’ll get an email from you for every day of that challenge?

Yes, it is.

There are certain cases where daily emails would be reasonable. And there are certain cases where daily emails would not be reasonable.

Be clear, pay attention to and make a decision about what it actually is that they are consenting to.

Is this something that would be a reasonable expectation?

When people sign up to my webinars, they’re going to get a reminder email about the webinar. That’s reasonable to expect. They’re going to get an email with the replay of the webinar. That’s reasonable to expect. They’re going to get some follow-up emails (usually three or four), to remind them to watch the replay, and to let them know about how we can keep working together to continue their momentum on the thing that I covered in my webinar.

Is that reasonable to expect? Yes.

The number of emails I send after a webinar is usually three to four emails across seven to ten days. Is that reasonable? Yes.

But there are certain launch strategy webinar programs that tell you to send seventeen emails in five days post-webinar. I don’t think that’s reasonable.

Just ask that question: What exactly did they consent to? And is that a reasonable expectation? Is that matching up with what I think?

It’s also different between niches.

If your niche is people who are in online business and are doing their marketing every single week, then is it reasonable to get a weekly email from you helping them with their marketing? Yes.

But if someone bought a pair of jeans from you, and they buy jeans twice a year, is it reasonable for them to receive a weekly email from you trying to upsell them or send them more jeans? I don’t think so. 

I would expect that if it was something like that, people could decide how often they would hear from you if you wanted to email them every week.

I’ve bought swimwear before, and I’ve received daily follow-up emails encouraging me to buy more swimwear. I just bought four pieces from you! I’m not in the market for more. I haven’t even received the ones I purchased!!

This is a really great opportunity for discernment.

I also understand that in the heart-centred business circles (people in my audience), you’re more likely to err on the side of emailing less often rather than more often.

That’s where I think it’s really powerful to have a mentor or someone helping you who can help you work out what feels like a good amount, and what feels reasonable. This is because you’re likely to defer to less often. Whereas if we were to look at it objectively, I think you could probably get away with sending emails a little bit more often than you assume.

That is tip number three. What did they consent to? And put the reasonable person’s test to that.

4. Check your mindset

If you are perceiving that offering someone a checklist in return for their email address is bribing them, then chances are, your mindset is that you need to trick people in order to get them onto your mailing list.

Your mindset is that people don’t want to receive your weekly newsletter, so you have to trick them into getting it.

I don’t know that that’s a particularly helpful mindset. And I actually don’t think that that’s the case either.

When it comes to having people on your mailing list, the first thing to check is your mindset about emailing your mailing list, and your mindset around what they perceive and what they feel when they get an email from you.

I have always created my emails through the lens of ‘My audience wants my advice; my audience wants to hear from me; my audience values my opinion; my audience values the content that I send them.’

This means that when it comes to offering lead magnets,opt-ins or webinars, I’m coming from that place.

Yes, the webinar may be the initial motivation for someone jumping on my list, but they’ll want to stay on my list because the emails that I’m sending are really valuable to them. They’ll want to stay on my list because they see that it’s adding value to the thing that they initially signed up for, and they can continue to learn in the same topic area.

The first question that we want to ask is: Overall, do you believe that your audience wants to hear from you? Overall, do you believe that your audience finds your opinions and advice valuable?

If you don’t believe that, then how on earth are they going to believe it?

If you don’t believe it, you will feel like you need to use trickery and bribery and weird tactics to lure people onto your mailing list.

I don’t ever feel like I’m luring people onto my mailing list, because I inherently believe that what I send to my mailing list helps them and they actually want to receive it.

If you’re on my mailing list, I would assume you want to hear from me. You value reading this podcast, and you value being able to know when I’m running free workshops.

I have people who, even though they’ve done both my Take Off program and Leverage and Launch program, still come to every single webinar that I run, because they know that they’re going to get something from it. They know it’s really valuable to them.

If I didn’t email them to tell them that there was a webinar coming up, I know they’d be cranky at me for not telling them.

I really think there’s a big mindset piece in there around people wanting to hear from you.

I know it comes from way back in your history. It comes from the patriarchy, it comes from upbringing, and it comes from inner child stuff.

It’s not just your belief about your business that is impacting that underlying mindset that you’re annoying people when you email them. It’s not just a matter of brushing it to the side and simply “changing” your mindset. I totally understand that there’s a lot to unpack in there.

But I think it’s worth doing the work in uncovering where this has come from.

mailing list messaging and copy

Uncover why you believe your mailing list doesn’t want to hear from you.

Uncover why you believe that no one wants to hear from you. Find ways to clear that out.

That’s going to come up over and over again throughout your business journey, and block your ability to be seen, heard and visible, and continue to help people.

Something I say inside the Take Off program is that you can’t help 100,000 people if 100,000 people don’t know who you are. You can’t change 100,000 people’s lives without having 100,000 people see you.

You have to be seen, and you have to be visible. That’s part and parcel of being in this type of business.

If you’ve got stuff around visibility or believing that your opinion’s not wanted or you annoy people, then invest in getting that sorted. Whether that be time and/or money because that mindset stuff is big.

5. You can choose the level of consent that you gain

You can actually have extra steps to ensure that people want to hear from you if you feel particularly off about adding someone to your mailing list when they sign up for something.

This is a requirement for GDPR anyway, so if you’re sending emails to anyone in the European Union, there needs to be an additional confirmation of informed consent. They need to do something to actively say that they want to be on your mailing list.

Email sequence systems are set up so you can have a checkbox that says, ‘Please enrol me in the webinar’, and then another checkbox that says, ‘And please add me to your mailing list’.

If you’re particularly concerned, you can actually do that. It doesn’t have to be a checkbox, it can also just be words.

You could be upfront about the value of being on your mailing list, or why you want them to be on your mailing list.

I’ve opted into things before where it says, “Hey! Not only do I want to send you this super valuable resource, but I also want to share my best tips and advice about how to do X,Y,Z on a regular basis. So by opting in here, you’ll also be able to receive my newsletter every week. Of course, if you don’t want it, you can always unsubscribe.”

Think about how positive that feels!

Compare that to, “Oh I’m sorry, when you sign up to this, I’m going to put you on my mailing lists. But don’t worry! You can unsubscribe.”

You get to choose not only your belief and your mindset, but you also get to choose how you communicate that consent, and how much you ask of them to say yes to receiving that.

As someone who signs up to a lot of mailing lists and unsubscribes from a lot of mailing lists, I don’t like a double opt-in.

Those things where you opt-in and then receive a message that you have to check your inbox and confirm you want to sign up… I probably confirm it less than half of the time. Not because I wasn’t keen or I didn’t want whatever it was. But mostly because I sign up for most things on my phone and I don’t have all of my inboxes on my phone (because I don’t like having all of those unread emails in my face when I pick up my phone).

The double opt-in means that I have to go and find my laptop and remember to go look for that thing to confirm I want to sign up.

For me, it’s an ease thing. I like to sign up for a webinar and know that I’ll be on their mailing list but I can unsubscribe if I want to.

From my perspective – as someone who potentially might be signing up to your list – I don’t love having to jump through hoops to prove to you that I want your emails.

I think it’s also a matter of finding a happy medium for you.

Yes, it would feel very scrumptious to know that every single person on your mailing list is there because they actively want to receive your emails and that’s the only reason that they’re there.

But I also think it’s a balancing act because you’re making an assumption that they don’t want to receive your emails unless they jump through all of those hoops.

I want to receive your emails, but I’m just lazy and don’t have my emails on my phone. If you make it hard for me, I might not go to the effort.

Particularly if it’s the first time I’ve heard of you, or the first time I’m jumping on your mailing list. I don’t know you well enough to know that your newsletters are going to be valuable enough for it to be worth me getting up off the couch and going to my office to get my laptop and do the double opt-in.

I think it’s just a matter of knowing that you can choose the level of consent that you create. You can use a double opt-in if you want to. And sometimes it’s just the tone of your words that creates that excitement for people to want to be on your mailing list as well.

6. The unsubscribe rate from my mailing list is under 1% per month

That number tells me that 99% of the people who are on my mailing list want to be there.

For me, if I was having an opt-in and it got people onto my mailing list, and then 30% of those people unsubscribed when they got my first newsletter, I would feel like there’s a missing link in the chain there.

That doesn’t feel like it was informed consent and they were excited to be on my mailing list.

If my unsubscribe rate significantly spikes, then yes, I feel like there’s something I can address to ensure that it’s not perceived as trickery or bribing people onto my mailing list to lure them in to get my newsletters.

But if that unsubscribe rate were to happen (I’ve never had that before), then I would look at where most of those people came onto my mailing list from.

I would also look at how I could ensure that that consent is far more informed.

I’ve had VIP clients where this has happened. And what’s happened is that those people came in on a Facebook ad that was targeting the wrong audience. The people that were signing up for the freebie wanted the freebie but it was disconnected from what was being shared in the newsletter. It was disconnected from what the business was about overall.

Yes, it was a freebie that they could get lots of opt-ins from, but it was getting opt-ins from people who weren’t their ideal clients and didn’t want to be in their audience.

The opt-in was one that they had built with another mentor, and they were concerned that the freebie wasn’t the right fight for their audience. But the mentor was adamant that they would get a lot of list growth from it, and that people could just unsubscribe if it wasn’t the right fit.

But she was getting 35% of people unsubscribing the first time that they got a newsletter from her.

It was a really clear sign that it was the wrong people that were coming onto her list.

Rather than have a 30% unsubscribe rate, why don’t we create something that’s going to be of value to the world so that you don’t get into the mindset of believing heaps of people not wanting to receive emails from you?

Instead, let’s get you to the point where you know that not only do the majority of people who receive this want it… but 99% of people who receive it actually want it!

Numbers can also tell you to what extent it is a disconnect, or where the consent may not be as informed and enthusiastic as you would like.

7. Do what feels right to you… but pay attention to why

For a lot of people, the reason why they don’t want to email their mailing list every week is because they don’t want to be like those marketers that send seventeen emails in three days.

But chances are you’re not sending seventeen emails in three days… you’re sending one email a week.

If it feels right for you to send fewer emails to your mailing list, or you want to have more hoops for people to jump through to get to a mailing list, then that’s totally valid. There are even people who teach the strategy of no opt-ins and no incentives to be on the list, people only get to be on your mailing list by literally signing up for your list.

But I would pay attention to why you are driven to only allow people to join your list that way, and why you are driven to reduce the number of emails that you’re sending out to your mailing list.

Pay attention to whether it’s a matter of:

1. You don’t believe people want to hear from you
2. You’re trying to avoid being like other marketers
3. You’re worried that you’re going to be annoying them

If that’s the driver for changing your strategy, then let’s address that first before you go off and hide and become less visible and reduce the growth of your mailing list.

I’m not attached to how you do it. I’m totally open to you choosing a strategy that works for you. I have no problem with supporting people to find ways to grow their mailing lists without opt-ins. I’ve done that. But we just want to be clear on the drivers, and ensure that it’s not coming from a space of fear or not wanting to be visible.

The way you market is different to the way that those people market.

The types of emails you send are different to the types of emails that those people send.

You don’t need to be the exact opposite of them. You just need to be a consent-based, considerate version of them who applies the reasonable person test.

And the reasonable person is not that one person who replied and said, “Your emails are annoying, I don’t want them”.

If I changed my strategy and my behaviours based on those emails, I would never send emails to my mailing list.

I’ve had people reply to my newsletter saying that I’m the most self-centred person they’ve ever come into contact with and they want to be removed from my list. (They could have just clicked the unsubscribe but that’s fine I guess.)

If I then changed all of the things that I did because one person called me self-centred, then I feel like I’m putting my attention and energy on the wrong person.

That’s not how most of my audience perceive me.

If I was afraid of being perceived as self-centred, I might stop sharing behind-the-scenes insights into my business that I know my audience really value.

If I was doing everything through the lens of not wanting to come across as self-centred because I want to win over that one person’s approval, then I might not talk about the things I’m excited about in my business or the things that I’ve got coming up or I might not share a little story about Munchkin.

Pay attention to whose opinion you’re listening to.

Are you changing your behaviours to please the 1% of people who you will never win over anyway? Or are you focusing the way that you set up your list and the way that you speak to your audience on the majority of people who love you and want to hear from you? The people that signed up because they’re interested in working with you, or at least getting the outcome that you deliver in your services, and they’re happy for you to be emailing them?

Now that we’ve done all of that, I would love to share with you a free resource that will help you to grow your mailing list and grow your audience really beautifully.

It’s called Grow Your Audience.

When you opt-in to that Grow Your Audience training, it will also add you to my mailing list. But as you’ve probably taken from today’s podcast episode (if you’re not already on there), it’s a really valuable mailing list to be part of.

The emails that you receive from me are very considered, you’re not going to be spammed over and over again, and you can unsubscribe at any time.

If you want to go grab the free training, you can do so here:

As always, if you’ve got any follow-up questions, feel free to slide into my DMs on Instagram or Facebook. I love hearing from you and answering your questions!

Thank you so much for joining me for this episode of the Heart-Centred Business Podcast!

Until next time, I cannot WAIT to see you SHINE.

Tash Corbin Business Mentor and Strategist