Identifying Your Target Audience: The Story Of Penny

Trying to grow your email list? Then it makes sense you’ll be happy when new people subscribe to your list. But here’s a tale from Corrina Gordon-Barnes of You Inspire Me of why you should also be happy when people unsubscribe…

When I started my email list back in 2006, Penny was one of my very first subscribers. She loved my approach and enjoyed every topic I wrote about – from procrastination, to climate change, to making more of your garden. (Eclectic, I know!)

With every blog post, I was trying to please Penny. I was trying to keep her thinking well of me and I was certainly trying to keep her subscribed. I didn’t want to share anything in my blog and newsletter that wasn’t relevant to her so I wrote about topics that were generally appealing.

Do you write with one subscriber in mind? Are you treading gently and cautiously so as not to lose anyone?

The problem was, my business started to grow up. I began to get focused. I got excited about heart-centred business and authentic marketing and teaching people how to sell, get clients and get paid – and my blogs changed to reflect this. I made it clear that I sold stuff. I made it obvious I was running a business and that there were products and services on offer.

One day, Penny and I were having lunch and she mentioned, “You know, I’m not really finding your blogs all that interesting these days. They’re all about business and I don’t want to run a business.”

I smiled. She’d said it so beautifully. Penny was no longer a subscriber I needed to keep. She wasn’t in my niche; she wasn’t who my business should be focusing on.

She was never going to spend money with me. It was actually a relief to stop making her interest the benchmark of my blog success.

Fans vs Customers

Are you trying to appeal to everyone in your blog posts? How well is that leading to paying clients?

Here’s some blogging philosophy for you:

It’s better to have 100 loyal subscribers than 1,000 who delete your message each time they see your name. You can run a profitable business with a relatively small list. Quality trumps quantity when it comes to list size.

So, I challenge you to celebrate each unsubscriber. If someone doesn’t gain value from your newsletter, they probably would never have bought from you, and so that unsubscribe notification is a sign that you’re releasing dead weight.

When you get notified that someone has left your list, wish them well. Be proud that you were visible and shared a point of view and that you didn?t hide the fact that you were running a business. Don’t apologise for selling, don’t apologise for being you.

Help Them Leave

Once you’ve decided to look forward to unsubscriptions, clear up the practical side by using list management software to manage your email list. Using AWeber makes it easy for people to opt out without having to awkwardly email you and ask you to please stop emailing them.

It’s also far more professional. You’re engaged in permission marketing. When you make it easy for people to unsubscribe, you can assume that your list consists only of those who actively want to hear from you – and will likely want to pay you one day soon.

Over To You

Have you been holding back your authentic voice, for fear of people unsubscribing?

Are you staying vanilla when really you’re chocolate chip or cherry? Are you pretending you’re not selling something? Leave a comment; let me know.

Corrina Gordon-BarnesCorrina Gordon-Barnes is the author of Turn Your Passion To Profit, a step-by-step guide to getting your business off the ground, teaching clear, honest, heart-felt marketing to people who want to be successfully self-employed. Find out more here.