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No, I Don’t Want to Sign Up for Your Mailing List (And Here’s Why)


I need more emails like I need a hole in the head. I recommend that every online content creator out there has a mailing list, but I actually sign up for very few of them personally. I think mailing lists are great, but some people could have more subscribers if they used their lists slightly differently. Here’s why I don’t sign up for your mailing list…and what you can do to change that:

1. You email me every post you write.

I think having your RSS feed available via email is a really great idea. Lots of people prefer reading posts that way. Personally, though, I use Twitter as my feed reader (find out how here) because emails get buried too quickly for me. When I sign up for a mailing list, I do so because I want emails from the blogger that I wouldn’t get otherwise – newsletters, announcements, discounts, etc. It’s okay to have an email RSS option (I recommend it), but make sure subscribers know what they’re getting when they sign up and, if possible, have two options – one for people who want special emails and one for people who want to receive your feed via email as well.

2. I can’t quickly find your sign-up box.

For many bloggers this isn’t a problem – their subscription form is located proudly on their sidebar, near the top of the page. However, occasionally, I find myself searching for a subscription box that doesn’t seem to exist – so I give up and go along my merry way. Later, I often find out the blogger does have a mailing list, but I had to go to a certain page or whatever to find out how to subscribe. The more time a person has to spend clicking around your site, the less likely it is they’ll actually sign up.

3. Your pop up punched me in the face.

I don’t mind pop up ads if they are done correctly. Three seconds after I get to your site is not correctly. At that point, I don’t know if I want to sign up or not. Give me a little time to read or watch your content first. Then, if you must, send me that pop up asking me to subscribe.

4. You offer me stuff I don’t want.

Offering free stuff is a great way to get people to sign up for your mailing list – but done incorrectly, it can also send people packing. For example, let’s say that I’m on your cat blog reading about my cat‘s weird behaviors, and I’m enjoying the content. You sign up form says, “Enter your email address to get a free ebook about litter box training.” Am I going to sign up? Nope. My cat is already litter box trained, thank god. The way you’ve promoted the sign up form just promotes the free gift, which people may or may not want, not your actual email like. Change the wording a bit to say, “Stay connected with emails from us and get a free litter box training ebook” or “Sign up to get a free litter box training ebook and more surprises straight to your inbox” and I’m much more likely to enter my email address. That way, you’re still hooking people who want the freebie, but you’re also making it clear that there are other benefits as well.

5. Your content just isn’t that compelling.

Of course, the number one reason I won’t sign up for your mailing list is that your blog’s content isn’t that great in the first place. Remember, every post you write could be the first post someone reads on your blog. Don’t be afraid to go back and delete content that isn’t up to par. We all have bad days, and not everything you do is going to be amazing, but if you write a real stinker, consider getting rid of it so people who come to your blog for the first time get the best impression possible. And of course, always work to improve your content. Don’t get complacent and think that what you’re putting out is good enough. We can all learn to be better!

Your turn – why don’t you sign up for mailing lists? Or why do you sign up on other sites?


  • barraford

    @allison_boyer couldn’t agree more. Very good post.

  • debng

    I don’t sign up for mailing lists because I receive too much email as it is, and I rarely read newsletters. I sign up with the best of intentions but I either don’t have time, or the newsletter turns out to either always be sales pitches or the same content as on the blog.

    • allison_boyer

      @debng I’m kind of the same way. I like to keep things organized in my email, but I don’t like to add even more emails to what I’m already getting. That’s why the last point is probably the most important of all. If I’m not absolutely in love with the blog or blogger, I’m not going to sign up. And sales pitches will definitely turn me off!

  • Ileane

    Great points Allison! I’ve never understood how those annoying pop-ups can be so effective, but most people swear by them. The other reason I don’t sign up is because there is an offer for a free ebook – like I don’t have enough of those already! LOL!

    • allison_boyer

      @Ileane That’s how I feel about free ebooks at this point. I already have a billion I haven’t read yet. :-p I think it’s good to keep as an option, but if that’s your only selling point, you could be missing out on people who don’t really want the ebook.

  • Justin Mazza

    Hi Allison,

    I have unsubscribed from every list that emails when a new post is created. It drives me nuts too and that is what RSS is for anyway right?

  • eric scheuren

    I dont want to be notify of any of your dating services. Please im tired of this crap and im filling a compliant

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