When it comes to email newsletters, asking for permission is a heckuva lot more professional than asking for forgiveness!
(4 minute read)
A couple of things that really bug me popped up in my email inbox lately. They are related, but separate.
And I realized, if they annoy me, they will probably annoy your fans, too.
The first one is:
Don’t cc everyone on your email list! Use bcc instead, please!
Lately, I’ve been added to some unusual email lists, ones I didn’t sign up for. (More on that below.) They were mostly friends who wanted to ‘get the word out’ about something specific.
They included everyone’s email address in the “cc” section.
This may seem like a harmless issue, or perhaps even too picky.
But this IS an issue for several reasons:
- Some of those people might be very protective of their privacy and contact info. And you just shared it with dozens, maybe hundreds of people they don’t even know.
- Someone may be protective of their privacy because of abuse, physical harm they’ve suffered, scammers, etc.
- There may be someone in that group they want to avoid, for many reasons, large and small.
- And some people may be tempted to do the second thing I hate:
Please don’t sign me up for your email newsletters unless I specifically ASK to be signed up.
When people ask a question about my articles, I usually ask them to send an example. And since I’ve been writing about email newsletters, that’s what I get.
Except, many people signed me up for their newsletters, permanently.
And other people included in that “cc list” may do that, too.
I know for sure this is what happened to me. I signed up for a workshop a couple years ago, with a local artist hosting a meet-up for a nationally-based art consultant. The consultant and the host sent updates. I ended up not being able to attend.
But the host added me to their email newsletter. And that really, really annoyed me! I signed up for something they were hosting, not for their work.
Now, emails don’t take up much space on our desktops, nor even our laptops. They are usually very small in size. So deleting them doesn’t really save any space.
And I’m not one of those people who deletes everything (except accidentally!), and I usually keep stuff I think I might want to refer back to someday.
- It’s still a lot of stuff in my inbox, and can be distracting if I don’t have time to read them.
- Though I support everyone’s creative work, that doesn’t mean I want to hear from them every week.
- And there are people I simply don’t like, who I’d rather not hear from.
- I hesitate to unsubscribe, for the reasons I listed above. Though I know I shouldn’t get upset when some people unsubscribe from MY newsletters, it makes me hesitate to unsubscribe, even from the folks I don’t like.
So don’t put your email subscribers in this position.
I know sometimes we have to go out on a limb in order to build our email list, especially at the beginning. Every article about email newsletters suggests great ways to get people on board, telling us reaching out to friends, family, customers, studio visitors, etc.
I know it’s easy to unsubscribe, too.
I know it’s easy to ask for forgiveness rather than to ask for permission.
But there are consequences.
FASO’s email newsletter service is very ethical. Even when you add someone who’s TOLD me they want to sign up, it will still ask that person if I have that permission. Unsubscribing is clear and easy, and sometimes people will even share why they’ve made that decision.
Most of the ‘professional level’ email programs follow the same guidelines.
But when it comes to forgiveness vs. permission, go with the latter. Please.
Protect your followers’ privacy, and respect their boundaries.
Use “bcc”, and only sign up those who ASK.
As always, your shares and comments are welcome!
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