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C&T Q&A – What makes YOU subscribe – and stay subscribed – to a mailing list?

Normally, it’s you asking and me answering.

But this week, I thought I’d turn the tables!

You may have noticed that we’ve been talking mailing lists this week on C&T, so I wanted to continue the discussion and ask you:

What makes you subscribe – and STAY subscribed – to a business mailing list?

Food for thought:

  • What sort of incentives encourage you to subscribe?

  • How many emails are too many… and how many are not enough?

  • What sort of content do you enjoy reading in email newsletters?

  • What sort of content turns you right off, and makes you hit the ‘unsubscribe’ button?

  • Think about which newsletters you ALWAYS open – and those you almost NEVER do – what is the difference between them?

By thinking about why YOU sign up and stay subscribed, it will help you work out the sort of content you should be sharing in your own email marketing. Would you read your own newsletters??

Share your thoughts in the comments below!

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Van Den has written 319 posts in this blog.

Jess Van Den is the editor of Create & Thrive, and has been a full-time creative entrepreneur since 2010. She makes eco-conscious, contemporary, handmade sterling silver jewellery under the Epheriell label, and blogs about her jewellery and other beautiful things at You can catch her on twitter @JessVanDen.


julie @ tractorgirl

What makes me stay subscribed is useful information. I love the Snippets from Colette Patterns – always lots of great sewing tips there! And Think Traffic usually include a full post in their email, great blogging/biz tips.
I also stay subscribed because of inspirational words, stories of how people have dealt with difficulties.
I like to hear about new products (but only if they’re special – I don’t want to hear about everything!)
And sometimes, to be truthful, I stay subscribed just out of loyalty, because folk have been nice to me. But you can probably tell which ones these are, I rarely open them.

What makes me open? 1. Useful information, 2. great stories, 3. new products. Pretty much why I stay subscribed, really.

Why do I subscribe? A useful e-book or two, AND the promise of useful newsletters. If the blog content is good, I don’t need any extra incentive, I will subscribe for the promise of useful newsletters. I probably wouldn’t subscribe on the promise of new product information alone.

And one newsletter every week or two is good (3/month?) I don’t wish to be bombarded!

(I think I’ve just helped myself by writing this down! Thanks for asking the questions 🙂 x )

Shell @ Sew n Sow

I love that getting us to think about this helps us with our own news offerings. I usually subscribe for an ebook I like the sound of, or a product discount if I’m planning on purchasing. I stay subscribed with useful content, NOT just a rehash of the person’s blog, and gorgeous inspirational sewing idea pics, which can be new products! Hmmmn definitely what I need to improve in my own! I unsubscribe after a few months if I feel like I’m not getting anything helpful/inspirational or hearing about products I need/want …my in-box is too overcluttered & is precious space these days when everyone has a newsletter & I don’t have enough time!!! Thanks for an always-helpful blog & newsletter!


Only a few subscriptions that I’ve kept and continue to open:
– Thrillist NY: It’s local and the news is relevant.
– C&T: I’m a fairly new subscriber, but thus far the content has been both relevant and useful.
– All of the Etsy lists, but this is to monitor what they’re pushing to subscribers. I actually find a lot of the content redundant..

I too have some others that I remain subscribed to but read very sporadically, mainly to keep abreast of an org or to show support. It’s difficult to find the time to read newsletters, so I’m fairly picky (about to check out Think Traffic though, thanks Julie!).

Reasons I unsubscribe:
– Hollow, repeat content. My time is too valuable to read something somebody just shat out of their keyboard in a quick effort to fill the newsletter (pardon my candor).
– Obnoxious sales content. Of course a newsletter is for marketing purposes, but don’t try to upsell me at every turn with gimmicky psychology and overused exclamation points.
– Too many emails. The maximum is one a week, if the content is relevant. 1-3x a month is otherwise ideal.

Once I get a handle on my social media I’ll face publishing a newsletter – thanks for your efforts here! I definitely enjoy your blog.

Yarned Together

I subscribe when I find something useful and want to learn more. For instance, this newsletter has given me innumerable valuable tips to run my business, and I’m eager to open the new newsletter as soon as it arrives!

Newsletters that arrive daily would quickly get annoying (depending on my mood on the given day). I think once a week is a good “fit” for me. I would say they need to be more often than once every 3 months, but at the least one or two a month. I like weekly myself, as it helps me to keep focused with things I want to improve on.

I enjoy reading new ideas, tips, product reviews. I’m especially open to business tips & ways to improve my life/business.

Too frequent sales newsletters turn me off. Yes, I want to see what’s new and exciting, but not more than once a month or so.

What say you?