How to Wake Up Your Snoozing Email List

Got a question from a subscriber named Jim.

(OK, OK, you got me. Jim is my dad. Yes, my dad AND my mom are both on my list. Hi Mom and Dad!)


After a couple of decades running his business, my dad has a list of maybe 1,000 or more past and current clients, many of whom haven’t heard from him in several years or longer.

He’s whipping this list into shape so he can start to use email in his marketing, and he asks:

Would you recommend some sort of an initial introduction letter, customized to all 12 groups that I’ll be sending the email to, warning” them about what’s coming and prepping them for how they can respond?

The best place to start with this is what NOT to do.

Many business owners go about this all wrong—although the reasons why they do are perfectly understandable.

See, in this situation you’re likely to be battling a couple of internal conflicts.

One one hand, you feel a little guilty because you’ve recently learned “the money’s in the list.” You know how valuable your customer list is, and you regret not “keeping up” and staying in touch with your list.

(I hear from a lot of entrepreneurs who know they SHOULD be emailing their list—but they aren’t. The combination of guilt and frustration can be paralyzing.)

On the other hand, blasting out emails to relative strangers is… intimidating.

You feel like you’re going to be an unwelcome intrusion in their day.

And they’re going to hate you for it.

So when you sit down to write an email, this is what comes out:

“Hey Mr. Customer… I hate to bother you, but I recently realized that I haven’t done a very good job of keeping in touch with my past clients. I feel bad about it, so I’ve decided to start up a newsletter. Just so you know, I’m going to start sending you emails once in a while—I promise it won’t be more than a couple of times per month…”

Then what happens is, the biz owner sends 1-2 “monthly” email blasts, and falls off the wagon again.

Yuck, yuck, yuck.

The irony here is, by taking this groveling, apologetic stance, you’re setting your subscriber up to view your emails as an unwelcome intrusion—and the prophecy fulfills itself.

The right way to go here is to make your emails a BENEFIT of doing business with you.

That means serving up plenty of good information with a heaping side of entertainment.

And it means striking the right posture in this first email.

What I’d do here is:

– Start with a quick, friendly greeting that reminds them how they know you.

– Acknowledge that you haven’t been in touch for a while, but since you’ve been answering a lot of questions from clients lately you decided the info was too important not to share with everyone.

– Set expectations about how often you’ll email—I recommend once a week at a minimum.

– Give them the opportunity to opt out—call their attention to the unsubscribe link, or even embed one in the body of your email. THEN (very important)…

– Sell them on the benefit of sticking around by “teasing” some great info you’ll share in the next week or two.

This way, you’re not a guilt-wracked beggar approaching with hat in hand…

You’re an in-demand expert ready to dish out wisdom they NEED.

Your list will respect you more.

You’ll respect YOURSELF more.

And you’ll be starting off your new relationship with your list on the right foot.