Too Many Unsubscribes? Avoid the ‘Cicada Trap’ in Your Email Marketing

Every 17th summer here in western Pennsylvania, legions of fat grubs tunnel their way up out of the ground, and climb the nearest tree to shed their husks and take flight.

Then the “singing” starts.

No matter where you go, you hear this steady droning as millions of cicadas pimp their wares in search of a mate.

And you can’t drive down the highway without dozens of bugs the size of your thumb splattering on your windshield.

Pretty annoying.

Unfortunately, if you’re not careful, you can wind up looking like a 17-year cicada to your email subscribers.

The way this often starts is you say to yourself:

“Oh, I don’t want to bother my subscribers. I’ll only email them when I have something really important to say.”

Then weeks and months roll by, and nothing ever seems to rise to the level of “really important.”

Startups are the worst about this. Lately I’ve gotten a rash of emails from young software companies.

These emails usually go something like this:

“Stungun is Launching! We know you’ve waited patiently for Stungun to open its doors. And now we’re finally out of private beta, and you can finally start to use Stungun in YOUR business.”

These emails NEVER mention what the company actually does.

They assume that I have followed their every shuck and jive and pivot over the last 3 years with bated breath. My entire life was on pause while I waited for my Stungun login credentials.

Instant unsubscribe.

Here’s a better plan:

Don’t worry about bugging your subscribers by emailing them. You’ll bother a few—and they’ll unsubscribe.

And don’t put pressure on yourself to hit a home run with every email.

Just make sure that every message you send has some little tidbit of entertainment and value.

And instead of being an annoying pest that crawls out of a hole every 17 years, you’ll be a welcome and familiar part of their weekly routine.