A Solution for the Mailing List Conundrum

Have you been baffled by what to do with the two lists that many artists have: one list for newsletters and a second one for blog posts?

My predicament (and solution) might be of interest.

Please read on even if you don’t have this issue because I’m sharing big news that affects your Art Biz Coach and Art Biz Blog subscriptions.

For years I have been struggling with confused artists who don’t understand the difference between subscribing to the Art Biz Blog and subscribing to my Art Biz Insider newsletter. I get it!

The sign-up form for this newsletter on the Art Biz Coach home page.

The sign-up form for this newsletter on the Art Biz Coach home page.

I was confused myself. What do I post on the blog? What do I save for the newsletter?

Many of you probably struggle with the same thing. You have one list for your newsletter, while also offering subscriptions to your blog. Two lists – it’s a conundrum.

The First Step

I took what I thought was the first step toward ending the confusion several years ago when I began publishing the Art Biz Insider newsletter here on the Art Biz Blog.

In a sense, this only made matters worse because people who subscribed to both the newsletter and the blog received two emails with the same article within hours of one another. Oy! I can’t tell you the number of people who contacted me and said two copies were one copy too many. Even though the content was different in each update, I empathize with their response.

Given that my word for 2014 is clarity, it’s time to make a change. Time to end the confusion. I want to be clear with myself and clear with you about expectations.

I could have cut back on the blog and posted only once a week, like a lot of big-named coaches do. But I have more to share than that. So I’m taking another path.

Your Art Biz Blog Subscription

I am combining the two lists.

Beginning next week, I – not a guest blogger – will publish twice a week to the Art Biz Blog: on Mondays and Thursdays.

The current sign-up form in the sidebar on the Art Biz Blog. In the future, it will be a form for the Art Biz Insider list.

The old sign-up form that was here in the sidebar on the Art Biz Blog. The new form is for the Art Biz Insider list.

You will receive updates in your inbox on Mondays and Thursdays in the form of the Art Biz Insider. For now, the Thursday email will look much like my current Art Biz Insider and the Monday version will be shorter. We’re experimenting, so it will surely evolve. As always, you can unsubscribe when my articles no longer serve you by clicking on the link at the bottom of any email.

This new format means that I will have more contact with you, which I believe is a good thing for all. In the past, newsletter-only subscribers had been missing out on some excellent information because they didn’t subscribe to the blog. Likewise, I have not benefited from the potential sage comments of these subscribers.

By taking this step to combine lists, I’m creating a little more work for my team and me. The blog updates were automated. My Monday and Thursday emails will be created from scratch, which I hope makes them a little more personal.

My primary goal in combining my newsletter and blog posts is to eliminate some of the confusion about subscriptions. My secondary goal is to become more dependable. I want you to know that you can count on me for twice-weekly articles that help you build your art business.

It’s a big commitment, but I feel it’s important for a business coach to be consistent and reliable.

Thank you for your continued trust,

Alyson Stanfield

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37 comments to A Solution for the Mailing List Conundrum

  • I think this is a great idea and am excited to see how this works for you!

  • I didn’t know you were also a mind-reader, Alyson! You certainly read mine. Yes, I do have this conundrum and no, I haven’t been able to come up with a solution. Will be scouring your new formats for clues!
    Looking forward to the bi-weekly enthusiasm injection :)

  • Good ideas, Alyson…as always! And so glad to know that you also are always evolving (I’m searching for scholarships to go back to school this fall to get a certificate in web design, followed by finishing my bachelors the next year!)!! As one who much prefers consistency, turning change into a positive is a challenge! So thank you for being a positive example of how we can and giving us the tools to change and grow!

  • This is AWESOME news. I have subscribed to the Wednesday list for a few years now, and I had no idea that I could have also subscribed to the blog for even more news/info!
    *Face-palm* Doh!
    Thank you Alyson – you have helped me over the years to open my eyes to more possibilities and practical art practices than anyone – thank you!

  • FANTASTIC Idea – looking forward to your postings.
    Rabin Photography.

  • I always wondered… :) But I noticed they were a bit different and read both usually.

    I’m going through similar changes myself. About 4 months ago I migrated 2 blogs and my website into a wordpress site, and used an RSS driven newsletter from my new wordpress blog to Mailchimp instead of writing a separate newsletter. Huge step. Continuing to tweak delivery as the new Canadian anti-spam law (CASL) is coming into effect shortly. Canadian businesses are now required to have express permission, and implied permission only has a life span of two years if a purchase has not been made within that time span. So I will need to contact my subscribers and have them update their subscriptions. I know that not all of them are interested in every aspect of what I do so I have decided to take this opportunity to experiment by dividing up my newsletter into 4 topic areas that can be subscribed to separately: Workshops, exhibiting info, new work, and announcements (achievements/contests etc.).

    I think (hoping) this might make it easier for me, as my “monthly” newsletters won’t be so information heavy. And if I understand Mailchimp correctly it looks like I can still have this all delivered by rss feed through blog posts tagged with the designated categories.

    Cheers to evolving :)

  • Thanks Alyson! As usual we learn from everything you do! I look forward to this “consolidation” of your wisdom and increased sharing. As we in the email marketing world always say: just hit send! LOL!

    I get a lot of daily emails from businesses and organizations that I would never unsubscribe to because every once in a while, there is content of GREAT value to me. I can’t imagine anyone thinking a twice a week “touch” is “too much” sharing. Your words are more Golden than mine by a factor of ten!

    That said, I hope you will have an occasional guest blogger. You have given us some exposure to other experts with keys to locks on doors we didn’t even know existed. Your network is a vital resource and part of what makes you so unique: the overwhelming desire to share ALL you can to help us grow our businesses.

    Plus – you have a lot to do and I for one certainly respect that 2 original content creations each week is a BIG task! Thanks for you bravery!

  • This curious cat is anxiously awaiting to hear your words of wisdom. :) These lists do feel like a juggling act.

  • Thank you, Alyson.I really value your “words of wisdom” that come my way, and really appreciate the extra input. It doesen’t go unnoticed, forever grateful!

  • Pat

    Tried several times to put my email into the spot requesting email address for your new approach and it keeps rejecting it asking to enter a valid email. I checked for typos, no problem there..Any suggestions?

  • I’m still a bit confused about what you’re doing with your lists. Are you combining all newsletter subscribers with all blog subscribers so there is just one sign up instead of two?

    Thanks so much!
    Kathy Crabbe
    Art & Soul Readings
    http://KathyCrabbe.com

    • Exactly, Kathy! I don’t know if I can actually combine them myself. Might be that the blog subscribers only have to subscribe to the newsletter list, but we’re going to see what happens with that. Thanks for asking.

  • Great minds think alike!

    I too combined my blog and newsletter about a month ago (http://suzannegibbs.com/building-community/newsletter-separate-blog/) and guess what, sales and engagement have gone UP!

    Yea for you! And I am excited to get news from you twice a week.

  • Hey Alyson,

    Good idea. I think in your case combining subscriptions is a good idea, since the target audience is the same group. In the case that someone is targeting two different markets is when I think it’s good to segment the list.

    Also a quick heads up about your newsletter opt-in. It’s not recognizing my email as a valid email (I think Pat is having the same problem above).

    Here is the error: http://cl.ly/image/152Q2h3f143G

    -Grayson

  • Interesting idea. Although I read your blog via an rss reader so now I’m going to get all of your content twice. :)

    I guess google declared RSS dead when they end-of-lifed google reader so this solution will work for most people but I personally prefer to pull content when I want it vs it being pushed to me.

    Currently your newsletter content contains more than the blog post on wednesdays – will this still be the case or will they be exactly the same?

    • Lisa: The RSS will still be available.

      Yes, as I said above, the Thursday email is expected to be similar to the current Wednesday one, but the Monday email will be much briefer. For now. We’ll see what happens!

      • So I got the newsletter today and it had nothing more than what I get via rss – so essential a duplication of info.

        I would love an option to only receive email from you if it had something in it other than what is available via RSS. Can you segment the list that way so those that prefer RSS don’t get unnecessary emails?

  • Thank you for sharing this Alyson. I’m finding it quite fascinating as it is something I’ve been giving thought to lately also (I see I’m not the only one!). I’m wanting to do away with my newsletter and perhaps, like you, publish that through my blog where I capture my email list there through Feedburner.

    May I ask how you will be capturing your email list with this change you are doing? My only other concern is I publish 5-6 times a week on my blog and some may not want to receive that in their inbox everyday if I eliminate the newsletter which I publish twice a month.

    Interesting timing on this as I’m awaiting a mentor of mine who helps writers and creative’s who is working on a workshop about newsletters (Dan Blank over at http://www.wegrowmedia.com). I’m ready for a change, but want to do the “right” and best thing for all concerned.

    • Barbara: Thank you for your thoughts and question.

      First, a little semantics. I don’t “capture” emails. This implies that I do it without people’s knowledge. I “collect” them because people sign up willingly. I know this is what you meant, but it’s an important distinction.

      I use Infusionsoft to store my list and to email broadcasts from. Broadcasts are hand-crafted each time whereas RSS emails are on autopilot. Pretty sure you can’t broadcast from Feedburner, but maybe I’m wrong. I think you might be better off switching to something like MailChimp.

      Maybe you can send 2 broadcasts a week with links to the posts.

  • Thank you, Alyson. Yes, I certainly didn’t mean “capture” as using emails that you’ve not gotten permission to send to.

    Thank you for your thoughts and what you use to store your list. My newsletter currently goes out through mailchimp.So I’ll have to see about combining this.

    I’ll be curious to see how this all plays out for you and your switch.

  • Alyson, I always read your articles and find helpful information; but I am not sure whether I am on both of your lists. I am eager to see how this works for you. I have a blog through FASO and seem to get traffic only when I post new paintings which appear on the Fine Art Views Daily newsletter. It is possible for people to follow by RSS; however, I do not receive any analytics about this.

  • I need to do the same. Rather, I need to actually do more for my newsletter, since right now the blog and the newsletter are the same list, but I don’t send out newsletter-specific stuff often enough. Interesting that you are rolling them together.

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