It’s not you. It’s your RSS Feed.
You see, my inbox is a special place. Or…it used to be. Full of meaningful conversations, unicorns, rainbows, and kittens. Now only five emails a day are actually from a person I know. The rest are a cocktail of big company promos, sales pitches, and…email newsletters.
Here’s the thing: I actually LIKE email newsletters. I’m kind of a weird hoard-y nerd about them, actually. I love signing up. I like the whole song and dance of looking at how forms are set up, seeing what kind of freebie comes to my inbox, and then getting the first email.
(Do I sound crazy yet?)
It takes a lot for me to unsubscribe. I even stay through sales pitches! But when you sent me that email this morning—you know the one—my finger was twitching over that little unsubscribe link.
Because the one email that gets me off the list is a truncated RSS.
I like YOU. I like your blog or I wouldn’t have signed up. I like your writing, your content, your photos. I gave you something more than a Facebook like or a Twitter follow: I gave you my email and permission to use it.
So when I got your email, I was excited! I anticipated something awesome. Instead I got a tease. Actually, worse than a tease, because I love a good teaser email. The kind that sounds like it’s from my friend. My friend gets me excited about the post and then gives me a personal invitation. Come on over! You don’t want to miss this! he says. (Ramsay from Blog Tyrant is pretty beast about this.)
A truncated RSS is NOT an email from someone who wants a relationship with me. It’s not from someone who wants readers.
Your truncated RSS emails tell me that you want one thing from me: clicks to your site.
And I get it: pageviews are super important. Especially if your biggest revenue stream is from your ads. I’m sure you didn’t think about the fact that giving me an automated email with no actual content of value devalues ME, your reader. You just want me to read somewhere else.
Let me ask you this: what’s your click-through rate? Are you actually GETTING page views from these shortened RSS emails?
I can tell you what you’re NOT getting when you send a shortened RSS. You are not getting me as a reader. If you had sent me almost any kind of email, I would have read it. Remember: you’re a great writer with great content! You impressed me enough to sign up. I would probably have loved your email, even a full RSS. After all, I signed up to read what you had to say.
Maybe I wouldn’t have clicked through to your site if you sent me the whole post. Maybe you would have lost that one page view. If your list is large, this may have been a lot of pageviews lost. I get it. I do.
But I think there is something more important than pageviews, likes, and follows. It’s harder to measure in ROI sometimes because it’s not measured in the same way.
When I give you my email and you send me awesome content, you build trust. You cement our relationship with each email. You remind me why I liked you in the first place. You continue to woo me and tell me I’m pretty, even after the honeymoon period and all the special things you did to get me on the list.
And when you send an email with your new book or course or project or tell me something you’re really excited about, I’m THERE. Because I’m a fan. I’m more than a fan. I’m a LOYAL fan. I may not buy every single product (contrary to popular belief, I’m not made of money), but I can tell you that the every single last product, course, or ebook I bought was through an email list.
Something else to consider: When Facebook changes its algorithm (again) and Pinterest updates the smart feed (again) and your traffic takes a big hit, you know what stays steady? Your subscribers.
Those other platforms are fickle, yet we court and woo them and we chase pageviews. A truncated RSS tells me that email is not your number one priority. It lets me know where I stand in terms of importance to you.
I really don’t want to break up with your email. (Because I like YOU.) But if you are going to add to the noise of my inbox without actually delivering great content, it’s time to see other people.
A person, not a pageview
PS- I know for some of you, the truncated RSS is because you use a lot of Amazon affiliate links, which are a big no-no in email. That’s a nice, intentional reason to truncate your links.
PPS- I’m still unsubscribing.
I totally agree with you. I think I have unsubscribed to many rss emails. I went and switched mine awhile back to a weekly newsletter because I wanted it to be more personal to my readers not just a bunch of my latest posts.
I think seeing how WE react to emails can help us know what WE should be sending. Of course, everyone is different. But yeah. I sometimes stay subscribed because people are my friends, but I don’t read them. Usually I don’t open them.
Melinda Todd says
Amen! Even the big names that I totally respect who do this, annoy me. I subscribe to very few emails lists any more. I hardly even check email anymore too. I just get tired of being pitched to.
I can always tell when certain people are gearing up for a launch. 🙂 I do like reading those emails sometimes (to take note of copywriting and what works or doesn’t work for me), but I appreciate more the people who write for writing’s sake or just to give good content.
Janine Helligar says
I am so conflicted.
I hate being pitched to too and I hate that I have to pitch — it is pervasive! And I have unsubscribed when it happened too often, when it happened too soon, and when it was too scammy.
I wish, I wish, I wish “Star Trek: The Original Series” was a reality! An age where money has no currency; where lack of healthcare is a non-issue; where our basic needs are provided for somehow; and where we can just live to create, to study, and to contribute.
But that isn’t our reality. We have to provide for ourselves. We have to buy or rent shelter. We have to buy food. We have to clothe ourselves. We have to pay for medical care. So what are we to do?!
Well, I will make my emails personal. I will NOT truncate my posts. I will be of service and be generous. I will NOT be greedy. And I hope this will be enough.
Joe Gullo says
Totally agree. I’m currently modifying my email list to make it more personal.
I think the web would be a better place if everyone was treated as a person and not a pageview!
Stephanie @CopyKat.com says
I struggle with giving away a whole RSS feed, because I often feel you are just inviting someone’s aggregator to grab your feed and share it. I used to send out hand typed emails all of the time, but I switched to the RSS feed tease, but I also coupled it with my links to my latest youtube videos, posts on other blogs, and other social media activity.
For me this did better, my open rate improved, and that audience got more involved. Different things work for different people/audiences.
Though I’m not an RSS fan, there is one piece of advice that trumps all for me: DO WHAT WORKS FOR YOU. Being intentional and making choices that work for you and your readers goes above and beyond. I think if you have tried things and landed on something that’s working well, don’t knock it! Sounds like you have found this in the way you have your set up! I don’t mind snippets if it’s not just the auto-truncated-RSS. If it’s more of an email showcasing different content like yours, that’s awesome! You’re using Feedblitz, right? And yes, scrapers stealing full RSS feeds is another issue. Honestly, I’d prefer no RSS at all and would prefer something like what you send with all kinds of content or a more personal email style with links. Thanks for sharing what is working for you!