I don’t like newsletters

I’ve been told newsletters are important. But I have ignored this for a long time. I generally don’t sign up for newsletters. Why? It’s pretty simple. I’m not interested in the company. I’m interested in the product. My purchasing is based on the product’s quality, not the company’s social or political positions.

Starbucks discontinued their Christmas cups and got the Christians in an uproar. Another company’s CEO got the animal rights people upset. In both cases, hordes of people cried out for a boycott of the companies in question.

I don’t get that. I don’t visit Starbucks much because of their mediocre coffee. That’s it. Why would their take on holidays be of any importance to me? If an exec says something that can be misconstrued as racist, sexist or something else, that has no impact on what product I want.

Which product suits my needs and budget? That’s the right product. What company made it? I don’t care. No, I don’t want to be on your email list. No, I don’t want to start a relationship. Just sell me the product and go away. I tend to be that way with books and authors, too. How good is the story?

That’s not to say that extreme cases won’t put me off a company. An overtly racist company, for example, would lose my business. But most of the stuff I hear people boycotting companies for is a non-issue for me.

I’m also likely to buy from a good company again. Or read a book by an author whose stories I’ve enjoyed before. They have created an anticipation of quality.

But engagement is not what I’m looking for. I just want the product. A company that doesn’t engage with me is my favorite company.

Reality: newsletters are important

Apparently, I’m in the minority on this topic. It seems a lot of people care about the company (or in my case, the author). They want to know more, engage, converse and receive updates on what’s happening. Bottom line: newsletters are important.

So maybe I should come out of my grumpy-old-man cave and see what the rest of the world is up to.

After talking to some experienced marketing people, I’ve come to understand that an email list/newsletter is still the best (digital) way to sell products. (Never mind the fact its one of the oldest, least secure web technologies out there.)

Better than MailChimp

Armed with that info, I logged into my poor, neglected MailChimp account and quickly discovered another reason I never used it. What an unwieldy, non-intuitive and convoluted website.

Having established that newsletters are important, I needed to find a replacement. So I started looking around. After a quick search I discovered a plethora of options. Way too many to investigate in one sitting. And one sitting was all the time I had. (I have books to write and a day job.)

So I had a conversation with my brother, who knows a lot about marketing. I also asked a few writer friends. Ultimately, I took their recommendation of ConvertKit and decided to give it a try.

Understand that this is not an endorsement. Not yet, at least. I just started using the site today. So far, setup has been less difficult than MailChimp. And the WordPress plugin was easy to install and use (See what I’ve written about WordPress before). Importing my list and writing a newsletter also appear to be less involved tasks.

I guess I’ll find out. I have a newsletter to write. If you want to read it, you’ll have to sign up in the cute little box in the top right of this page. ;-)