Please Unsubscribe From My List

I Blog for Dough Not for ShowI’d much prefer to be posting a great story, shining the light on a fellow entrepreneur, or sharing tips, tools, and resources with you today.

However …

It’s time for me to clear up a BIG misunderstanding regarding my blog.

But first I need to ask you a few questions.

1.)    Are you aware I’m a business blogger?

2.)   Have you figured out I’m an affiliate marketer?

3.)   Are your expectations to never see a link to a paid promotion in my posts?

4.)   Is it totally okay with you when I share FREE tips and tools … but NOT okay when I include a link to a paid offer?

I’m rarely at a loss for words, but I’m struggling to find a way to express my thoughts tactfully.

So let me just lay it on the line …

I’m blogging for dough – not for show. 

And so are thousands of other business bloggers like Ameena Falchetto. (Take a minute to click Ameena’s name and read her post.  She’s much better than me at addressing this topic.)

In case you’re curious, the primary goals for my blog are to:

  • Educate
  • Enrich
  • Enlighten
  • Entertain

The reason I’m touching on this (sensitive) subject is because of an incident regarding my Aweber stats (Aweber is my contact management system).

I published a post recently to announce one of Denise Wakeman’s current programs about how to monetize your social media efforts.

Seems to me there’s a BOAT LOAD of people who are not yet making money or securing potential clients/customers via social media – even though they’re spending hours and hours every week on various social media channels.

So what was my intention for sharing that information?

To steer people in the BEST direction possible for the HELP they need to start making money by using social media to build their business.  Denise is a recognized, sought after online visibility expert with an impeccable track record.

And what happened over at Aweber when my blog broadcast went out to my list?

Hold on to your hats … and your seats, folks!

A huge complaint rate was noted in my stats.  67% of my subscribers reported that particular post as spam.  And exactly 12 people immediately unsubscribed.   No problem.  I believe in the freedom of choice.

So here’s the deal …

  • Please leave a comment and let me know your opinion on this topic.  Your opinion matters to me.
  • Then … if you’re offended by or opposed to reading posts with occasional links to information, courses, tools, programs, etc. that can help you make money in your business … PLEASE unsubscribe from my list.

There are 100’s of posts on this blog that contain zero links to anything – free or paid.  If it’s upsetting to you when I (Heaven forbid!) go for the sale, then I’m sorry.

No hard feelings.

Better that we say goodbye now versus having you deem me a spammer the next time I post a promotional offer.

Funny thing about business blogging success …

“Business” is involved.

Illustration credit:  Ameena Falchetto

  • I wandered over from Gwen’s blog (thanks Gwen) to this wonderful treasure of a blog. Thanks for tackling this touchy subject.

    I have just mustered enough business courage to actually put up an opt-in box, so this is very timely.

    It is a *business* and I for one am waiting for the ebook!


    • Hey Dee — it’s great to meet you!

      Gwen Tanner is one of the sweetest things on two feet. 🙂

      Good for you for putting up an opt in box and it warms my heart to know this post may, in some way, be valuable to you.

      Uh, oh. No time to dilly dally. I better get busy on that report and audio Gwen suggested. Looks like there may be some takers. 😉

      Many thanks for dropping in to join the conversation. Hope to see you here again and over at Gwen’s blog, too!

    • P.S. I love your Twitter bio, Dee!

      “Addicted to enthusiasm. Determined to stay naive” 🙂

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  • Melanie, I can see that you’ve received plenty of reassurances in the comments. And yet I still want to add my own!

    I have been aware from the start that you are in business, that you would be offering affiliate links, and that you had information that I wanted to hear about. It’s a good thing to continue to hone and refine your emails and your approach — so I wouldn’t say, “you’re fine, don’t change a thing”. However, I found you to be perfectly clear and understandable. 😉

    Don’t let this get you down, and keep working to make things better. And in the end, like many already said, the unhappy people will never go away. Think about the industry — in the old days of direct mail marketing, you “spam” thousands of folks and some little 3% (if you’re lucky) would respond and buy your product. But at least you didn’t have to hear the grumbles of the other 97% who threw your letter or postcard in the trash.

    Here on the Net, they can take that moment of irritation and tell you about it. Ick! But… just reality. Even if they *asked* for your emails originally, people often treat marketing emails as if they are some kind of imposition, once they’ve lost interest. It’s as if they don’t realize ALL THEY HAVE TO DO IS UNSUBSCRIBE. Duh!

    *grin* So keep up the good work. And don’t take those silly folks personally. And hopefully they won’t negatively impact your Aweber stats if you can give them enough encouragement to unsubscribe when they want to.

    • Teddi! What an absolute joy to see you here! 🙂

      This is definitely the “open wound” for anyone who’s building an email list …

      “Here on the Net, they can take that moment of irritation and tell you about it.”

      And, believe me, they sound off loud and clear and they don’t hold back.

      Honestly, Teddi, I really don’t get it. I’ve unsubscribed from many lists for many reasons — receiving far too many emails (like one or two a day from the same marketer – yuck), getting bombarded with one sales pitch after another (more yuck), or because I simply don’t resonate with the person’s message, personality, offerings, or marketing style.

      No big deal, right? I unsubscribe and move on. And I’m certainly not mean about it.

      You’re right about the old school ways of spamming people. There was usually a dismal return on your investment, at best … but at least people quietly tossed their postcard ads in the trash and there was no backlash involved.

      I cherish your kindness and encouragement — thank you. 🙂

      I’ve got a lot of work ahead of me. I’m giving serious consideration to starting from scratch and re-vamping all of my autoresponder messages. And I think I’ll begin by putting a disclaimer at the top of each and every one.

      Lots of online marketers use that approach and although it’s not the warmest and fuzziest way to begin an email, it may prevent broadcasts and follow-up messages from getting marked as spam.

      SO happy you knocked on my door today!

      • P.S. Teddi, I know I told you this the minute I discovered you online but …

        I LOVE your website!! Not only the beauty aspect, but the layout and navigation are divine! It’s trite to say, I know, but it’s one of the most “user-friendly” sites I’ve encountered.

        Yay, you! I bet your clients really enjoy working with you.

        Just curious …
        I didn’t see a “blog” tab. Do you do any blogging for business?

        • Thanks for the super-kind comments about my site, Melanie! So encouraging!

          No, I don’t blog for business at the moment. Most of my limited computer time is spent doing web design projects, and when I’m writing lately, it’s on a fiction project.

          I am planning to do some business blogging in the future (content publishing on niche sites), but for now other things are taking priority. I’m finding it a challenge to make the transition from doing projects for other people (where the money is a known quantity, and scheduled, and relatively quick) to focusing on my own projects (where the money is a future prospect and relatively unknown). But I’ll get there…

          Thanks for asking!

          • Know what, Teddi?


            We could all benefit from emulating you … no lip service here.

            Although I am madly in love with blogging (writing has always been my passion), it doesn’t exactly pay the bills — doesn’t even pay for groceries. LOL!

            Perhaps it’s time to head back to the biz-building drawing board. 🙂

            You Shine!

  • A lovely chat Mel and V.

    Made my evening.

    And now… I will take a glass. LOL

    Luv to you both

  • Dear Ms Kissell
    My name is Mona Lott and I’m a personal friend of Ophelia Knees.

    Unfortunately I am the harbinger of bad news; since Ophelia last corresponded with you, events have taken a turn for the worse.

    Ophelia has found the whole sorry business most stressful and has had to self medicate with a bottle of rather fine claret.
    Whilst the claret has worked wonders on her mental state, it has also left her unable to type… hence my intervention.

    One moment she’s calling me….
    “What is it Ophelia?… I’m talking to that American lady… well really Ophelia there’s no need for that sort of language!”
    Ophelia wishes you well.

    I’m sure that the whole sorry business is just a silly misunderstanding, which we can all now put to one side and forget.

    Yours in friendship
    Mona Lott

    BTW – I thought that I recognized your poet friend Vernessa Taylor.
    I know the face… perhaps from another website.

    • I.Am.Anonymous.

      Please do not attempt to “out” me! [Keith, all gravatars are not to be trusted!]

      Mona Lott should stop moaning on behalf of Claret Lady. I might hide behind the anonymous label, but SHE is hiding behind a label of a different sort! She knows the Wicked Emailer can magically press DELETE to remove her from the precious list so drinks her sorrows in hopes that her freebies will continue to flow like liquid nectar!)

      Delete! Delete! Delete!

      • Hi V
        That’s telling em.

        Mona and Ophelia deleted forever… although you never know.

        Like Arnie… they may be back.

      • Vernessa and Keith,

        Can you just, for one moment, imagine what it would be like if the three of us were actually in the same room together?!!

        Talk about a laughfest. 🙂

        Yes, Keith — wine would be involved. LOL

        • “Yes, Keith — wine would be involved. LOL”

          Oh yes… and how!

        • Mm hmm, “people would wonder how we ever got any serious work done!”

          Laughter is the medicine we all crave (the colors — white, red, rose, burgundy — have their place, too!). 😀

    • Dear Mona,

      You simply MUST introduce yourself to my lovely poet friend, Vernessa.

      Talk about prolific and verbose!
      I’m certain it’s apparent to you she reigns unsurpassed in poetry circles.

      About Ophelia (the poor dear) …

      Please make it your personal mission to see to it that her wine cabinet is never without a bottle of the finest claret.

      Stress is best managed and remedied via self-medicated means. I’m sure Ophelia’s attending physician would see it otherwise but we know best, don’t we?

      Warmest regards,

  • Hi Melanie,

    What a great post! You are compassionate yet firm in your message and I totally agree with you. So what if they unsubscribe? That means they aren’t true to you anyway.

    So many people sign up for so many lists and just sit there. Sorry you had negative comments about Denise’s promotion. She has a lot to offer and it is there loss.

    I shared this as well. Thanks for such an awesome post.


    • Cindy!

      So elated to see you here and thanks for lending your feedback. 🙂

      List building is tricky as it is. And we all hope to get only the most interested people are our lists, right? It would be a slice of heaven if everyone who subscribed is an ideal customer or client and TRULY INTERESTED in building a relationship with us and receiving emails from us.

      But I’m convinced, especially after this unfortunate incident, that’s NOT the case.

      I’ll never understand why someone opts in to a list and then starts griping about offers they receive. For crying out loud … we’re in business!

      Thanks for sharing this post! 🙂

  • Katie

    Thank you for telling it like it is. It is a touchy subject, and hey – there are plenty of us that get crap for being online so much…told to “get a life!” and family think we should be making money. You along with many others have combined internet research, sharing found information and making money very well. I appreciate your blog, and if I am not interested in a particular paid promotion I simply overlook it 🙂 Simple as that.

    May your success continue!


    • Katie, you’ve definitely got the best and healthiest kind of mindset …

      ” … if I am not interested in a particular paid promotion I simply overlook it.”

      And it’s not hard to do, is it? I’m the same way.

      I get bombarded with 100’s of email promos every week. If I don’t see the value in an offer that’s presented to me OR it doesn’t lend anything to the goals I’m trying to achieve …

      I just delete the message and move on.

      I can honestly say (even with the REALLY crappy crap I get all the time) I’ve never marked an email as spam. I understand what online marketing is all about and it’s not always easy. You’re bound to offend someone somewhere along the way.

      But like what Elizabeth Cottrell was honing in on …

      Being business owners means you must make sales or you don’t have a business!

      Thanks for sharing your insights and please come back again soon.

  • Beautifully said, Melanie. I, for one, have no issues with your postings ;). I am one of the many bloggers who are blogging for dough (well, it’s a work in progress, I will get there eventually).

    Seems to me like the people who complain, only wanted something for nothing from you. It’s okay when it benefits them exclusively.

    Keep doing what you’re doing!

    ~Melissa Austin

    • You’ve got your pulse on the main issue, Melissa!

      “It’s okay when it benefits them exclusively.”
      (Translation: “Send me all the luscious freebies you’ve got!”)

      Great to hear what I post or send out isn’t offensive, sales-y, or unacceptable to you. It’s always wonderful to hear from someone on the “other” side of my list’s fence. 🙂

      Thanks for swinging by!

  • Wow, Melanie, I’m so sorry you had this experience. Having people unsubscribe is one thing (I go through massive unsubscribe purges when I’m just feeling overwhelmed), but I don’t get why anyone would report you for spam. Yikes. I’m not even your ideal target market, but I love your sense of humor and your clarity. And you’re right, there’s absolutely no one who provides more value in her courses than Denise Wakeman.

    By speaking the truth strongly, but tactfully, I’ll bet you attract way more subscribers than you’ve lost. We all need to be reminded that if we’re trying to run a business, we’d better darned well be selling something.

    You’re a breath of fresh air, Melanie — don’t change.

    • Elizabeth, I can’t thank you enough for joining the conversation — you’ve made my day!

      I so appreciate you backing up my claim …

      ” … there’s absolutely no one who provides more value in her courses than Denise Wakeman. ”

      She’s the epitome of “top notch professional” — not some fly-by-night ditzy dumbbell.

      If I had sent my list some piece of garbage from an unknown shady schmuck … I could accept people marking the email as spam. But that wasn’t the case! I was really blown away.

      I LOVE this thought. Your words are golden …

      “We all need to be reminded that if we’re trying to run a business, we’d better darned well be selling something. ”

      Three cheers for that message! 🙂

  • that’s an important topic Melaine
    i see many people complaining about the emails they subscribed for themsleves!

    • Yeah. Isn’t that a hoot, Farouk?!

      People raise their hands, willingly opt in to get information from you, and then oftentimes complain about the emails they receive.

      Go figure. It’s a mystery to me. 🙁

      • Dear Ms Kissell
        I write to object in the strongest terms to the number of emails that I have received from you recently.
        In the past several months I have received in excess of 3 emails, and I am finding it hard to cope.

        I must insist that you cease this onslaught on my Outlook immediatel, if not sooner.

        Ophelia Knees (Miss)

        PS – I’ve had all your current freebies, but should any new ones become available please let me know.

        • Dear Miss Knees,

          What a dreadful and horrifying experience for you!

          My sincerest apologies.

          I fear you may be scarred for life. How can I ever make this up to you?!

          An excess of 3 emails in the past several months is abominable behavior on my part.


          Sorry. Fresh out.

          The wicked witch of email marketing,

        • From the amen corner of the unsolicited letter-writing campaign headquarters
          To Miss Knees

          Ah, Miss Knees
          You’re being a tease!
          Why would you want
          to keep my freebie sleaze?

          Owing to my OCDs
          I can’t help but do all things in threes!
          Remove yourself from
          my mailing list, please!

          Let me say this before ah forgit
          Just refrain from pressing Submit!

          (Anonymous Friend of That Wicked Witch, who foists wares on the unwary in hopes of sharing something good that just might bring a ROHMHOSG*)

          *return on her many hours of selfless giving

          • Vernessa, I can’t wait till Miss Knees gets a hold of this! LOL 🙂

            You are pure genius.

            The Wicked Witch of Email Marketing

          • Vernessa
            I couldn’t top that, I couldn’t even get close.

            Looks like you’re a poet and you didn’t know it.

        • Keith, you are just too dang funny!

          • “Too dang funny” doesn’t even BEGIN to cut the mustard, V — Keith is a RIOT!

          • Hi V
            Where have you been?
            I thought that you’d done a “Theresa Bradley-Banta” and left us.

            So good to get in touch again.

            I saw your comment on Hiten’s post over on easyP.
            Now that Hiten has replied I’ll give you a proper “Welcome Back.”

            Just like old times… Mel, you and me.
            Those friendships are one big part of blogging.

          • Hi Keith,

            Had a bit of family tragedy at the end of last year, took some time at the beginning of the year.

            Just like old times… Mel, you and me. Those friendships are one big part of blogging.

            Ahh, yes they are! And here you come in the door keeping me on my toes . . . I’ve never read or interacted with Theresa Bradley-Banta so I had to go see who she is, what she does. Thank you! (Before arriving at her main site, I read a post she’d written for The Fordyce Letter, “Are You a Headhunter or an Entrepreneur? Why Not Both?”) My kind of tips, my kind of people. 🙂

            Hiten’s post was well done. He has some great reads on his blog, so thank you for introducing us to him.

            Your characters are real characters! I hope they’ll get off Mel’s list to make room for me. LOL

            Any you? Staying super busy with your new biz? You know, I mentioned you in my baton-passing post (see CommentLuv link).

          • Hi V
            Sorry to hear about your family tragedy.
            These things seem to affect us more as we get older… certainly true for me.
            If we were a little closer, I would be buying you a drink and we would be sharing stories, I’m sure of that.

            Theresa Bradley-Banta was a great blogger and chatter, then she gave it up!
            Mel contacted her, but not heard anything since.

            Hiten is a great young man and a good Speaker – I’ve heard him speak a couple of times.

            “Are you? Staying super busy with your new biz? You know, I mentioned you in my baton-passing post (see CommentLuv link).”

            The new site is pulling in business almost too well… I’m getting very choosy when it comes to clients. LOL
            It’s also starting to make money with affiliate links for Genesis and Copyblogger products.

            I did see my name mentioned, forgive me for not responding.
            I’ll bookmark your post, and if I get time…

            Good to talk V and next time you have a drink, think of me… and put it on my bill.


  • Hi Melanie,

    I’m totally with you on this one, my friend!

    My blog also is geared up to make money. I’m not ashamed of this either.

    Regarding your own site, I would have thought with a name like ‘Solo Mompreneur’, the fact that some entrepreneurship was involved was evident. Obviously not the case with some people! 🙂

    Keep on doing what you are Melanie. You are totally great. 🙂

    • Excellent point and observation, Hiten.

      The “preneur” part is a pretty bit tip off, wouldn’t you say? 😉

      I’m proud of you for sounding out loud you’re blogging for “dough” and not for “show”.
      Good on you!

      Appreciate your kind words and support,

  • Well, I WAS NOT in your list. But now I WILL BE. I believe in the freedom of people to choose, but I think that you will get 2, at least, for any one that fail. Thanks for your work.

    • Appreciate your enthusiasm and kind words, John!

      List building can be tricky.

      Even though people (willfully) opt in to receive information from you, it seems some of them don’t understand how email marketing correlates with small business ownership.

      Best of success to you.

  • Melanie,

    A lot of people have expressed thoughts I would have,Melanie, but the bottom line is that you will never be able to please everyone and there will always people who take offense in what you do, even when you don’t do. A case in point, I’m hosting a teleseminar series, which started in February. We’re now in Week 6. Now you know you cannot add someone’s name to AWeber and the only way someone could have got on that particular list for the Teleseminar is by choosing to subscribe. Yet, someone unsubscribed this week (their choice to which they’re entitled) but asked “Why As am I on this List?” Go figure!

    We are in business and business means you offer me something for sale and I can choose to buy or I decline. As Keith said, “Strength be with you” and I say “Hang in there, my friend.” You provide a lot of value in your posts. I received that email and perhaps because I’m also in business could find nothing offensive about you sharing Denise’s training.

    • Oh, Yvonne, thanks so much for sharing your recent “unsubscribe” story!

      Obviously, the person “opted in” to get your teleseminars updates and notifications. Duh … 🙁

      So my question is, why complain??
      Or why question the reason you’re receiving email notifications??
      Makes no sense to me yet I know this sort of scenario is played out over and over.

      And I appreciate you adding that you took no offense at getting an email from me re Denise’s program.

      Just goes to show you always maintain true professionalism and you have a keen understanding of business.

      You shine!

  • Bravo Melanie and I’m sorry you are even having to address this issue.

    I’ve also made it clear that I won’t spam my list with product after products to promote but when I have a good one that I’m in love with you can bet that I’m sharing it. Luckily I haven’t had an enormous amount of opt-outs because of it but I welcome them leaving if that’s the case.

    The part that bothers me here is the spam complaint. I continue to shake my head at some people and their understanding of why they are even here. I mean seriously!

    I say you’re better off without them but this post and a follow up email would be the way I would address this and freely ask everyone to opt-out if that’s how they honestly feel about this. To heck with them all is what I say.

    I applaud you Melanie and you keep up the excellent work.


    • I share every single one of your sentiments, Adrienne, and thanks a heap for dropping in!

      Love your suggestion and as a matter of fact …

      When my next blog broadcast goes out to my list, THIS post will be included.

      With any luck, people who NEED to hear this message will actually open the email and click the link … and then remove themselves from my list if need be.

      Sometimes I don’t “get” what makes certain people tick, either. When you know you’ve opted in to a biz owner’s list …

      Wouldn’t you at least expect a promo email or blog post once in a while??! Give me a break.

      Really appreciate your kindness, vote of confidence, and support! 🙂

      • Might I suggest one other tactic that I’ve used (and seen used)?

        At the beginning of the email (every email in your autoresponder series) … a little boilerplate notification that includes …

        You subscribed to this email/newsletter/series as (email address here)
        I hope you’re enjoying tips/tutorials/freebies, but if not, here is the Unsubscribe Link (unsubscribe link here)
        Disclosure/Reminder: Some recommended products contain affiliate links
        Blah, blah, blah

        Of course, substitute as necessary and include another prominent unsubscribe link at the bottom. While we hate to start off our masterpiece autoresponse series with unglamorous disclaimers, better safe than sorry.

        • You’re always more than welcome to make suggestions, V — much appreciated.

          I’m seeing this tactic used more and more these days and I think it’s a great idea.

          I know what you mean, though. Who really wants to begin a message by saying, “Say goodbye, if you like and nice knowin’ ya”. But, still in all, it’s effective.

          Unglamorous disclaimers are much better than having your messages marked as spam — that’s for sure!

          You shine big time! 🙂

  • Good evening everyone.

    My name is Keith Davis… and I am an Affiliate.
    There I’ve said it.

    Anyone wishing to join the UK branch of A.A. (Affiliates Anonymous) should send a large envelope full of uses American dollar bills to…

    Mr K Davis C/O 42 The Mews, Wimbledon W1.

    Thank You and good night.

    • LOL! LOL!

      You’ve set my happy wheels in motion, Keith. 🙂

      GOOD FOR YOU, my friend — that’s the spirit!

      Love you,

      • Strength be with you sister, strength be with you.

        • Not to worry, Bro …

          I’ve got you watching my back. 😉

          No! I didn’t say “washing” my back (we wouldn’t want anyone here reading into things) LOL

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  • Wow, such a great post then so many fine comments – I’ve learned a LOT. I would also say that the ‘creative’ people I know are also sensitive, so might take things more personally (such as an unsubscribe). I’m about to move into the whole ’email marketing’ minefield and I’ve learned so much from this post and comments – thank you all for sharing; there is plenty for me to think about!

    • Thanks for knocking on my door, Rachelle — so nice of you to visit!

      “I’m about to move into the whole ‘email marketing’ minefield”

      Great way to put it! 😉

      Take one step in the wrong direction and you can be blown to bits! (I shouldn’t be making these remarks. They’re probably scaring the pants off ya.) LOL

      I’m just pleased to hear this post and all the wonderful comments from my loyal readership have given you some food for thought.

      Try not to be too frightened …

      Everything will be A-okay as long as you can find ways to attract your “target audience” and get them on your email marketing list.

      And most importantly …

      Make sure they understand — right from the start … exactly what they can expect to find in your email messages. If you plan to promote anything (You know … ask them to purchase something from you), just make certain those offers aren’t coming as some big surprise. 🙂

  • Hi Melanie,

    Love the message in this post!

    Really, we just have to go back to the overall purpose of having a list of subscribers…

    As someone who has several lists in several niches, seeing those unsubscribes go up for the strangest reasons is a bit disheartening.

    I used to look at those numbers with a “why did they unsubscribe – maybe it was this…” mindset and I have learned that it is not motivating to focus on the unsubscribes.

    People are going to unsubscribe, daily! That is the nature of this business. But I think focusing on the ones you have and treating them as they’ve come to expect is much more fun and rewarding than thinking about those who have opted out.

    Thanks for sharing!

    • Excellent point, Christine!

      I totally agree …

      ” … focusing on the ones you have and treating them as they’ve come to expect is much more fun and rewarding than thinking about those who have opted out.”

      By the way, I figured out why your comments weren’t showing up here (with the expert help of Michelle Shaeffer!). Akismet was the culprit. Problem solved!

      Thanks a heap for the visit and for the unexpected shout out over at your blog — much appreciated!

  • Hey Melanie,

    Just catching up on some reading, after a heafty few days workload. Ahh feels good to come up for air.

    You’ve touched on something here that is close to the bone for a lot of people, myself included.

    When you start out with “free” it sets a precident for “free”. Unfortunately most of us start our online life being indoctinated into the free giveaway mehodology….Damn those guru’s.

    Sure enough, as we all find out in our own sweet time, it doesn’t do you any favors.

    What use is a big fat list, with no intention to buy…better still that get offended when you ask them to buy? Its enough to drive you nuts.

    All I can say is carry on doing business exactly how you want to, you know your ethics and integrity are intact.

    • One thing is certain, Jackie …

      This comment thread would not be complete without you — so happy you’ve arrived! 🙂

      I want to applaud you and send along a gigantic virtual hug for this …

      “When you start out with “free” it sets a precident for “free”. Unfortunately most of us start our online life being indoctinated into the free giveaway mehodology….Damn those guru’s.”


      It’s taken me close to four years to come to grips with this issue and iron out the wrinkles in the gray matter between my ears (okay, I may be a little slow sometimes). LOL

      If you REALLY stop and think about it, we’re already giving away MOUNDS of free stuff … helpful tips, tools, business advice, resources, and marketing strategies we share in our blog posts and via social media channels, etc. Shouldn’t that be enough?!

      But we don’t DARE cross over that line and present a paid offering or we’re sent off to the slaughter house. 🙁

      You’re 200% right …

      “What use is a big fat list, with no intention to buy…better still that get offended when you ask them to buy?”

      Comforting knowing you were finally able to come up for some air. Work hard but not TOO hard, okay? Rumor has it life is kinda short. 🙂

  • Melanie, I make it clear in each email I send that I enjoy staying at home with my children and the way I’m able to do this is by earning via affiliate links. I put my disclosure in each email I send out. Also, if it is a special offer, I make note of it in the subject line.

    Yes, I’ve had people unsubscribe but I’ve also had people subscribe for the ‘freebie’ and then immediately unsubscribe. If all your reader wants is free information with no way of moving their business to the next level than they should unsubscribe.

    • Hey Sara — I’m so glad you dropped in!

      Don’t get me started on “freebies” and freebie chasers. 😉

      This is EXACTLY how I feel, too …

      “If all your reader wants is free information with no way of moving their business to the next level than they should unsubscribe”

      Thanks for posting your thoughts and I hope you’ll come back again soon!

  • Brilliant post Melanie!

    I completely agree that there is nothing wrong with affiliate links in posts and newsletters. The key is to ensure you make you readers aware they exist and that there aren’t so many they become spammy.

    I remember Sonia Simone (Copyblogger) at the Problogger event last year saying that she doesn’t mind people unsubscribing and that self-selection is good. She knows that those who remain are truly tuned to the possibility of buying and unsubscribers can go forth and find a better fit.

    You won’t offend me.


    • Appreciate the visit, Caylie, and thank you for commenting!

      Sonia Simone is someone I’ve been following for quite a while and I love her Pro Blog Tips.

      Sonia’s words speak the TRUTH …

      ” … those who remain are truly tuned to the possibility of buying and unsubscribers can go forth and find a better fit.”

      As was mentioned in some earlier comments, I think part of the problem with what I experienced is that some people truly don’t “get” what “spam” means.

  • I know this problem well. And it really comes down to the old basic principles of marketing. Your list is obviously full of people who are not your target market. It’s would be like getting Kmart’s list of shoppers, and sending them an offer for Calvin Klein jeans which are $200. You would have the same response.

    This is a frustrating problem for bloggers who pour their heart and soul into their blogs, and get paid with a random kind comment for their trouble. It is mainly due to most blogs being “free” to read and so much “free” content on the web that people have gotten used to.

    You might need to revise your blogging strategy if you hope to make any kind of income. A lot of bloggers find that embedding ads in their website and in their blog is usually their best bet of making some money. Of course this takes time to build a blog with a lot of traffic and followers, that will appeal to the advertising sellers.

    I’m so sorry to hear you had this experience Melanie. But you seem to have a lot of support, so I’m confident you will find the best way to bounce back.

    • Hi Fiona — thanks so much for sharing your insights! It’s nice to hear from a seasoned, brilliant marketing expert. 🙂

      LOVE this and you’re right on the money …

      ” … would be like getting Kmart’s list of shoppers, and sending them an offer for Calvin Klein jeans which are $200. You would have the same response.”

      Seems that lots of business bloggers are having this same kind of frustrating experience. And you’ve honed in on something vital — I’ve come to the conclusion that the majority of my subscribers are NOT my target audience.

      Hugs for your comment and your support!

  • Hi Melanie,

    I wrote about this problem last year. I think it is one of those things that because some high profile people have said free is essential others believe it without even thinking it through. A bit like acting like sheep.

    It would be interesting to see if there were any common factors of those that marked it as spam or unsubscribed. I also wonder how these people would feel if others marked their emails as spam.

    • Susan, please allow to me say right off the bat …

      You definitely have your head screwed on straight!

      ” … because some high profile people have said free is essential others believe it without even thinking it through. A bit like acting like sheep.”

      THAT is a mouthful of truth and a big fat pearl of wisdom!

      Food for thought, for sure …

      “I also wonder how these people would feel if others marked their emails as spam”

      I’m thinking they wouldn’t exactly be jumping for joy. 😉

      Thank you for adding to this conversation — so happy to see you here!

  • Loved this post Melanie – it’s such a great topic .. I know that I strive for quality over quantity EVERY time.

    You know how I feel about removing freebies so to get a cleaner list and well, it’s working so well I am spreading the message to anyone who’ll listen!

    Thanks for sharing my illustration 🙂

    • Ameena!!

      I’m so jazzed you stopped by — thank you.

      I agree with you 100% …
      ” … I strive for quality over quantity EVERY time”

      I don’t mean to sound so aggressively blunt, but …

      It’s totally useless to have subscribers on your list who are #1 — UN-responsive and #2 — Have no intention of doing business with you.

      Worse yet …
      Report your posts as SPAM. 🙁

      More than happy (and beaming with pride) to share your illustration!

  • Hi Mel
    Just back from a long weekend and found your post and one from Danny Brown.

    Take a read of Danny’s post – all about loyalty.

    Contains some bad language.

    • Well, you’ve certainly grabbed my attention with your comment, Keith!

      See you in a bit …
      Sprinting over to Danny’s blog. 🙂

      • One thing I can tell you for sure, Keith …

        Danny Brown holds NOTHING back!

        If this doesn’t make you sit up and pay attention, I’m pretty sure you don’t have a pulse …

        “Show people you care. Show people you mean what you say. Every time. Show people they can trust you. Show people you deserve that trust. Show people you’re not a dick who simply panders to those stroking your ego (or your dick).”

        Moral of the story?

        Go balls out! 🙂

        • You are right Mel, Danny has never been accused of “holding back.”
          I’ll take him to task about the bad language.

          My connection was the building of trust, not fake trust, but real trust.
          From there you can post affiliate links with confidence, because you have confidence in the products and services you are promoting.

          I promote Studiopress and Copyblogger products because I think they are fantastic?
          Makes it easy to promote them.

          Same with you – you have my trust and I would be happy to buy on your recommendation.

          I guess that one of the skills of a good “salesman” is to gain your trust, but that’s not the way I see it with you.
          Like me, if you didn’t have faith in a product… you wouldn’t recomment it.

          Now, back to that naughty Danny Brown…. LOL

          • I’m proud of you, Keith — you came right out and shared that you promote Studiopress and Copyblogger products.

            Kudos to you! They’re both exemplary product lines.

            You’ve honed in on my marketing mantra …

            “Like me, if you didn’t have faith in a product … you wouldn’t recommend it.” … period.

            Thanks for dropping in again to add more value to this conversation. 🙂

          • Speaking of Copyblogger Mel:
            How are your landing pages coming along?

            I’ve just bought Premise so I’ll be putting a few of my own together.

          • Let the fun begin!

            Keith, Premise makes it so easy to create beautiful landing pages, it’s almost sinful. 🙂

            I’ve created one that looks pretty snazzy. But I’m researching a new contact management system for the opt in portion of my page. I think it may be time for me to grab my list (what’s left of it) and move away from Aweber.

            You’re going to love using Premise. They have an awesome graphics library. That feature, alone, makes it worth the investment. I’ve been known to spend DAYS looking for images. LOL

  • Hey Melanie,

    If you read one of Brankica’s recent updates she vents about the same too! Apparently a few subscribers reported her as spam for no reason. The point remains that people do get a confirmation link in their inbox when we subscribe; so one actually go through the process twice just to make sure. And then they end up doing this.

    I am surprised by why this happens; especially since I know you never offer crappy content and you are pretty clear and transparent on why you are here. I am sorry you had to take the trouble you know. But yes, always remember, you are the best! And we love you! 🙂

    • Hi Hajra and thanks for the kudos!

      Yes, I did read Bran’s post and immediately shared it with my fans and followers. She did a bang up job of writing about that very interesting email marketing “experiment” she did.

      Can you believe the kind of “hate mail” she got?! Crazy.

      Although let’s keep in mind Brankica says “If you’re getting hate mail, you must be doing something right.” LOL! 😉

  • This is such a common problem! All the freebie-seekers get irritated when an offer is introduced. In your case, I must say, I didn’t think I was on your list (and I still think it because I didn’t get the e-mail about Denise’s program) but the other day I got an e-mail where you were promoting a webinar or teleseminar or something and I thought, “well, I guess I’m on her list!” Seriously, I hadn’t gotten anything from you in a REALLY long time!
    Another pet peeve that goes right along with this. . . . people that are on my list that are bigger marketers and you KNOW they’re not going to purchase anything from me. What’s up with THAT? LOL
    Good post and SO relevant to what we all do for a living!

    • Hey Miz Martha — glad you’re here!

      Go figure …

      ” … people that are on my list that are bigger marketers and you KNOW they’re not going to purchase anything from me.”

      I have this same thing going on, too. And they’re not always easy to spot right away. But I’ve managed to uncover a few of them even though they’ve cleverly used “cryptic” email addresses and bogus names. They must have a mission in mind but I don’t know what it is. In YOUR case, I’m sure they’re spying on a “rising star”. 😉

      I’m going to have to check the settings for my blog broadcasts. If you’re on that list and you’re not hearing from me very often, I probably need to re-set the dates my posts go out. Thanks for the heads up. And you know what? I know I’m on at least one of your lists and I haven’t seen your name in an email subject line in a coon’s age!

      You’re right about this issue — it’s a very common problem. And I wish it WASN’T commonplace. I think Michelle hit the nail on the head when she remarked a lot of people don’t really understand the meaning of “spam”.

      With all the great commentary here, I’m thinking a change is in order for me. I’m going to hone in harder and heavier with my subscribers and encourage them to unsubscribe if they’re not interested in receiving offers from me.

      I don’t mean to be “mean” but there’s just no point in carrying dead weight.

      Have an awesome week and thanks so much for sharing your thoughts! 🙂

  • I have been following your blog for awhile now and your posts automatically update on my Facebook Fanpage even though I don’t always get a chance to read or comment. With that said, I don’t understand people, I really don’t! We chose to subscribe to your posts because something you said intrigued us enough to hit that button. Somewhere inside of us we felt an urge to follow because we just know there will be more delectable posts coming from you.

    My email is constantly bombarded with this, that, and the other and it’s nobody’s fault but my own. If people spent the same amount of time to clean out their emails as they did to complain about something they would find out how stupid they look complaining about something this trivial. If I subscribe to someone’s blog/site and they send me an email I have three choices; open it, ignore it, or unsubscribe. Why do people feel the need to make everything about how inconvenienced they are by something they signed up for… Nobody is putting a gun to their heads and saying, “Sign up now or else.” Nor are they being threatened if they choose to not buy what is being sold.

    With everything going on in the world, it saddens me that people find it necessary to stand up and throw a huge fit over “spam” or emails they opted in for over something like cancer, war, abuse, etc… People need to get their priorities straight! By the way, I enjoyed this post and shared it. And whether you post for dough or for show I will still be a loyal subscriber.

    • Yours is a very BEEFY comment, Jenni, and I want to thank you very much for adding value to this conversation!

      I had no idea my blog’s feed was showing up on your Facebook page. Very sweet of you to post my posts. 🙂

      Of all your sincere and welcomed remarks, this statement stands out like a neon flashing sign …

      “Nobody is putting a gun to their heads and saying, “Sign up now or else.” Nor are they being threatened if they choose to not buy what is being sold.”

      So glad you stopped by and thanks for sharing this post! Maybe some of your fans and followers will relate. This is one of those topics that’s usually hush-hush. After all, who wants to dwell on the negative, right? But I felt compelled to bring it to the forefront of business blogger’s minds. A bit risky … but I have no regrets.

      Come back again soon! 🙂

  • Hey Melanie,

    Many subscribers don’t get what “spam” really means and they report things as spam instead of simply unsubscribing. And then you’ve got the people who get frustrated by any sales/offers…

    You’re right though, often it’s a matter of teaching our readers and list what to expect from us. 🙂

    I’ll stay on your list. 🙂

    • By the same token, Michelle …

      You’re stuck with me for keeps! I’m on your list … till pigs can fly. 🙂

      When I see your newsletter arrive in my mail box, I know it’s going to be filled with juicy stuff! (And sometimes it takes me an hour or so to scope out all the goodies) LOL!

      I totally agree …
      “Many subscribers don’t get what “spam” really means”

      Having a credible and innovative, seasoned business blogger (YOU) stop by to catch this post means a great deal to me.

      You Shine!

  • Oh, Melanie, this is one of my very big pet peeves. OF COURSE we’re in business and of course we have an obligation to profit — that’s the very definition of what business is.

    I love that you’re asking people to unsubscribe, and, in effect, that’s what we do every time we send out a promotional email — we’re asking those who are not interested to either ignore it or to leave our lists. You’re just being proactive about it!

    And people, listen here — DON’T mark promotional email as spam if you’ve been enjoying that person’s hard work and free advice and you signed up for it willingly, that’s just not fair. You’ve been taking the free stuff, the least you can do is ignore the promos you don’t want, or unsubscribe. Marking things as spam from bloggers and marketers from whom you’ve been willing to consume the free stuff is rude and akin to going to a restaurant with a big purse to steal all the free stuff off the table and complaining loudly when you get your dinner tab: you want us to give give give, but you’re not willing to pay for the legitimate stuff, or even let us show it to you. AND, it harms our reputation with the mailing houses, too, making it more difficult for us to do business with those who DO want to buy from us. Surprise, there are people who want what we offer.

    Sorry, Mel, you opened a wound. Betcha can’t tell this is a thing with me. Kudos for you for running this post.

    • Hey Marcia — I’m stoked to see you here!

      Am I sensing just a teensy weensy bit of PASSION from you on this topic? LOL! 😉

      Sounds to me like you could really expound on the subject … and that you’ve had a truck load of experience in dealing with complaints and unsubscribes when posting promos. If you read Denise Wakeman’s comment, she’s got 16 years of it under her belt.

      Can’t tell you how much I’ve enjoyed reading your comment and I’m on that same proverbial page …

      ” … DON’T mark promotional email as spam if you’ve been enjoying that person’s hard work and free advice and you signed up for it willingly, that’s just not fair. You’ve been taking the free stuff, the least you can do is ignore the promos you don’t want, or unsubscribe.”

      Through your creative thinking, 25+ years of experience, and blatant brilliance …

      You have eloquently summed up my thoughts — thank you!! xoxo 🙂

  • Melanie, first, I’m sorry that sharing info about my program resulted in such a negative response. And, this has been the case for years. I’ve been marketing on the Web since 1996. There are always people who want everything from free and get offended when you ask for the sale. It’s better that they do remove themselves from your list. They will never take action, their business won’t grow and they’ll probably always be unhappy. Sad and maybe harsh to say but is born out by my experience over the last 16 years. Your true fans and supporters are the ones who welcome what you offer and know that you’re an important filter for them, bringing them the resources that will benefit them and help you make a living. Every promo email I send out gets unsubscribes. They also generally result in sales. So, if I didn’t send the emails, my business would fail. Keep doing what you’re doing, Melanie. You provide exceptional value on your blog and deserve to be compensated for your expertise and referrals. Blog on!

    • Denise, your commentary on this topic has given me the freedom and the joy to take a BIG sigh of relief.

      And now I can exhale — thank you!!

      Truer than true …

      “There are always people who want everything for free and get offended when you ask for the sale.”

      The world will never run out of freebie chasers.

      These are the folks we cherish and are blessed to have in our lives …

      “Your true fans and supporters are the ones who welcome what you offer and know that you’re an important filter for them … ”

      Thank goodness, the world will also never run out of ambassadors and cheer leaders!

      I’m blogging on! 🙂

  • Good post, Melanie. I guess a lot of people don’t realize that while we are committed to give the best of what we know, we all have to pay our bills – and we need to get compensated fairly so that we can continue helping and sharing what we know. There’s nothing wrong with throwing in an occasional link to sth relevant like you do. I think many of us grew up with a distorted look on money and that work is not supposed to be fun or meaningful. Vast subject you touched upon here.

    • Thanks for dropping in, Marianne — appreciate your input!

      These words are GOLDEN …

      ” … a lot of people don’t realize that while we are committed to give the best of what we know, we all have to pay our bills – and we need to get compensated fairly so that we can continue helping and sharing what we know.”

      Brankica Underwood and Kimberly Castleberry (GREAT gals to know!) have been conversing about this topic lately, too. Must be something in the air and an issue that’s not exclusive to just me. 🙂

  • Negativity brings in more negativity. Your subscribers are gold.That’s the currency of 21st century. If they don’t believe that you are offering them something good, it might not be your approach.

    More probably is the fact that your audience didn’t gain enough trust in order to believe that listening to you and what you have to say is for their best benefit. Emails are tricky question. My personal recommendation is not to use mailing lists for sales. It might seem counterintuitive at start, but the fact remains that there are people who succesfully take advantage over this approach.

    This guy changed my approach to marketing online in general, I believe you should read this:

    Best regards from Belgrade

    • Nice to meet you, Bojan, and thanks for joining the conversation all the way from Belgrade! 🙂

      You’ve brought up an excellent point …

      To some degree, I believe this is a TRUST issue. And I don’t think it’s that my subscribers don’t trust me. It’s more that …

      In general, our inboxes and social media channels are STUFFED with offers on a continuum. People are becoming jaded and learning to turn a blind eye and a deaf ear. Know what I mean?

      On top of that, they’re having a much harder time “filtering” through all these offers in order to decide which ones are right for them and if they’re LEGITIMATE offers. Let’s face it … people are very picky about how they’re spending their money these days. And many of us have gotten burned in the past by purchasing garbage.

      Yes! Email marketing is tricky. No question about it. That’s why I think it’s important to work hard to establish a rapport with your target audience — do whatever it takes to build those all-important lasting relationships.

      Best of success to you!

  • Melanie,

    I have this issue with selling even though I came online to earn a living. My issue is I don’t want to bother my readers. But I had someone tell me that I am not bothering them, I am helping them. If I believe in a product, which I only sell what I believe in, then I am helping others fulfill a need or want. This helped me to change my views and tactics.

    I think your readers can be loyal and I believe they wouldn’t mind a helpful product and tools here and there. We want to know what helps and works.


    • Hello Allie — I’m thrilled to see you here!

      First off, I must apologize to you. Your comments haven’t been showing up on my blog (and you’re not alone) but the problem has now been resolved. Amen!

      Your points are very well taken …

      “If I believe in a product, which I only sell what I believe in, then I am helping others fulfill a need or want.”

      Thank you for your transparency in divulging a very important shift in your thinking regarding sending out promotions to your list.

      I applaud you and congratulations! 🙂

      • Melanie,

        Thank you for finding my comment and posting it.

        I am coming around, I think i just need to get used to my new “job” online as a marketer.



        • Hi Allie

          Oh, no! You let the cat out of the bag!

          Online marketing can definitely feel like a “job”. As a matter of fact, I think it’s far more work than a job. LOL!

          And anyone who tells you otherwise …

          Is residing in a hole of denial. 🙂

  • Well said Melanie!! This is a business.

    I would suggest however that you also take a closer look at your first couple emails in your autoresponder and make sure they correctly set the stage (called preframing) for making it clear what will be received. That did a good job of helping me reduce issues.


    • Hey Kimberly

      Thanks so much for sharing your insights! It means a lot to me.

      Believe me, I’ve “preframed” to the max in my earliest autoresponders. I make it crystal clear I’m an affiliate marketer and that many of the links I share will mean compensation for me. I also make it clear I don’t promote junk.

      I believe my biggest issue is that I’m a creative writer at heart.

      Many of my posts come across as “for entertainment purposes only”. My readership has become accustomed to NOT finding links in my posts. Know what I mean? So when I post a paid offer, I think it throws them for a loop.

      Really appreciate the visit,