How to lose 150 subscribers on one plane trip

I’m a big fan of sharing, highs and lows. Today I lost over 150 subscribers on my mailing list, because I made one big mistake. I let technology stand in the way of me being human and not creepy.

Writing to my list is one of the most grateful things I do, because I always get a lot of great letters back. And I end up having long and honest conversations with a many interesting people. I’m determined to only send out emails when I genuinely feel I have something to say that will add some kind of value, my agenda was the same today.

I wrote this particular letter on a plane back from Iceland today, and I wrote it all from my iPad. I tried a new app from Mailchimp that lets me send directly from there, with all the wonderful Mailchimp features. After I wrote the email I decided to test it out once again referring to each recipient by name, something that is common in the US – but still not done by many in Norway. I am a big fan of always testing, so I thought “Why not?”

The problem was that rather than inserting the name, the tag *NAME* was published instead. This created a big distance between me and the one getting the letter, instead of creating a tighter connection. And the problem was that after I sent the email the WIFI on the plane went down, so by the time I landed my inbox was full of emails from people unsubscribing from my list.

It hurt a lot, but luckily in addition to some rejecting me – emails from people I usually write back and forth with started appearing as well. Letting me know of my mistake, and how it made them feel. And I ended up having the chance to apologize and explain myself.

I also sent out an email to everyone, and made it real easy to unsubscribe if people still felt the need. No point in hiding things, if you make a mistake – let people know and don’t hide.

Writing letters to thousands of people gives me the opportunity to have lots of one-on-one conversations afterwards – that’s why I love it. But letting technology come in the way sabotaged my goal. This only shows the importance of making things simple, and focusing on creating value.

Lesson learned, a lesson I felt was worth sharing.