dos and don’ts: newsletter sign-ups

untitled by une**

untitled by une**

hello lovelies! today i want to touch on a subject, and request your feedback. it seems like lately, i've been having to unsubscribe from several newsletters every day, none of which i actually signed up for. some are from large corporations, but many are from small independent businesses and blogs. are you being signed up for e-mails without your consent?

it doesn't make me mad, get me upset or make me have ill feelings towards the businesses that do it, i just find it annoying. bloggers (and most peeps) spend so much time in our e-mail boxes already, that i find dealing with unnecessary e-mails is just an added time waster- and i'm trying to be efficient over here! so, is it out of ignorance that we get signed up for these letters? out of sneaky marketing schemes? or something else?

today i want to put out my dos and don'ts for newsletter sign-ups, and i would love to hear your feedback:


- have a newsletter

- make it easy to sign up for

- have a sign up visible on your website

- have a link to it in your e-mail signature

- promote it occasionally via social networking (twitter, facebook, etc) especially when you're about to send out a new one


- take it upon yourself to sign someone up without their consent

end of story!

if you think someone would benefit from your newsletters, why don't you let them know? send them a nice and personalized e-mail with what you are offering and why you think they might enjoy receiving your periodic updates. then let them decide if they would like to receive them or not. it's not a question of whether businesses or bloggers (like myself) do or don't like you/your biz, it's just that with the volume of e-mails we get already, most of us need to be very selective in what we decide to receive in our inboxes. i would assume anyone does, right?

so share with me- am i missing something? what is your opinion? love, bonnie

p.s. if you've ever signed me up for something without my consent, no hard feelings! smooches :)

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  • I sooooo agree! I’ve recently gotten Mail Chimp through Etsy which makes it really hard for a newsletter administrator to add an address unless it comes by subscription. And, it will never send a second newsletter unless the subscription box is checked.
    More importantly, I don’t think people patronize shops who bombard them with annoying advertising. The line between promotion and spam is very thin!

  • Yes, yes, yes to all of the above!

    Truth is, I can’t stand being signed up for anything without my permission – my inbox is crazy enough as it is. I start to lose it almost immediately, and lose respect for that company indefinitely. I know that most of the time it’s just a lack of knowledge, but there are so many resources on how to put together a newsletter campaign now (start with the newsletter company’s help section) that’s it hard not to get grouchy.

    I guess I would add to take care of your newsletter list – treat them well, get permission, and do your best to hold their attention.

  • I’ve had a few Etsy sellers ‘hunt me down’ after I favorited an item. They sent me promo convos and emails, -that sort of thing. I really don’t like that at all!

    I have to say, though, that I feel like everybody is offering a newsletter these days, so I’m starting to get numb to the idea. I’ve only been drawn to ones that offer me clearly stated benefits (freebies, early/private product announcements, and significant discounts -like more than 35%) AND tell me ahead of time how often they will be sent. Monthly and quarterly is cool; daily and weekly is not. Special occasions are also ok, but not (presidents day? hello)

    I also don’t like when ‘newsletter’ also equates to promoting affiliates (annoying), has large advertiser spots, or includes things I see if I read their blog frequently (boring).

    That’s my two cents!

  • It’s not only annoying, it’s illegal to sign up someone else for an email address – even if you’re not a spammer!

    Any reputable business should be using an email service that requires the person to “double opt-in” – meaning they sign up, and have to confirm their subscription by clicking on a link in an email to confirm that they did, indeed, request it.

    I’ve had blog readers (presumably) use my email address to sign up for freebies – not cool!

  • I also recently started using a different plugin to allow readers to subscribe to comments, so that they have to confirm via email that they requested to receive followup comments from the blog.

    I’m still testing it out, but it’s something worth looking into, because I could leave a comment with someone else’s email address, check “subscribe to comments”, and with *most* plugins that offer this service, the emails start being sent without any confirmation from the email address.

  • whew! so glad i’m not alone here! thanks for everyone’s input!

    @juliette, i can’t believe they did that! i don’t blame you for being picky. i am the same way, and totally agree with you points.

    @carrie- hmm, didn’t know it was illegal, but that certainly makes sense! great incite, thank you for sharing!

  • Thanks for posting this! It’s definitely illegal to do this! All marketing e-mails (including newsletters) must comply with CAN-SPAM laws, and part of that is only sending to those subscribers who opt-in. Just because someone bought from you or contacted you via e-mail does not mean that they are opted in to your e-mail marketing list. There are a ton of CAN-SPAM laws, not just ones regarding opt-ins, and it’s definitely a good thing for the small business owner or crafter to get very familiar with these laws.

    As Carrie mentioned, the best method is the double opt-in process; single opt-in is still legal according to CAN-SPAM but I believe it’s just a better business practice to use double opt-in.

  • Amen to this article!
    I get the most random spammy emails that will actually say at the bottom that I signed up for them. No, I didn’t. Then, I begin to have a verbal fight with this spam email. The unwelcome emails annoy me because I actually enjoy my emails since I subscribe to lots of amazing blogs, so if you aren’t one of my faves, then you don’t belong in my inbox.

  • I agree with your list completely. However, I think one ‘do’ is missing….providing a clear and easy way to unsubscribe. If I’m not mistaken, it’s legally required for you to provide a way to unsubscribe and it might also be required to be included with each newsletter you send out. It doesn’t have to be an easy or even digital method to unsubscribe, meaning you can provide a snailmail address that a subscriber has to write to to be removed from the list or as simple as replying with “remove or unsubscribe”….either way you must provide a way for your reader to be removed if they wish to do so AND, you must do so in a timely manner. Does any of this make sense? LOL. I’m typing on my iPhone at 3:00 after taking my medication so I hope you can make head or tails out of what I was attempting to say.