Life lesson: Warm up that list

Last time I wrote about relaunching Freelancember, an ancient bit of content marketing we run every December to bring notice to Noko time tracking. Reuse is great!

But there's a catch.

When you haven't emailed folks in a year — especially a year like this one — you can't just hit the ground running.

People will have forgotten you.

We're all forgettable (sorry)

I can't tell you how many emails I receive from SaaS tools or other companies that I probably dealt with before but absolutely do not recall. And yeah, when it comes to names I've got the memory of a slightly concussed goldfish, but this is not just me.

Where do these unrecognized emails go? Straight to trash, no trial, no nothing.

Sometimes folks will even report you for spam. Not good!

And this is even more urgent if you're restarting a long email sequence, like I am with Freelancember. Nobody likes to be suddenly dropped into a 31-day email sequence without refreshed permission.

So… short of throwing out your hard-won list and starting all over… what do you do?

Follow the principle of least surprise. It isn't just a good design philosophy for code and interfaces, it applies to everything you do with humans.

Tell people what you're gonna tell 'em, before you tell 'em.

Remind 'em who you are and why they're receiving this email.

So I sent out a warm-up email, the bullets for which were, essentially:

  • Hey, remember this thing you signed up for?
  • It's about to start again! Enjoy!
  • (Alternatively, unsubscribe, link below.)

And, as you can see, it worked: 53% open rate and 37 unsubscribes.

The next email or two in the sequence also had a higher unsubscribe rate than usual, but it dropped off dramatically from there.

Reminding people works!

Screenshot of Convertkit stats for an email titled "Freelancember starts tomorrow!" 964 recipients, 52.9% open rate, 3.4% click rate, 37 unsubscribes
Screenshot of an email. The text reads: It's the most wonderful time of the year.  Freelancember is back! Last year (or the year before), you signed up to receive 31 days of our best freelance tips, tricks, and worksheets from Noko's advent calendar. Tomorrow we begin again! And you don't have to lift a finger, the goodies will start arriving in your inbox tomorrow. There's simply no better time to refresh than this magical time between the old year and the new. We here at Noko wish you the happiest December, and a joyous 2023. Yours, Amy Hoy, CEO, Noko Time Tracking