Be Ruthless

By Jessica Albon

Be RuthlessI don’t have much of a green thumb, but every year, I fill a flower bed with zinnia seeds. And every year, they sprout up in clumps–lots of baby plants in one spot, lots of dirt in another.

According to the package, I’m supposed to thin these clumps. And though I know it leads to healthier plants, more flowers, and a better-looking flower bed, every year I avoid the task until it’s too late.

Two weeks ago, I sent an email to my list sharing my brand new report, “Unmask Your Irresistibility “ For whatever reason, the link didn’t work for everyone. (Sorry about that!)

Most of my readers were delightful about it–they sent me a quick emails telling me they really wanted to read the new report and asking if I could send it directly.

But one reader was less-than-delightful. He was pissed. (“Outraged,” actually, he said in his email.) In his view, I had deliberately wasted his time by sending a broken link. He even went so far as to suggest that I had intentionally sent a broken link so that readers would email me.

To be clear: I get more than enough email ;-). I love hearing from readers, but I don’t need to manipulate anyone into emailing me.

I emailed him back, apologizing and letting him know that the link worked for some people, and it certainly wasn’t my intention to send out a link that wouldn’t work for him. His response? He called me a liar. (Yikes!)

For me, that’s an automatic disconnect.

See, if I’m worried about one or two readers on my newsletter list, that skews what I write. If I’m trying to prove this fella wrong, I’m not focused on writing great content.

If you want to unmask your irresistibility, it’s crucial that you get really, really choosy about who you let on your list. And that means being ruthless. It means creating your own policy for Who’s Not Allowed.

What kinds of behaviors get someone automatically unsubscribed? When they’re rude? When they don’t leave their first name on your subscribe form? When they’re a competitor? When they criticize your grammar?

For me, I’m pretty relaxed about this–the only readers who get unsubscribed are those who are pretty outrageous or a clear mis-match. But that’s because I like hearing from my readers when I make mistakes (keeps me honest), and I genuinely like many of my competitors.

Your newsletter list isn’t supposed to be a free-for-all just because it’s free. It’s a service you offer. It’s something you invest your time and money in to make it wonderful. And just as you need to show up fully in this commitment to your list, you also need to take full responsibility for who’s on your list.

That means getting really ruthless with who’s already subscribed. It means pruning out the subscribers who don’t belong, for whatever reason.

Just as thinning those zinnia plants helps the plants that remain grow healthy and strong, so does thinning your newsletter list help your Tribe grow healthy and strong.

Today, I challenge you to be ruthless. Make your Who’s Not Allowed list and then cull at least 15 people from your list. (If that doesn’t seem like nearly enough, feel free to do more!) Maybe you’ll drop that former client who you’d really rather never work with again, or that reader who entered, “None of Your Business” as their first name.

Then, come back here and post that you’ve done it. Feel free to share your new criteria, too, if you’d like.