How I Lost My Biggest Fans

Written On Day: 1164

Almost every successful blogger will tell you that email subscribers are a major contributor to their success. Darren Rowse on Problogger wrote, “I cannot imagine my own blogs without email. If there was one tip I’d give on how to grow a blog it’d be to get serious about this in 2012!”

With email subscribers it works like this: people like what you have to say so they give you their email address and allow you to periodically send them information and offers.

Over time successful bloggers collect thousands of email addresses. This is direct access to thousands of people ready to listen to what you have to say and sell. Write a new ebook and it takes just a couple minutes to send an email to all of them.

I do not have a email subscription list. It is a mistake, but it is not my biggest mistake.

Collected Emails Full Of Praise – Not A Mistake

Instead of a subscription based newsletter to collect email addresses, all pages on my site have a contact form which visitors can fill out and send me an email. They can make a comment, ask a question, or tell me how great I am.

I read the comments, I answer the questions, but the emails that praise me go into a special folder. The folder is called happiness.

When moments of self doubt surface, a couple minutes browsing through the happiness folder and I am back to being master of the universe.

Unlike other bloggers with 1000′s of half hearted subscribers, I had 103 people in this folder who love, praise and worship me – a loyal army ready to do my bidding.

Wrote An eBook For Vanity – Not A Mistake

Strictly out of vanity I wanted to be a published author. So I wrote an eBook,converted it to Kindle (good place to convert your ebook and publish it on Amazon), and published on Amazon (self published is good enough for my level of vanity).

To see your eBook appear on the Amazon website is a spiritual feeling. Your book is there just like Stephen King’s book. A cover imagine, a look inside option, comments section and an Amazon sales rank number.

Unfortunately everything was not exactly the same for me as for Mr. King. His comment section had comments and his sales rank was not a six digit number.

Books without positive comments and reviews do not sell. I needed people to review my book and write a review.

Time to call in the troops. I opened my happiness folder.

Asked My Loyal Email Fans For Help – Not A Mistake

I created a template email. Something like: ‘Hello reader, you mentioned in the past that you really like my site. I have written a book. I will send it to you for free and if you like it, maybe…if its not too much trouble…you can write a comment about it on Amazon.’

Going through every email in my happiness folder, and with small changes to the template, I sent 103 emails.

The response was immediate. My loyal fans said: ‘that’s great, I would love a free copy of your book, I am sure it’s wonderful and yes, I will write a comment on Amazon’. My inbox was filled with these enthusiastic replies.

I sent out free copies of my ebook and checked my Amazon page for comments.

Then I checked again. And then I checked again.

At present, 3 months later. 101 out of the 103 people who love, praise and worship me did not write a comment. Most of them didn’t even thank me for the free book.

Selling Catfights To Cat Lovers – A Big Mistake

Why did my biggest fans put in the effort to write an email simply to praise me but then completely ignore me after I sent them a free ebook?

To answer this question here is an example of a similar mistake.

Sandy has a site which documents how she goes around the city and collects stray cats and matches them with cat loving families. Every post describes how a half dead cat found on the street was brought back to health and given a warm home.

Cat lovers send Sandy emails full of praise – thanks for saving cats. They say she is doing an amazing thing and some even offer to send money if it means another cat saved.

Sandy doesn’t want to just take people’s money. She wants to give them something in return so she decides to write an eBook and sell it to her readers – if they want to give her money they can buy her ebook.

She writes the book and sends it to her biggest fans: ‘Hello biggest fans, here is a free copy of my new ebook – How To Place The Winning Bet At Illegal Catfighting Tournaments’.

Then she waits for praise.

No praise comes.

I made the same mistake. My site is about one thing (the struggles of making money with a website) and the ebook is about something else (how to start your own website). My biggest fans were readers who enjoyed reading about my struggle. They were expecting one things from me, but I gave them something else. They expected a book about struggle – instead I gave them a how-to book.

One of my fans wrote me, ‘I don’t understand, did you send me the wrong ebook?…the one I received is just the usual how-to book for websites. Sorry but I cannot endorse this ebook’

My biggest mistake – I lost the trust of my biggest fans.

No Trust, No Fans

The people in your email list trust you – that is why they gave you their email address. And as long as you send them relevant and honest information they will continue to trust you.

Before you hit the send button and ask your email list for help make sure its not a request that risks losing their trust. Because you will lose your biggest fans (or at least it is very embarrassing to ask them for anything again).

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  1. March 11th, 2012 at 14:34 | #1

    Hey Roman, thanks for sharing this experience with the world – it’s a powerful post, and I know from experience how hard it can be to publicly share struggles and stumbles. :)

  2. April 7th, 2012 at 15:49 | #2

    Wow, Roman, intense post man, really.

    Danny’s right, most people have a lot of difficulty sharing stuff like this, but by doing it I think it has the weird effect of making people trust you more :)

    Good things there’s tons of people in the world, and more eager fans are just around the corner :)

    Rock on and ryze up!

  3. October 23rd, 2012 at 12:58 | #3

    I just created my website a week ago, this morning I landed on yours. Your website is perhaps the most honest AND informative about what it is REALLY like to start your own website. You are awesome and your contribution is greatly appreciated. Many Thanks.

  4. December 26th, 2012 at 16:47 | #4

    The honesty you’ve shown since your first post, no lies, no you can get rich in 3 days posts, I really appreciate that and I am sure others do to. I really hope you get the success you want.

  5. January 25th, 2013 at 18:36 | #5

    Hi Roman,
    I stumbled across your site while trying to convince myself to never actively seek backlinks and I’m really pleased to have found it.

    I can relate to what you write so well and you really put into words the experiences I’ve had and still have (though your perseverance is extraordinary – which will pay off for sure). I also started in 2009 and my first website was a great success in terms of effort/reward and still is.

    Now I’m trying to make not just money but lots of it with a newer website and really if I had anything like your traffic on it, that would be pretty awesome.

    If you ever want to guest post on my site, just let me know.

    Big ups from a fellow traveler on pretty much the same journey.

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