Tomorrow it will be 1 year since I started writing this weekly newsletter.
I sent my first email on May 11th, 2016.
This email will be the 59th since then.
All my previous emails are available HERE.
I’d like to share with you what I’ve learned so far, including the why, the good, the bad, and the future.
2016 started with me focusing on learning everything I could about online marketing.
In January I attended an exclusive mastermind with Dan Martell.
That meeting was the catalyst for a series of connections, events, and projects related to online marketing.
One of the main takeaways from all my interactions was the importance of growing and nurturing an email list.
I was told repeatedly that the most valuable asset of most online businesses is their email list. I took me a while to understand its value but after digesting hundreds of hours of content from experts, it finally made sense.
Trust is the number one reason people buy. Building trust takes time. It takes time to build a relationship that inspires trust. The best way to build a relationship online over time is via email.
Of course, there are many other ways to build trust online. Via a Facebook group, via Twitter, Instagram, via a blog, via a marketplace.
But email – everyone told me – is still king of all channels. Email is the most direct way to connect. All the other channels are great to funnel followers to your email list. The real magic happens in the email inbox.
I had a sense of the power of email albeit indirectly. As my following grew on Udemy, I noticed it got easier to recoup my investment in creating a course. I created a new course, sent one or two announcements and within 24 hours I could make $10 to $20K.
My Udemy announcements were sent via email to all my students, but Udemy owned my student emails, not me. In the long term, that’s a high price to pay because it’s the platform that decides when and how you can build a relationship with your customers.
So in 2016, I set on a mission to own the customer relationship by growing my email list. There are tons of resources out there to learn how to do so. My favorite one was VideoFruit by Bryan Harris.
In a nutshell, my original goal was to grow and revive my existing list so I could sell more of whatever I wanted to sell, video production, online courses, chorizo cookies, trips to Mars, etc.
However, as I kept writing emails something didn’t feel right. I felt like I was writing with an ulterior motive – to make money. I was writing to build trust so I could make money?
This is what everyone, every brand, every marketer, every company does. They provide value, they play nice, they entertain you, they tell you what you want to hear because then you’ll be 10% more likely to buy their crap. To me, it felt disingenuous, to say the least.
I don’t think all marketing is crap. Some may be even necessary, but the challenge is to find the right balance. Do marketing with taste or don’t market at all should be the mantra.
Learning how to do marketing with taste is not easy, it’s an art. So over the last year, I’ve been trying to get better at it. Eventually, I didn’t see progress and gave up. I just couldn’t see myself writing with money-making as an ulterior motive.
When was the last time you saw an ad on TV for Tesla?
That’s the best marketing. When your product is so good it doesn’t need a marketing budget.
In fact, I’ve come to this conclusion. The quality of a product can be measured by calculating the ratio of its reach accomplished for free (word of mouth, others talking about it) compared to paid reach (ads, PR campaigns, blogging).
Start doubting a product when you see it advertised everywhere. Something is fishy when it takes so much money to get people to buy it.
That approach simply doesn’t resonate with me. I may be doomed to not make the millions that a different mindset could provide and that’s fine.
Most successful entrepreneurs never sat down and wrote a zillion marketing emails to build a company. Actually, I’m a living example of that. I built Grumo Media sending almost no emails over 5 years.
There is not question that Grumo Media would have been a lot bigger today If I’d invested more in marketing. However, I knew that if the videos we produced were good more people would ask for them, and so far that’s how the business has survived. Word-of-mouth is the best marketing indeed.
So why did I keep writing?
Because of you. Over last year, your feedback has been very positive. Also because I enjoy writing. Because writing is rewarding in itself.
And now a bit about the good, bad, and future of my writing:
I’d like to say I’ve become a better writer but honestly, I haven’t seen much of an improvement.
I still struggle with basic spelling and grammar. That’s even after being a maniacal reader, taking one grammar online course, and using the Vocabulary.com app every day.
Oh well, I still suck at writing. Moving to from Spain to Canada when I was 19 may be a factor. But even If I fail to express myself as well as I wished, writing is still a bit of a cathartic experience.
Writing is the perfect channel to liberate mental pressure from thought accumulation.
I have many thoughts so I’m sure my brain is thankful for this weekly mental vomitation.
For sure, the best part of writing has been my readers. I’ve been able to connect and reconnect with many of you over email, Skype and even in person.
Those connections are invaluable and have made the effort all worthwhile.
Time. Writing these emails has taken a lot longer than I anticipated. They take anywhere from 4 to 8 hours to write and because I usually wait until the last day, it means on Tuesday nights I end up going to sleep around 4 or 5 am. A few times, I didn’t even go to sleep which pretty much ended up wasting my entire Wednesday sleeping during the day.
Impact. This weekly newsletter has been so far the project with the least ROI I’ve embarked in the last 6 years. It’s hard to measure, but in terms of revenue generated, I would guess it has been less than $2 per hour invested in writing.
Should I keep writing?
Writing for the sake of writing is still rewarding but, at this point, I’m not truly convinced that writing weekly is the best use of my time.
This year I want to spend more time building tools that make a positive impact in online education and writing weekly takes one entire day of my week.
Maybe writing once a month? a quarter? never again?
You tell me…
Peace, love, and cookies.
P.S: How will I decide whether to keep writing? I’m a metrics nerd so I won’t keep writing unless I get 100 responses encouraging to do so. I may still write but probably a lot less often.
P.2.: I’m planning a trip to San Francisco in June. I’m looking to connect with experts in A.I., chat bots, learning tools, and Burning Man. If you know anyone I’d love an intro. Gracias!
P.3: This week’s winner of an official Grumo t-shirt is… Peter McAlindon! (please reply to this email with your shirt size and address)
P.4: Did you miss last week’s email? No problem you can read it HERE.
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