Why Nobody is Signing Up to Your Email Newsletter (And What to Do About It)

Where's Your Newsletter Gift? Picture by JD Hancock

Note: This is the fourth installment of the Email Marketing 101 series.

A few minutes after I sent out the email, sales began trickling in for my newest product.

Just a few days later I had over 100 sales and more coming in, and I knew I couldn’t have had the same amount of success without an email newsletter filled with people who were interested in what I have to say.

Building an email list is as important to a lifestyle business as proper nutrition is to your body. You can live without it (for a time), but you’ll struggle.

It used to be enough to tell people you had a newsletter to get them to sign-up, but those days are long gone.

If you want to have a successful newsletter, you need a strategy that gets people interested enough to subscribe.

Are there steps you can take to make that happen?

And why do newsletters fail in the first place?

Let’s explore those questions, shall we?

Why Your Newsletter Fails

Imagine you land on a blog you’ve never been to before. It has some interesting content but it doesn’t WOW you.

Then you see the newsletter opt-in form in the sidebar, and all it says is, “Join Our Newsletter for Exclusive Tips!”

Does it grab your attention?

Does it answer the question, “What’s in it for me?”

Nope, not really.

So, can you make your newsletter call to action so irresistible that people drool over it?

And if so, how?

How to Engineer the Drool Factor

Engineering interest (and drool) takes a bit more work than most are willing to put in, but it’s well worth it, because you want people to actually sign up to your newsletter, right?

In order to engineer interest, you have to give people something for their time and effort for signing up.

This could be a free 15-page report, a 20-minute audio podcast, a short video presentation, or even an email autoresponder series.

It doesn’t have to be big, but it has to be focused.

It has to solve ONE problem, and it has to do it quickly. It provides instant gratification, so people sign-up, consume, and want more.

What Does This Look Like in Reality?

It’s quite simple, really.

Create a specific gift you can give away to people when they sign-up to your newsletter.

Then communicate the benefits of that gift, so you make people want to sign-up to see what you’ve got.

If you deliver, and they consume your free gift, they’ll want more, because finding people who know what they’re doing is hard these days.

There’s too much information, and a lot of it is fluff, and if it isn’t fluff, it’s overwhelming, so keep it short and sweet.

Focus on One Specific Problem

The biggest email marketing mistake you can make is to create a sign-up bonus that is too broad.

What you want is to solve a very specific problem.

Don’t think writing, think writing viral headlines for blog posts.

Don’t think losing weight, think the 7 foods that pack on fat (and how to eliminate them from your life).

Keep it very, very simple.

Isn’t This Just a Marketing Trick?

Is it a trick if I tell you to come over for a delicious Swedish dinner, or is it just a friendly gesture?

Sure, giving people something in exchange for signing up to your newsletter can be used as a trick, but it can also be used in a positive way.

If you’re helping people, which I hope you are, it’s up to you to get people to sign-up, consume your stuff, and improve their life.


Let’s do a quick flashback to what we’ve just learned.

Most newsletters fail because there’s no reason to sign up. Don’t just tell people to sign-up, give them something specific that will help them right away.

But that isn’t enough, you also have to communicate the value of your free gift. It has to be specific, helpful, and quick to read.

It’s up to you to get people to sign-up and learn.

What Next?

The next step is simple.

Answer the following question:

What kind of gift could you create that solves one problem in your market and is relevant to your readers?

Think laser-specific, and think small.

You can always tweak it later, but for now, focus on taking action and getting it done.

Photo by JD (CC BY 2.0)

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  1. Bryan Thompson says:

    Henri, this was spot on and just what I needed. And it answered a fundamental question for me about my own email response. It’s okay, but it’s not pouring in. I’ve heard you have to be patient and give it time in the beginning, but my free gift is too broad. I am working on a solution for this. Thanks for the prophetic imagery. 😉

    • Hey Bryan,

      Even if you have a broad gift, you can always spell out the specific benefits people get from that book with quick bullet points or a separate landing page (more on that coming in the next installment).

      Small improvements are key! 🙂

  2. Hey Henri,

    Funny that I just ended watching three videos on becoming unique from PsychoTactics and now I read this.

    Another reason to be as specific as we can about any given task, thanks man!


    • Sean (from Psychotactics) is the master of focusing on one thing. I’m glad you found him. He’ll teach you a lot.

      It’s easy to be vague, but when you put in some extra effort, your content is going to be much clearer and easier to understand.

  3. Heh Henri, As usual great post! It helps me understand why I’ve been struggling to complete my free offer. I’m trying to give too much and in doing so, it’s becoming too broad. (I just have so much to offer clients; it’s easy to keep wanting to give more!)

    Question for you though… Solving just one problem almost sounds like a blog post. How do we differentiate between a rockin’ blog post and a killer free offer? A bit more content?

    Thanks for the clarity!

    • Hey Paula!

      Yup, the simple answer is to add more content. Go into more detail and answer basic questions like (why, how, when, where, what).

      And you can also throw in things like, objections people have to the content, mistakes you see them make, and case studies.

      When you dive into detail, you’ll discover that the blog post almost blooms into a 50-page book.

      Hope this helps!

  4. Storm trooper with a Christmas present pretty much rocks.
    Good article, sending to kindle to re-read.

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