Dear Reader

Would you rather have a huge mailing list of potential contacts who might one day become clients and who occasionally read what you send them, or a small mailing list of fans, who read your email newsletter every month?

I know which I'd rather have, which is why we've recently done a big clean up of the Scribbles mailing list. If you're still on it, it's because you opened the last email I sent without deleting it and you didn't unsubscribe. If you're still on the list and you'd rather not be, just click the link in the box on the right that says 'Still Scribbling?' and you'll help make my list smaller and more targeted.

Read on if you'd like to know why I like it when people delete my emails.

Best wishes,


Please Delete This Email!

I started publishing Scribbles as an email newsletter in July 2004. My mailing list had 250 people on it – people I'd met at networking meetings or who I'd spoken to. The open rate of the first issue I published was 100%. Yes, everyone opened it! This was probably out of curiosity and is something I see a lot with first issues.

The high open rate continued for some time – it remained over 80% for nearly two years. By then, the list had doubled in size. It's continued to grow ever since and when I published the October 2013 issue, it contained over 1600 contacts.

It's great that my mailing list has grown. It's a sign that I keep meeting potential clients and referrers; it means the sign up form on my website is working. This is all good news, isn't it?

Well it would be, until you look at the open rate of my newsletter. That's been in steady decline for the last few years and dropped as low as 25% this summer. Even the special issue that invited all our clients to our 13th Birthday Party, was only opened by 53% of those who received it.

This pattern is something we're seeing with most (but not all) of the email newsletters that we write and publish for clients. Over time, as the mailing list grows, the open rate declines.

What's going on?

Do people get bored of reading what you send? Do you change what you write so that it's no longer relevant to them? Do your readers change their email addresses or even go out of business? Do your emails get caught by the new Google Mail trap?

With some people, it's hard to tell. A few years ago I changed the way I wrote Scribbles. Instead of filling the newsletter with 'how to' marketing tips, I wrote more about the 'why' of marketing. A couple of people unsubscribed, telling me they no longer found it useful. Never mind! They were the sort of people I was hoping would leave my mailing list.

But what about all those people who don't read what you send and who don't bother to unsubscribe? Last month we sent out a plain text email, inviting you to unsubscribe if you want to. And a number did! Most of them I didn't even know (or couldn't remember!) so I wasn't too sad to see them go. Anyone who deleted the email without even opening it was removed from the list. A number of emails bounced back to us and they were removed too.

We've also gone through the list and deleted anyone who hasn't opened the newsletter in 2013. I guess they're not interested in hearing from us any more!

But there are still many people on my list who aren't opening the newsletter, so we'll keep working on the clean up.

How is your mailing list looking? How are you getting through to your contacts?


Please Unsubscribe from Scribbles!

If you don't often find the time to read Scribbles or it's no longer useful to you, PLEASE unsubscribe using the link in the box below.

I promise I won't be offended!

And you'll help me build a much more targeted mailing list.

If there are other newsletters you receive but don't read, why not clean out your inbox by unsubscribing from some of them too?


Loyalty Prize for Long Term Readers

Have you been on my mailing list since I started publishing Scribbles?

If you think you were one of my original readers, drop me a line.

The first 'original' reader that I can verify will win a copy of my new book, One in Ten!

It's full of stories, business advice, mistakes to avoid and lessons to learn - everything from the first 10 years of the life of Appletree.

If you're not quick enough (or you've not been reading Scribbles for nearly ten years!) then you can order you own copy for just £12.99 from my website.


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