Frictionless Email Marketing?

By Jamie McSloy / October 10, 2017
frictionless email marketing featured image

Email Opt-In Misconception

People want a frictionless life.

They want it to their own detriment. We’ve got machines to automate the most basic of tasks and soon Internet of Things manufacturers will mean we never have to leave the sofa again in our lives.

This is great because who wants to do their menial chores when they could do something else?

It’s also terrible on two fronts:

  1. Despite increasing automation, people work harder, more and for comparatively less money
  2. We’re fat, lazy, sick and we all hate our lives

So, there are the psychological, physical and societal fronts by which a frictionless life is like opium for a junkie.  Add in the fact it’s created a generation of people who get upset at the merest hint of friction (i.e. somebody voicing a dissonant opinion) and you have the recipe for a miserable existence.

In short, the answer is to deliberately build friction into your life whilst taking advantage of the opportunities automation has to provide.

Now, I’m pretty sure none of you come here for philosophical opinions. I hope not, anyway.

(Time Out: If you’re enjoying this article, then you should probably sign up to my mailing list, where I give out ideas and business tricks that I don’t share publicly. Click here, fill out your details and get yourself on the list! You won’t leave this page.

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This blog is about giving you advice so that you can build a better life for yourself and a better world for everyone else… and our tool is business stuff.

So why the tangent? Let’s find out.

A Lot Of People Say, “Make The Process As Easy As Possible”… Here’s Why They’re Wrong

I’ve been watching YouTube videos today for a new project.

Now, most YouTube videos involve either a person looking at the camera and giving you information or a live demonstration. It’s very rare that you get long-form sales letter-styled presentations on YouTube, but you get those too.

Anyway, I’ve been looking into a new subject by watching videos. One guy does great videos, but they are irritating.

He switches between live video where he’s talking to the screen, demonstrations where he’ll show you what he’s doing, and PowerPoint slides to explain and give more detail into what he’s doing.

This switching between the different formats was driving me insane. Then I realised that it’s an effective way to make YouTube videos.


Because I had to pay attention. I didn’t even realise until I watched these videos how little attention I pay to videos that don’t do this. I’ll swap between windows, switch to look stuff up on Google or otherwise try and multitask.

With a video that keeps going silent and having more information just presented to you for reading, you can’t do this because you’ll miss bits.

This is better than the average video where you can zone out, but it has more friction. A lot of people won’t watch the videos because they have to pay attention.

But what does this tell you in terms of a lesson in internet marketing stuff?

The More You Require Of Your Reader, The Better Your Reader Quality

I read an article recently about email marketing, and specifically, the opt-ins you use to build a list.

Some of the information was pretty good, and it backed all of the arguments up with statistics. I disagreed with the key argument though: that you should make it as easy as possible for people to sign up.

The article argued that you shouldn’t ask for your reader’s name (just their email,) and you shouldn’t have a two-stage or double opt-in. also, you shouldn’t have the two options on your pop-up or opt-in form as opposed to one.

In other words, don’t have “Would you like to sign up? Yes/No”

The argument stated that this would decrease opt-ins.

I don’t disagree with this argument; having extra steps will put people off. It’ll decrease your rates of opt-in significantly.

Here’s where I disagree.

You should want to discourage people. Unless you’re selling your list and you really don’t care about retention or engagement, you don’t want more subscribers just for the sake of it.

It’s better to have a thousand subscribers who want to be on your list rather than a million who never open a single email.

If you make people opt-in and then confirm their email address, you’ll decrease the amount of emails you get. But if a person can’t muster enough interest to click a confirmation link, then the chances of them opening their wallet and putting in their details to pay you are even lower.

On the other hand, if you make people put their name, email address and ask them to give you some thoughts, you’ll get much lower rates, but you know you’re getting an audience that wants to engage with you and probably invest in you too. They’ll open your emails, respond when prompted, give you suggestions about your business and stay on your list for the long haul. In other words, they’re exactly what you want.

Final Thoughts

I’ve talked about list building here but this applies to pretty much every part of business. Unless you’re McDonalds and you’re just going for cheap, easy and impulsive purchase buyers, then you don’t want to attract low quality customers. Nor do you want people who are only there because they got duped into being your customer.

Don’t be afraid to experience a drop-off in eyeballs if it means you’ll get better concentrated customers. Make your audience work a little and you’ll find your value per customer goes up massively in the long run.

Philosophically it’s also a great business model to have because you’re counteracting all the big societal things I mentioned in the introduction too. Namely weak, uninspired and unoffended people who don’t want to be challenged in anything.

But again, this blog isn’t about fixing society as a whole. One at a time. Build a little friction into your system, reap the rewards later.