Every week I sit in front of the computer with sweat trickling down my spine into my intergluteal cleft as I panic about what to write in my weekly newsletter. I writhe, squirm and agonize to find a topic that not only interests my ‘mailing list’ but that I know about and might spread a little love.
The mailing list
Apart from my mum, a few regular yogis and my neighbour (who incidentally never reads the newsletter), who are these people on my mailing list? I have listened to many a podcast scrutinizing ‘how to grow your mailing list’. In case you were planning on doing the same, allow me to save you a few life hours -the answer the experts give is ‘tell people about it’. This is top of my to do list followed by organise my taxes and descale the kettle. This does, however, mean my list is small. But rather than small, I like to think of it as being ‘boutique’. A select bunch of random people who are intrigued with what I am offering. My aim is to create community and connection, and of course to entice people to do yoga – preferably with me.
Sell, sell, sell
There are only so many ways that you can say ‘come and do my yoga class’. Listening to the marketing hotshots, it’s all about finding your audience’s need and then fulfilling that need. This sounds very clever ‘n all, but I can’t exactly phone everyone and ask ‘what do you want from me?’ Although that is apparently what I should do. I’ll add that onto my list.
Undeterred, I put on my Saatchi & Saatchi hat to lure people to my online classes with seductive headings.
- Are you broke? Yoga will make you rich. (The advertising standard commission wouldn’t have a leg to stand on here. Yoga can make you richer as a person, just not financially richer.)
- Are you short? Yoga will make you taller. (I am still safe stating this. Technically speaking, you are 1cm taller in the morning than when you go to bed. Thank you gravity and uncompressed cartilage. So do Yoga in the morning.)
- Are you ugly? Yoga will make you gorgeous. (Beauty is in the eye of the beholder would be my line of defence here. However, this wasn’t very successful. I suspect no one wanted to be seen to be part of the ‘ugly class’. No one came.)
Feeling that my killer sales tactics needed a little polishing, I decided instead to write and share the random things that I was learning about and tickled my fancy.
I discovered that the reason we all think we should do 10,000 steps a day is because in 1965 a Japanese company launching a new pedometer thought that 10,000 looked like someone walking. It was a marketing strategy. This myth was repeated so often, it became ‘fact’. Apparently, 4400 steps are enough to help significant reduction in mortality.
Fascinating stuff. But now doubt engulfed me as I sat frozen in front of my computer. Who was I to dispel this myth? Was I encouraging people to do even less exercise? Will I be the cause of thousands of premature deaths? Ok that was wishful thinking… the ‘thousand readers’ not the premature death part.
The sheer weight of what I was doing rested on my shoulders. Was it really true that it was a myth? Or was this itself an advertising myth? It became imperative to check my new alleged fact. The research began… ‘Japanese pedometer companies in 1965’… Writing my short little newsletter was now like writing a PhD.
Make it pretty
In one newsletter I explored the idea that our bone structure affects how we perform a yoga pose. An image speaks a thousand words they say. Rather than explaining it all, I will draw it. Debating long and hard whether tracing the image from the textbook would be a copyright infringement, I decided I would create a quirky, yet brilliant image. It would be so good, you might even want the image on a t-shirt. I made a note to investigate printing t-shirts. The only minor hitch is that I can’t draw.
Rather than starting with the traditional bowl of fruit, I went straight into a portrait of my dogs. My aim was to draw like a pro in a week. When my other half saw my creation, he commented that my ‘two tarantulas fighting’ was really good. I ended up cutting and pasting the image from the textbook and giving £4 to Save the Spider charity to appease any guilt from copyright infringement.
Tear my heart out, why don’t you
Writing a newsletter takes a lot of energy, you put your heart and soul into it and then that is it. You send it out into the ether and have no idea how it lands. Does it sit festering with the discount offer for Viagra and the notification from the Bank of Nigeria to collect your $7 million inheritance? The marketeers have got this covered, analytics. To my mind, the word itself encapsulates within it what this going to be like. The microscopic and thorough dissection of those who received, read and clicked your email. Did they laugh? Were they eating? Did they have spinach between their teeth? Analytics will tell you this and much more.
You need to be brave and strong to read the analytic report. Never, never read this last thing at night as the nightmares are woeful. Many a time I have had my heart torn out of its nestling place as someone ‘unsubscribes’ from my mailing list. Why? What did I do wrong? Don’t you love me anymore? I’ll change. I’ll be better. Please don’t leave me.
The irony that only last week I removed myself from twelve mailing lists because I felt irritated at not having time to read them, isn’t lost on me. Unsubscribing from OTHER people’s mailing lists is perfectly acceptable and even empowering, but not from mine.
Then something amazing happened. An email from someone saying how much they enjoy my newsletters and if ever I wrote a book to please let them know! One of the reasons for my newsletter is to entice people to come to my class, but instead I managed to sell a copy of a book I haven’t written (nor have any concept of.) This was such a wonderful compliment, I was tickled pink.
Then the compliment floodgates opened. Another person and then another took the time to say they ‘enjoyed my newsletter’. Three whole real life people! My head got so big, I couldn’t fit through the door. (If I were a marketing strategist who could draw, I would use 10,000 to illustrate my pumped up ego).
What became clear to me was despite my ‘just get on with the job, you don’t need any praise’ attitude, I was like a purring kitten on my belly kneading my paws into the air, basking in the glory of praise and I did need it.
Spread the love
This got me thinking. In this time where we are all getting on with it, surviving and isolated and probably in our PJ’s – an important energetic exchange is missing.
Communicating online is wonderful, but this energy exchange gets diluted in the ether. Being in a real-life classroom and seeing the rolling of eyes as you tell students to hold the pose for 1 more breath. Hearing the little puff of air as someone laughs at your silly remark or sensing a beaming, warm smile as they leave the class. All of this feeds us. This communication informs me about the effects of what I am doing. At present, this exchange is missing for many of us. Then add to that the energy input for a newsletter/ blog /video etc and the yearning for a ‘like’ on social media makes perfect sense.
Next week’s newsletter is going to be all about how you are doing a great job, a compliment and acknowledgement about how genuinely fantastic you are. I may even do a little drawing so it hits home, but mainly my aim is to spread a little love.