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As a coaches, consultants, creator or small business owners, it's important to set expectations with new subscribers even before they sign up for your email list. You should clearly communicate your email content, frequency, and engagement guidelines to avoid confusion and enhance subscribers' experience.

Are you leaving your subscribers in the dark?

Theater light illuminating the stage

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One evening, my husband and I had a long-overdue date night and saw a live theater performance of Evita.

It was a beautifully done show with stunning dance numbers and singing…but I’ll be honest, there were a couple of moments where I found myself zoning out a bit.

We’re deep into Act II, and the woman next to me – we’ll call her Rude Ruth – is apparently really bored. But rather than just waiting until things pick up again in the show, she pulls out her phone and starts checking her email.

As a rule-follower to a fault, I’m both confused and annoyed about her breach of theatre etiquette.

But I also hate confronting strangers.

So rather than saying anything, I scowl in her direction in a few times, hoping my pointed looks at her phone will telepathically communicate to her to put her damn phone away.

No such luck.

Fortunately the woman behind Ruth decides to take action. She taps Ruth on the shoulder and politely whispers, “Can you please put away your phone? It’s very distracting.”

And you know what Rude Ruth does?

Absolutely nothing. Not a single flinch, not even a hint of acknowledgement. 😲

Ok, now it’s time to pull on my big-girl pants and say something also.

Me: [tap tap tap]: “Excuse me, can you please put your phone away?”

Ruth: …

Ruth: …

Me: 🤔

Me: “Excuse me, can you please turn your phone off? We’re at a show.”

Ruth: “My phone is off.”

At this point, I’m just flabbergasted. I shoot her a look of pure confusion, like, “Are you for real?

I gather myself and respond.

Me: “No, it’s not. If you need to check your email you can do that outside.”

Ruth: [voice dripping with sarcasm] “Oh, is the light bothering you?”

Me: 😲

Rude Ruth clearly missed the memo about what Playbill states is the #1 rule in theatre etiquette: turn off your phone.

(Even if they listed it as rule #6).

If I were a more generous person, I’d give her the benefit of the doubt. It’s certainly possible she doesn’t realize this is a big no no.

Except….I’m willing to bet that Ruth knows better.

But here’s the thing:

We can’t assume everyone understands the expectations unless we explicitly tell them.

It doesn’t matter if it’s a semi-professional theater performance or your email list.

We need to set the stage for our email subscribers so that we’re not leaving people in the dark.

Specifically, here are some steps that you can take so that you’re setting the stage for your subscribers:

Tip #1: On your lead magnet or email newsletter signup form, let people know how frequently you’ll be emailing them and that you’ll also be sending them marketing emails.

Tip #2: After they hit subscribe, redirect them to a thank you page where you tell them exactly what to do next and where they can access the freebie that they just signed up for. (In most case, this means checking their inboxes for an email from you).

Tip #3: Tell them in your welcome sequence or initial email how frequently and when they can expect to hear from you, and what content you’ll be sharing. (This also gets them excited to hear from you and looking for your emails!)

We do this so that people aren’t annoyed or confused by how we’re showing up in their inboxes and then mark our emails as junk, unsubscribe in droves, or flat out ignore us like Ruth.

(All things which can impact the ability of our emails to continue to show in people’s inboxes.)

And like the pre-recorded “please turn off your phone” announcement, you can make this all happen automatically inside of your ConvertKit account or email marketing software.

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