It’s almost 2021 and I’m starting a mailing list6 min read

Mitchel Lensink De Lens Mailing List

TL;DR
Why a mailing list? Because I like to talk to you directly. We don’t need social media for that. Here’s what I promise:

  • I create beautiful, easy to digest, straight to the point, emails.
  • I put everything I have to say in the body of the email. No need to click anything to view the whole story.
  • I only send an email when I have news. Otherwise I say nothing.
  • I keep it concise, just one or two points per email.
  • I’m honest about my intentions. Do I want something from you? I just ask for it.
  • You can directly reply to my emails with any thoughts you might have. Feel free to forget about standard email conventions as well and just speak your mind.

Overview

A fictional case study in email marketing

“I need a thing, let’s search for it online.

Ah, this company sells that thing. Great!

Oeh, I can get a 10% discount when I subscribe to the newsletter. Awesome.

PING!

YOU ARE NEARLY THERE!

Okay I did it, now where is my discount?

Oh, I just need to confirm my email address.

PING!

THANK YOU FOR JOINING OUR FAMILY!

Okay nice, let’s buy that thing now.

PING!

Wait, another email?

YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE THESE ITEMS

But I just bought an item, leave me alone.

PING!

Please read our top 5 blogs about things that are a little related to your purchase

Oh my days, are they for real with this? Where can I unsubscribe again? I already claimed that discount anyway.

We are sorry to see you go! Would you rather receive our bi-weekly updates instead of our daily emails? Please click below. If you want to unsubscribe, please fill in your email, phone number, first- and lastname, residential address, current profession and what you ate for breakfast.

Screw this, I’m definitely cancelling my order.”

Why I don’t like newsletters

Sounds familiar? That’s one of the reasons why I don’t like newsletters. Another reason is that everybody seems to have a newsletter these days and they’re all stuffed with calls to action and psychological tricks to get you to buy stuff. It might work, but I don’t like it and I think it’s clutter. If I care about something, a brand, a person, anything; give me clear and genuine communication and you got me hooked.

We can all feel it when we’re being sold something. I don’t want to receive your email to then having to click something to go to your website, so that you can monitor my behaviour, so that you can create a persona around me, so that you can then send me better targeted emails, so that I eventually give you my money. That happens so often now that I’m completely desensitised when it comes to email marketing. The only button I still look for is the unsubscribe button.

Social media isn’t the answer

Okay so I don’t like email marketing, social media should be the perfect (semi-)modern solution to communicate with an audience then! It’s personal, it’s direct, it’s easy to access. Everything you’d want.

Almost.

I also have an issue or two with social media. That is that even when you approach it with a genuine and personal angle, it’s still oversaturated. Even if you manage to be an actual human being on social media and don’t fall victim to tricks to game the algorithm (read: buying advertisements) there is still so much stuff going on there. How do you stand out without doing some crazy aerobics?

The fact that these platforms are all owned by big corporations that are in it to eventually sell you stuff (or your stuff) doesn’t help either. I might be overreacting to all this but it just doest sit well with me.

Email without marketing

Which brings me back to email. It’s still a great medium and it’s not going anywhere soon. You might hear messages about how it’s broken and not user-friendly anymore but I think it still beats the user-friendliness of these social media corporations. At least with email, you know what the service is. It’s linear. You write a message and send it to somebody, that somebody receives the message and reads it (and sometimes they respond!).

Email is great. Just, without the ‘marketing’ part. It’s slow enough for you to have to think about what you are writing and it’s direct enough for you to get your message across reliably. You can also assure that there isn’t some algorithm messing with the amount of people who actually get to see your message. If you send it out to 10 persons, those 10 persons receive your message as well.

What do I like about email?

Sure, everyone already receives multiple emails everyday so how do you make sure they actually read your messages. The chances of getting lost in the chaotic mailboxes are everything but slim. I don’t know if all this will even work but I do know which emails I still like to receive:

  • Simple and easy design that’s pleasing to look at. Just some good formatting can go a long way. No need for fancy designs.
  • A clear and concise message. I want to know why you’re emailing me. Spill it out. Don’t send me a list of things you think I might be interested in.
  • I know a real person wrote the email. Not some marketing expert that’s hired to sell me something.

What can you expect from me?

So, what do I plan on sending in my emails? Right now I’m thinking about sending the usual stuff like:

  • Photography tips and tricks I’m learning along the way that I think might benefit other people as well.
  • New blog posts but then with the full text already in the email.
  • Keep you in the loop about work in progress that I’m still finding a place for (this is an exciting one!)
  • New expositions or events I’m hosting or attending so we can link in real life.
  • Major updates to my portfolio page with exclusive new work that I’d like you to look at.
  • New publications like Zines, prints or books that I want you and your family to buy but only if you like them (I don’t want sympathy-buys).
  • Other future endeavours I can’t begin to understand yet.

Final thoughts

Concluding, will I stop posting to social media? No, but I don’t want to rely on that being my only way of connecting as well. Also, can you click through to my website after reading an email? Sure! You don’t have to though. I think that’s special.

Do I think people are interested enough in what I have to share? I have no clue. I don’t have the illusion that I unequivocally deserve your attention. I can ask for it though.

So, will you please subscribe to my mailing list?

Mitchel Lensink Headshot

Hey, I’m Mitchel Lensink. I’m a photographer and writer from The Netherlands. Want to know more than that? You can find out on my about page.

I also have a newsletter called Dialogue that you can subscribe to below.

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