Write what your subscribers want or write what you want them to read?

27 replies
Lately, I have been working with one of my friends in the fitness niche. He is, as they say, the go-to guy for muscle building and all.

Starting with a small email list, I am making sure his emails are amusing and less salezzy yet bring him (and me!) some money.

However, on numerous occasions, we had arguments on what should be told to our subscribers. He is more of a "value adding" coach, always taking dictation from his subscribers. For example, he knows there is no such thing as 8-weeks to shred (unless you were a muscle guy before and just recently gained weight) yet he still wants me to write emails that agitate on this fantasy. Why? Because his subscribers love to read them. It gives them good feelzz.

On the flip side, I want to take an authoritative approach on the subscribers. Instead of writing what they want, I am more of feeding them with what the fitness guru genuinely wants them to read.

And I have logics to prove my approach.

The subscribers signed up on his email list because they thought he knows better than them. And holding the good ol' information just because some "feelz good" emails received more replies than the others, is a mere betrayal to the subscriber's trust.

The coach must be dictating his followers. Not the other way around.

Well...well...I know there are 'gurus' teaching to ask your subscribers what they want to read. And then tailor your course/emails/product according to it.


What do you think?

Write what your subscribers want or write what you want them to read?
#read #subscribers #write
  • Profile picture of the author zdebx
    Probably the whole weight loss/bodybuilding industry is based on what they want us to read/know, so whatever approach you take, you won't be doing anything new...

    I guess it's a personal decision about what you think is right, so if ethics aren't your thing, then just feed your list whatever makes you money and be done with it.

    However, if you are an honest guy and prefer to do things straight, then obviously be the "anti-guru" guy and say as it is.
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    • Profile picture of the author Junaid khawaja
      Originally Posted by zdebx View Post

      Probably the whole weight loss/bodybuilding industry is based on what they want us to read/know, so whatever approach you take, you won't be doing anything new...

      I guess it's a personal decision about what you think is right, so if ethics aren't your thing, then just feed your list whatever makes you money and be done with it.

      However, if you are an honest guy and prefer to do things straight, then obviously be the "anti-guru" guy and say as it is.
      Hi,

      Your explanation seems reasonable. As long as you are making money, you better keep doing it? But will this be effective in the long run? I doubt.
      If you are not your original, the mask will fall off eventually.
      I'd rather lure subscribers into unachievable dreams in first few emails and then gently shift towards a more 'anti-guru' hardline approach.

      Thanks for your input. It was a nice addition.

      -J
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      • Profile picture of the author Bill Jeffels
        Originally Posted by Junaid khawaja View Post

        I'd rather lure subscribers into unachievable dreams in first few emails and then gently shift towards a more 'anti-guru' hardline approach.
        So, you'd lie to them to begin with then eventually tell them the truth?



        Bill

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        • Profile picture of the author Junaid khawaja
          Originally Posted by Bill Jeffels View Post

          So, you'd lie to them to begin with then eventually tell them the truth?



          Bill

          .
          Bill, I'd rather not tell them the truth rather than lying. There is a difference, isn't it?

          Does that break any ethical code of conduct? Let it be, then.

          Junaid
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          • Profile picture of the author Mark Singletary
            Originally Posted by Junaid khawaja View Post

            Bill, I'd rather not tell them the truth rather than lying. There is a difference, isn't it?

            Does that break any ethical code of conduct? Let it be, then.
            A pig is a pig no matter how you try to dress it up. Same goes for lies, hype, scams, etc.

            Paul Myers (he ran this forum for many years as an administrator before it was bought out) shared the way he deals with this. I forget exactly how he put it but it was something like share what they need to know (the absolute truth) but wrap it in what they want to hear.

            Mark
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            • Profile picture of the author Junaid khawaja
              Originally Posted by Mark Singletary View Post

              share what they need to know (the absolute truth) but wrap it in what they want to hear.

              Mark
              Hi Mark, you summed it up beautifully!

              Sugar coat the bitter pill, as they say.

              Thanks
              -J
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  • Profile picture of the author Bill Jeffels
    Junaid,

    Actually, let's see, you already admitted what you're offering is "unachievable dreams."

    You write to give them the fantasy because "it gives them the feelzz." You'd rather not tell them the truth.

    That sounds like the old bait and switch tactic. You're offering these people something you know that they are not going to attain.

    Unethical. Yup, I'd say so.

    Bill


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  • Profile picture of the author Janice Sperry
    If you write content that is not true just to boost them up and sell more stuff it might work short term. In time they will realize it is all smoke and mirrors and will unsubscribe and your reputation will be damaged.

    If you write content that is authoritative and tells the truth you may sell less and lose some subscribers initially. However, the ones that stick with you will appreciate the sound advice and will be dedicated followers and long-time customers.

    Also you can always tell the truth but at the same time be motivating and inspirational so subscribers will stick with you and follow your advice.

    If I was in this niche and knew what I was talking about I would rather aspire to be a good leader and a coach than to be spouting nonsense just because that is what some want to hear.
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    • Profile picture of the author Junaid khawaja
      Originally Posted by Janice Sperry View Post

      If you write content that is not true just to boost them up and sell more stuff it might work short term. In time they will realize it is all smoke and mirrors and will unsubscribe and your reputation will be damaged.

      If you write content that is authoritative and tells the truth you may sell less and lose some subscribers initially. However, the ones that stick with you will appreciate the sound advice and will be dedicated followers and long-time customers.

      Also you can always tell the truth but at the same time be motivating and inspirational so subscribers will stick with you and follow your advice.

      If I was in this niche and knew what I was talking about I would rather aspire to be a good leader and a coach than to be spouting nonsense just because that is what some want to hear.
      Hi Janice,

      It's a nice addition from your side. I have had similar arguments with the fitness guy I am working with. I don't know what's wrong but most of the time, people hand-pick advises out of context and start following it. For example, the fitness guru might have heard somewhere to find out what your readers like and then stick with it. And he took the advice so damn seriously (and out of context).

      There is no doubt that we must understand our market. But should the market dictate us on how their problems should be solved? I doubt that.

      Thanks for your input Janice!

      -J
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  • Profile picture of the author VidasVegas
    Give your subscribers real value for free identify what problems they have and provide them a solution to solve they problem if you can do that - you're done
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  • Profile picture of the author onlineworker11
    I think its still a good idea to ask the subscribers what they want answers to,because then they will notice that you care about their opinion.
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  • Profile picture of the author Bill Jeffels
    Juniad,

    No matter how you try to work it it's still shady.

    You're trying to justify you're shady marketing and people are seeing through it. Shame on you for trying to get people while they're down.

    That's the epitome of low. You've admitted your bait and switch technique.

    The lowest of the low. Peoples dreams are in the beholder and you crap all over them. Disgusting. True charlatan.

    Bill


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    • Profile picture of the author gooroo
      Originally Posted by Bill Jeffels View Post

      Juniad,

      No matter how you try to work it it's still shady.

      You're trying to justify you're shady marketing and people are seeing through it. Shame on you for trying to get people while they're down.

      That's the epitome of low. You've admitted your bait and switch technique.

      The lowest of the low. Peoples dreams are in the beholder and you crap all over them. Disgusting. True charlatan.

      Bill


      .
      I see your logic but don't completely agree with it.

      He's basically giving them what they want and then turns them into something they would thank him years later.

      Those people more likely most than anything, have in their mind only an illusion of what is is they really want, they're hyping it more than anyone else.

      Despite that he's making the decision for those people I can't see that as "evil" approach to marketing, and definitely not the "lowest of the low".

      If they already believe in unrealistic methods and results, then they probably would buy a product(or subscribe to a newsletter) regardless, at least if they buy from you they have a chance of doing something they'll be proud of, should they follow your words.

      @OP, I'd say use the words to play with their mind in a way that will help them visualize the results they want you to help them achieve but don't do what you'll not later feel proud about, meaning don't lie. Hype, but don't lie, you can balance it out. The product should always deliver what you promise, given that the customers will follow your guide.
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    • Profile picture of the author Junaid khawaja
      Originally Posted by Bill Jeffels View Post

      Juniad,

      No matter how you try to work it it's still shady.

      You're trying to justify you're shady marketing and people are seeing through it. Shame on you for trying to get people while they're down.

      That's the epitome of low. You've admitted your bait and switch technique.

      The lowest of the low. Peoples dreams are in the beholder and you crap all over them. Disgusting. True charlatan.

      Bill


      .
      Bill,

      It's pity you haven't read my thread fully. I am on the same side as yours.

      I have clearly mentioned in my post that I am against "telling the subscribers what they want". But it takes a muscle of persuasion to convince the other guy I am working with.

      You hand-picked a line out of my replies (Out of context) and naysaying about it.

      -J
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  • Profile picture of the author pinkknight
    This is an interesting and a tricky question J. I think it all comes down to the matter of perspective. You write something and you do your best to presume what your readers are looking forward to reading. That's an understandable thing every writer or marketer will do. On the other side, you may try to introduce something new and actually make people to read, to become interesting. Well, that's a completely different level. So, in a way, I guess that your question should use AND instead of OR. You have to do a little bit of both to be totally effective. Otherwise, if you approach it as an OR thing, you will lose this way or another. With the AND approach which guarantees that you include both what the audience wants and what you want, you get more close to the win-win scenario. Hope this makes sense, lol.
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  • I think your friend has established a marketing strategy, the truth is people want to feel good, that's the value he wanted to provide to his viewers. Now yours, if you want to stick to giving them the real deal that's gonna be your value. You just have to package it real well in your marketing strategy.
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    • Profile picture of the author rehema
      All that are getting started will have to understand concept before we go to far and get tired of what we are doing without any great success.
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  • Profile picture of the author project v
    There is a clamor for the fitness niche from a lot of people, I think for others the feel good content works in the short term period and it gives them sort of motivation to start. Now there has to be some real exercises and fitness to be had in the blog as well for people to continue patronizing it. It's just the way things are, not always hook, line and sinker. You have to attract, and then make it work.
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  • Profile picture of the author Rory Singh
    I write blog posts almost daily and share it with my list. In these posts I usually do a video.

    My whole blog is geared around 'Mindset' in regards to what it takes to succeed online. No sugar coating. I am probably not the most preferred blogger or marketer because I am usually to the point without telling my readers all the bull shit they want to hear from the GURU's.

    I may get less traffic and views but that's okay with me because bull shitting people creates Karma and that stuff will come back to haunt you later.
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  • Profile picture of the author Bill Jeffels
    Junaid,

    I read your post and I didn't take anything out of context.

    As you said yourself..."I'd rather not tell them the truth."

    So, if that's how you and your partner want to do things, that's up to you guys.

    Onward and upward.

    Bill

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    • Profile picture of the author myob
      I am in this niche (body building), and can understand how it may seem easier to pander to your subscribers. The hard truth is that it takes years of hard work and pain to develop an athletic body. There are no shortcuts nor is it easy.

      My approach has always been to begin at the onset with evidence-based exercise routines and explanation. This undoubtedly eliminates casual subscribers initially as well as weeding out the less motivated. However, what's left is generally a highly responsive audience for my product recommendations.
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      • Profile picture of the author Junaid khawaja
        Originally Posted by myob View Post

        I am in this niche (body building), and can understand how it may seem easier to pander to your subscribers. The hard truth is that it takes years of hard work and pain to develop an athletic body. There are no shortcuts nor is it easy.

        My approach has always been to begin at the onset with evidence-based exercise routines and explanation. This undoubtedly eliminates casual subscribers initially as well as weeding out the less motivated. However, what's left is generally a highly responsive audience for my product recommendations.
        Hi myob you are absolutely right. The whole fitness industry dwells on the same dream. What worst is publications like Huffington sharing success stories like "8 weeks to shred" with links of the blogger's web.

        From last two days, I and my friend have totally change the course of our marketing strategy. We are getting more controversial, debunking more myths and repelling more people than ever before. I believe, polarity is one of the strongest factor to attract the right audience.

        Thanks
        -J
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        • Profile picture of the author myob
          Originally Posted by Junaid khawaja View Post

          I believe, polarity is one of the strongest factor to attract the right audience.
          This is perhaps the most effective approach for breaking into any intensely competitive market such as the fitness industry.

          In my experience, where there is heavy competition there is generally polarity or controversy which can be leveraged to your advantage.

          Usually, providing evidence-based myth busting against prevailing viewpoints is more than adequate for drawing a significant portion of the market.

          For example, the fitness industry is particularly a magnet for nefarious marketers spreading incorrect information, half-truths and even outright deception for profit.

          In this and other controversial arenas, one can quickly gain traction by directly challenging the biggest players with evidence-based responses to their factual deficits.
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  • Profile picture of the author aizaku
    do what the creator of the 6 pack abs did...


    he learned through testing that 6 pack abs got the highest CTR..


    so.. he created an entire ebook based on diet, nutrition and exercise that, as a by-product would result in 6 pack abs...

    its a great lesson in marketing.. here is the article on tim ferriss's blog:

    The Truth About Abs: How To Make $1,000,000 Per Month with Digital Products (Plus: Noah Kagan results) | The Blog of Author Tim Ferriss

    have a good one,
    Ike Paz
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  • Profile picture of the author James Clifton
    Well, you and your friend both have a point. I understand how important it is to build a positive relationship with your readers without feeling the need to feed them with misleading information.
    Firstly, if you really want to gain loyalty from your subscribers, you need to know them by heart and understand their needs and wants. If you dont know where to start, you can simply ask them. Also, when you are sending out newsletters, make sure you dont sound like a robot. Remember, youre human. Make them feel like you are here as someone they can always count on... someone they can always turn to for an advice.

    Basically, being too authoritative isnt really going to help retain readership. In this case, you must spread out RELIABLE information without sounding like an angry wolf, and remember to always listen to your audience.

    Cheers!
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  • Profile picture of the author DABK
    People buy what they want, not what they need. They also prefer to buy from experts rather than others, including liars.

    So, short term, lying works. Long term, it does not.

    So, if you're the expert, you give them what you know is true/good for them. That's what your friend wants. You, the marketer, have to find a way to make them want it or find the people who already want it or find a way to tell give them what they need/is true/good for them in a way that makes them want it.

    You making them think they're buying something useful when you know it's not is not marketing.

    It's useful to exercise. You can sell that buy explaining how exercise makes your body work better, you stay healthier. If my doctor told me I have to or I'll have x problem within 6 months, I'll buy. If not, I might but most likely not.

    But if I'm after getting a date, you'd get me more easily to start body building if you tell me that the woman I'm after likes man with big pecs, for instance. You could sell me the same exercise routine book with both approaches.
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  • Profile picture of the author Mattj84
    You should send info about what will help your list the most. To get what you want, you need to help other people get what they want first. Or, what you could do is to send info that pre-frames some type of offer you want to make to them (affiliate product, own product, supplement, etc). This way they are already kind of pre-sold by the content you've been sending and are more likely to purchase whatever your selling. Hope that helps!
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