Chortles from my email, part 1

This is the first in a continuing series on emails that (unintentionally) tickle me.

“Chortles” is one of my favorite words from my distant past as an English education major. You only see it in children’s books. (I just found out the word was coined by Lewis Carroll of Alice in Wonderland fame.) I like to associate it with milk snorting out of one’s nose during a fit of laughter.

I have decided to become discrete and provide no information that will identify the sender of this email, sent to an opt-in list through a subscription service, though I am reprinting it almost in full. If the writer sees this as plagiarism, I’ll gladly provide attribution, paraphrase or whatever.

Here goes.

First, the original email I received:

Hi Diana,

I have decided to make some changes to my business model beginning this month and I want to be straight up with you about why I am doing this.

I started with the intention of providing really great resources for coaches who wanted to grow their coaching businesses. I decided to provide a huge amount of free information and sell some amazing programs that would detail every step to getting the coaching business success I knew people were looking for.

Here is the good news… a ton of people liked what I do and have joined my list. I have made some money with my telecourses but not as much as I had hoped.

The bad news is I seem to have trained people to take what I offer for free and not buy my home study products. Yes, that is right…too many of you have taken my FREE teleclasses and have not bought any of my home study programs and more people should be signing up for my telecourses and mentoring programs.

Well, the FREE gravy train is coming to an end or at least a very slow crawl. I am now offering a new mentoring program

[Link to website deleted here]

Here is the deal moving forward. I believe that you know you have gotten great value from my FREE teleclasses and I know you know that they are worth paying a small monthly fee so I am cutting the FREE classes to two times a month for June and once a month moving forward in July.

In place of the free teleclass I am offering a mentoring group called [name deleted]. I am adding value and charging a mere $17 a month. So if you value what you have received from the FREE classes sign up for the new program. The price will be going up very soon.

[Link to website deleted here]

Thanks for all your support so far and I hope to get to know you better as a member of [name of program deleted here].

P.S. Sign up now because the price is going up in a few days.

Now for my one-on-one response:

I read your email and laughed. Especially this line: “Well, the FREE gravy train is coming to an end.”

You seem to think that the problem is your deadbeat subscribers who take advantage of you. I disagree. Upon subscribing (and frankly, I subscribe to lots of people and have no real sense of who you are), we didn’t commit to buying anything.

The real problem is that your business model is not working even though all the “gurus” out there that you follow say it should. “They” say that the more you give for free, the more valuable people assume your fee products are. “They” also give statistical examples in their sales pages that assume absurdly high conversion (i.e., purchase) rates.

I suspect they are wrong on both counts. They conveniently avoid the possibility that the more you give for free, the more subscribers feel that they understand your teachings so well that it’s not worth cold cash to learn more. In my case, my coaching is specifically about marketing and less about the life issues that I’d guess you are oriented towards helping people work through. I have no immediate plans to buy an expensive product on your subject no matter how good it may be. As for conversion, if 1-2% of subscribers purchase a given fee product, you are performing in line with industry assumptions.

If you think I am taking advantage of you, remove me from your list. Otherwise, I plan to stay subscribed and see how this develops.

Best wishes, d

The individual responded quickly with a thoughtful look at her situation that eliminates the indignation ablaze in her original message. I feel for her frustration and hope it works out. Now I’m a sympathizer and a supporter (though not a paying client at this time).

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