Greetings, beloved friends. Yesterday I sent out a brief email inviting people to sign up to my email newsletter. I provided an incentive to sign up (a free eBook). Today I have been carefully thinking through my intentions and purposes; with this blog, with my books, with my email list, and with my online activities in general, and I would like to take a moment to clarify a few things.
In an age where ‘marketing’ is seemingly everywhere, it’s easy to get caught up in what people who are influential in the marketing space are saying. However, as a Christian, I’m aware that I’m called out of the world, and should not be conformed to the world.
The truth is that many people who are interested in marketing worship money, rather than God. The reason why many people promote their email lists and email newsletters is so they have another tool in their armoury when it comes to generating a greater income. Many authors believe sending out email newsletters will lead to increased book sales, so they will become wealthier, which they believe will make them happier.
It doesn’t take a great amount of insight to realise the flaw in the plan, which is that money doesn’t bring happiness. I do of course understand that people have bills to pay, and that having money can help increase influence, which can be a good thing if one has honest and good intentions. As a Christian I believe honest and good intentions mean living a life of servitude to God through Jesus Christ, so this is my primary consideration.
The reason why I personally felt the need to set up an email list is because I thought I would like to be able to stay in contact with this community in the event that my blog becomes unavailable for some reason. I have been sending out a monthly newsletter, but I honestly don’t believe this is really necessary, because my ‘audience’ is my blog followers and there’s not really any reason to share content in an email newsletter rather than on my blog.
My intentions for starting my email list were linked to considerations of security. If a nuclear bomb goes off in the vicinity of WordPress HQ, or if censorship increases dramatically for some reason and my blog is taken down, or if there is an attack on WordPress by some scheming and ill-intentioned anti-WordPress hackers (although all of these scenerios seem unlikely), then at least when the dust settles, I thought, I would still have a way of keeping in contact with at least some of you.
But I am now thinking differently in two ways. The first way is that God is my security, and if my blog were to cease to exist I would simply have to find other ways to reach people. Also, it’s perfectly possible that the structures that allow me to send emails could be affected by the same ill-intentioned activity that brought my blog down (in the hypothetical scenario I described above), and therefore, in this scenario the building of my email list will have been a waste of time.
The more I think about it, the more I feel that having an email newsletter (for my purposes) isn’t really necessary. I will keep my list active for the time being, so you are welcome to sign up and get the free eBook if you’re interested, but I really do feel everything email list related is a bit ridiculous and surplus to requirements (for me).
If you’re thinking about whether or not you need an email newsletter, I suggest you carefully think through your motivations and whether or not it’s necessary, and don’t fall into the same marketing snare that has exerted influence over me personally too much and for too long.
My time and energy would be better spent trying to raise awareness about my books through online advertising and through engaging with the blogging community. Approaching things in this way lines up with the true purpose of my books and my blog, which is to encourage people on their faith journey and to help people come to a knowledge of God and of the Truth, rather than striving to become financially wealthier. I will also pray for the longevity of the WordPress platform, and I invite you to do the same.