Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Communications: Overwhelming Success Becomes Overwhelming Failure

I'm going to rethink the format for my weekly SMB Email.

And I welcome your feedback.

If you haven't been receiving this free resource, please go to the Great Little Book web site and sign up now.

First, let me share what I've seen with other information sources delivered by email.

I have three unnamed examples in mind. One is massively large software company with a million things going on. One is an international organization with a visible leader, reporting on all things inside the organization and affected by the organization. And the third is an organization dedicated completely to helping its members be spectacularly successful.

In each case, I have subscribed to an email list from a person I know, whose name and face I recognize.

In each case, the email came on a more-or-less regular basis and was very helpful.

In each case, the email filtered the universe into a finite number of things that were really useful to me.

In each case, the email list grew to be very popular. More subscribers. More information. Move promotions. More and more and more. Overwhelmingly successful.

and then . . .

In each case, the email became a huge long thing that no longer filtered the universe. It seemed to be so complete that it tried to represent the universe.

And, at that point, each email became useless. I found myself glancing through it to see if there is anything interesting. If nothing popped out of the jumble of information, then I deleted it.

In each case, the email grew to the point that collapsed from its own weight: too full of information to serve as a filter.

All successful resources are in danger of dying because of their own success.

For Example:

I used to have a TPAM who truly filtered my Microsoft universe. He called me with one or two things that really needed my attention. So I did whatever he wanted.

My current TPAM just throws everything he can at me. I just got off a phone call in which he walked me through the same powerpoint slide deck he uses with everyone else. Unless I miscounted, it had links to 84 opportunities, web sites, webinars, trainings, conference calls, TS2 events, etc.

It did not include the big SBS Build event in Sacramento at the end of the month.

- - - - -

If I could take true advantage of 1% of what Microsoft offers me, it would dramatically improve my business.

- - - - -

But the same is true with Robin Robins, The ASCII Group, SMB Nation, SMBTN, MSPU, MSPSN, Comptia, and a half dozen other groups.

As the recipient of all this information, I put a premium on the few people and few resources that help me filter "the universe" of things I need to pay attention to.

So, all of that gets me thinking about my own little mailing lists.

My SMB Email list has a very good "open" rate for a list of it's kind. I have a very consistent 30-45% open rate on each email. Believe it or not, that's good.

But I am also under a lot of pressure from more and more people to include announcements that they think my audience will want. So far, I've kept that email pretty well focused on what *I* think you need to know right now (plus a blatant ad or two for my books).

I provide a pretty complete calendar of the major in-person events you might want to attend this year. We have about 35 events.

We also have upcoming SMB Conference Call Speakers.

And some general B.S. and commentary on our business and what's going on with books and seminars at Great Little Book Publishing Co., Inc.

If I need to make changes to keep up with your information needs, let me know.

But my goal is to NOT repeat information you are likely to get somewhere else.

I don't want my weekly SMB Email to collapse of its own weight.

Please let me know what you think and what direction it needs to go. Even if you don't want any changes, I would appreciate that feedback.

You can post here or email karlp@greatlittlebook.com.

Thanks.
:-)

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