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Free Fellow independent devs, how do you get folks to sign up for notifications?

Panfilo

Existential Risk
I'm approaching 200 folks on my tabletop mailing list, and I'm looking for the next stage of growth strategy other than "suddenly go viral somehow". I know many of yall have either joined an indie publisher or done a Kickstarter, but what was the step before that? In particular, I'm curious about what strategies have worked in getting folks to sign up for mailing lists, KS alerts, or other notifications. For me, giving away free copies of my first DMs Guild product to each new signup (which to be fair is only $2 normally) got me to where I am now. Things like #selfpromosaturday on Twitter seem very limited in their reach. Share with me your wisdom! 🙏
 

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CharlesWallace

Explorer
I'm just a consumer of content, don't produce anything that I try to market. But I can tell you that there are very few things I want to be notified of. I don't say this to be mean or anything, just trying to give you a data point.

In my case, I can list the things I want to be notified about off the top of my head:
1) When matt colville posts a new video to YouTube (but not when he streams on twitch).
2) When KickStarters I've backed post an update.
3) If there's a new version of a PDF I've downloaded from DMsGuild or drive thru RPG.
4) When someone replies to me in a forum thread (like on here or RPG.net, but not reddit).

And notifications have to be pretty infrequent. If they happen too often, I'll block them, regardless of how much I may have wanted them to begin with.

The thing that makes me happy to see a notification is when there's something I've been anxious for in it. So I guess generally, I'm not interested in notifications I didn't actively seek out. I view them as a tool for me the consumer, not as a tool for the producer.

So in your case, for me to want notifications for your mailing list, I'd need to have seen stuff in it before and been impressed enough that I'm excited for the next one to come.

I don't know if that's helpful, and I really wasn't trying to be rude or dismissive or anything. I just thought it was an interesting question.
 

niklinna

Adventurer
I'm also not interested in notifications for the most part. The main reason is, there's too darn many ways to get them now. Back in the day you had email and usenet and that was about it; you could check everything in just those two "apps". Now there's fecebook, twitter, reddit, discord, and every other dratted app on your computer and mobile, all flashing their little red badges at you and demanding your attention.

I'd like to say I default to preferring email notifications, but now everybody uses spambot services that generate emails containing only images and tracking links instead of plain old (searchable) text and honest links. I get one of those and usually unsubscribe immediately. And so I end up being uninformed on things I'd otherwise actually be interested in, and the people using the spambot services never know why. But maybe I'm the only person who does that.

But something tells me I'm not.

In any case, that would be my advice: Have an email signup that sends out plain text-based updates with honest links, and be up front about that.
 

Panfilo

Existential Risk
I appreciate negative information when it's so politely and clearly put! At my current scale, I do send bespoke text + links messages, but at larger scale I can see why automation is so tempting, and eventually necessary. I already try to mention that my mailing list is un-spammy (no ICYMI repeats or weekly "updates"), but that's not exactly an exciting promise. Maybe I'll look for a very short and clear way of saying both that and the bespoke part.

For the non-publisher folks, the holy grail for me is, other than an existing IP you like, what has caused you to sign on? For publishers, I'm open to anything based on experience.
 

CharlesWallace

Explorer
non-publisher again :)

I think for me, it was seeing content from that publisher that was so compelling, I wanted to know when more came. As an example (and again, clearly just me here), I was so caught off guard by how much I liked the running the game videos from colville, that I told my friends about them and also turned on the notification thing in youtube- something I'd never done before.

So in your case, say you have a blog, and I can read some of your posts to get a feel for what you talk about and how you talk about it. If it's compelling enough, I'd want to know when you published a new post. I'd sign up for that. Especially if I knew it was going to be infrequent notifications and I could unsubscribe easily and whenever I wanted. In my mind, infrequent is like every couple weeks.

Oh and @niklinna mentioned discord. I installed that app. It's a sea of notifications. I hate it. I launch it to do one thing, then quit and force it closed because otherwise it notifies me constantly. And I can't be bothered to go into settings and futz around. It's the exact opposite of a useful notification system :)
 

niklinna

Adventurer
Oh, automation is totally fine. It's the nonreadable, tracker-url stuff, and inability to contact the sender, that turns me off. I don't know if there are contact-management systems that send what I can simple, honest emails, but I hope there are and that you find a good one.
 

niklinna

Adventurer
Oh and @niklinna mentioned discord. I installed that app. It's a sea of notifications. I hate it. I launch it to do one thing, then quit and force it closed because otherwise it notifies me constantly. And I can't be bothered to go into settings and futz around. It's the exact opposite of a useful notification system :)
Veering slightly off topic now, but my Blades in the Dark gaming group is on Discord and our GM a player or two rarely check in there, so we really only handle game issues during our zoom sessions. I tried following a game publisher on discord and yeah, multiple individual firehoses all defaulted to full-spray.

I don't know if it's popular/easy enough for you to support, but if you're using a blog, I quite like RSS.
 

Panfilo

Existential Risk
I mute most Discord servers as soon as I join them, including everything but personal notifications. It's a chore, but if you do it as you go it's just a couple seconds. That KickStarter marketing thread by Morrus combined with what I've learned at Cons has given me a pretty decent idea of what to do at the next phase of my career, if I can figure out how to make the leap without an established IP. I was an Enforcer at PAX for a long time, but I was never the best at networking, in case yall couldn't tell 😅
 

TheSword

Legend
I'm approaching 200 folks on my tabletop mailing list, and I'm looking for the next stage of growth strategy other than "suddenly go viral somehow". I know many of yall have either joined an indie publisher or done a Kickstarter, but what was the step before that? In particular, I'm curious about what strategies have worked in getting folks to sign up for mailing lists, KS alerts, or other notifications. For me, giving away free copies of my first DMs Guild product to each new signup (which to be fair is only $2 normally) got me to where I am now. Things like #selfpromosaturday on Twitter seem very limited in their reach. Share with me your wisdom! 🙏
A simple approach is to bundle a respectable prize… as big as you can reasonably make it and ask folks to like, share and tag two people… you can use that format on most social media channels. Then randomize someone who does all three things to win the prize and share the post next month. Keep doing these semi-regularly as long as you can do them. It can spread things quite quickly. Our last post of that type had 7,000 Facebook views, 86 new followers, and about 200 tagged people - that probably accounted for the high views. You can then offer something to everyone who entered like a one off discount on a product.
 

Panfilo

Existential Risk
A simple approach is to bundle a respectable prize… as big as you can reasonably make it and ask folks to like, share and tag two people… you can use that format on most social media channels. Then randomize someone who does all three things to win the prize and share the post next month. Keep doing these semi-regularly as long as you can do them. It can spread things quite quickly. Our last post of that type had 7,000 Facebook views, 86 new followers, and about 200 tagged people - that probably accounted for the high views. You can then offer something to everyone who entered like a one off discount on a product.
This is a great piece of info, and definitely moves contests up on my radar, so thank you! I could put together a small bundle and give it to a chunk of the list pretty easily on DMs Guild, though the value add would only be like $12 (unless I gave multiple copies). Hmm, how could I sweeten the deal...
 

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