Tim Ferriss Rethinks Email

197 Comments

Pretty soon, many of you will get an email from me.  It’ll probably surprise you.

See, when I sketched out the original 4-Hour Workweek site in 2006 (sorely in need of a redesign), I included an email capture field, as that’s what friends said I should do:

The_4-Hour_Workweek_and_Timothy_Ferriss

Then I promptly forgot all about it. I hated email, so I didn’t want to send you email. Simple as that. Do unto others, right?

But things have changed.

Now, with Twitter, Facebook, WhatsApp, and hundreds of clones, the Internet and mobile are a battlefield of noise. Even if you “like” my Facebook fan page, my updates will rarely reach more than 10% of you.

For years now, thousands of you have complained that Feedburner delivers time-sensitive blog posts days or WEEKS too late. This means missed giveaways, meetups, competitions, Q&As, parties, and all sorts of fun stuff.

Needless to say, this sucks.

So I reluctantly decided to re-examine email. In a world where people change email addresses less often than physical addresses, it just made sense.

My first step was to dust off the keyboard and log into AWeber, which I’d decided was best for me eight years prior. What I found shocked me. I had nearly 300,000 email addresses from sign-ups! Holy negligence, Batman!

Ah, well. Yet another reason for my friends to make fun of me. Enjoy, Kevin Rose.

But better late than never. Within the next 10 days, I will start emailing new blog posts to anyone who’s signed up (on the homepage or the newer blog form), generally around one post per week.  Plus, you’ll get VIP treatment, like private Q&As, exclusive content, giveaways, and other things that don’t appear on the blog.

Here’s the deal:

- If you haven’t signed up yet (or you’re not sure), please do so now. Here’s the link. No spam, ever. Just good stuff.

If you sign up now, your first email will also include a link to a free download of the entire 4-Hour Chef audiobook, which includes narration by yours truly and Neil Gaiman (!). And to kick things off, I’ll be doing a 2-3-hour Q&A — for email subscribers only — next Monday night, 8/11. Ask me anything: business, personal, “inappropriate,” whatever.  Nothing is off limits. Sign up here to get the details via email.  A recording will be made available to email subscribers who can’t make the live session.

I’ll also be giving away a round-trip ticket to anywhere in the world. For details, you guessed it, you need to click here.

- If you’ve already signed up, you’re all set! Please keep an eye out for a welcome email from “Tim Ferriss” within the next 10 days.

It’s not spam. It’s from me.  Following that, blog posts and VIP goodies will show up, roughly once per week.

If you’re using Gmail and my email ends up in your “Promotions” folder, please do me a favor and drag it to your “Primary” so it doesn’t get lost in all the OKCupid notifications and whatnot.

###

And please realize — I and my assistant get about 1,000 email a day. It’s funking unreal, and it’s brutal. No one is more sensitive to email abuse than I am, so I will NOT abuse your inbox.

If you get annoyed, you can one-click unsubscribe. Easy peasy and no BS.

Things will be intermittent (usually once a week, sometimes twice), and posts will be high-quality (like this or this).

As mentioned, I’ll be doing a 2-3-hour Q&A next week to kick things off, and also giving away a roundtrip ticket anywhere in the world. For details on both, just add your email here.

If you have any questions about all this, please ask in the comments! I’ll be paying close attention and answering as many as I can. I’ve literally put off email for years, but enough is enough. It’s the right thing to do.

And thank you for reading. Whatever this blog has become, I owe it all to you.

Pura vida,

Tim

timothy-ferriss-hat-headshot-four-hour-work-week-body-chef

Posted on: August 5, 2014.

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Comment Rules: Remember what Fonzie was like? Cool. That’s how we’re gonna be — cool. Critical is fine, but if you’re rude, we’ll delete your stuff. Please do not put your URL in the comment text and please use your PERSONAL name or initials and not your business name, as the latter comes off like spam. Have fun and thanks for adding to the conversation! (Thanks to Brian Oberkirch for the inspiration)

197 comments on “Tim Ferriss Rethinks Email

      • I hate to be a jerk or a cynic, but for as much as I enjoy the TF podcast, Im finding it less and less relatable. Maybe i’m just not an over achiever like some folks, but Im never gonna be a best selling author or musician, or even get 100,000 emails in a week.

        Just listening to ultra successful famous people on a podcast hasn’t changed my life at all compared to the content of your actual books. I’d rather hear a podcast with some Joe who lost 100 Lb’s on the slow carb than listen to some guy talk about selling 60 million records.

        Like

      • I hear you.

        I think I should interview both types of people. It’s important to keep in mind that when you see “super successful” people, most of them started off as “normal” people. The podcast is intended to showcase the habits, beliefs, and techniques that helped them make the huge jump, which is often an incremental evolution.

        Hope that helps…

        Tim

        Liked by 5 people

      • I don’t. I enjoy learning about people who I can aspire to be like and how they grew their success, most of the time starting from nothing. If you prefer case studies, Tim has plenty on his site and in his books.

        Like

    • I am torn on this point about the podcast. I’ve enjoyed it so far (including the short for podcasts). On the one hand I really get inspired by hearing about the “super successful”. But I would like to hear about the “everyday” person who’s successfully (or not!) implemented strategies from 4HWW, 4HC or 4HB, what feedback Tim might have, etc.

      Like

      • I did. Changed my life. I am a free woman I now tell people I have a lifestyle that makes money rather than a job. I was self employed tied to my desk and not at all understanding what the big deal about being self employed was. My husband and I listened to the audio books on several trips to Flagstaff and back three years ago. We got into action. Last Year we spent 2 months in Europe, This year so far I have had 6 weeks vacation and no impact on my business. I followed Tim’s guidelines and at 54 the mini retirements are the most fun. I have an internet business so it was easier for me to implement but this book really did change my life. Thanks Tim. I am not a millionaire but run a successful business which provides a very good living.

        Like

      • I agree with you u/ronqman. I guess I can’t complain too much, since so far I have loved it, but an average person here and there would be nice, Just a little variety.

        Like

  1. Awesome, Going to sign up now!
    I must check my aweber which I started 6 years ago when I started The Epic Blog (no longer exists). I however don’t think that I have that many subscribers but you never know!

    Whats your thoughts on Feedblitz? Been using that but trying to decide if I should keep with aweber or try out the Aweber email newsletter thingy. Or even both! But then again non at all!

    Good to see the blog back in action btw! What happened there as it was down a few days Tim, good to see it back!
    Cheers

    – PD

    Like

    • Thanks, PD. I am choosing AWeber over Feedblitz, etc. because I want something that isn’t 100% tied to a platform. In this case, email addresses are email addresses. It’s a pain to move from one service to the next, but email addresses are more persistent and dependable than most everything else at the moment. For my current needs, AWeber is a good fit.

      Liked by 1 person

      • I would have to agree with you there, email addy’s are a lot more dependable.

        I remember writing a tutorial series on marrying together mandrill and mailpoet together with WordPress so the user could send out 12,000 html designed newsletter emails each month for free.

        Was a little dated so took down; I may do another one. was a very good system being free. But it did require a little techy type of work with cpanel and advanced dns.

        May be worth testing it out alongside aweber TF. Will let you know once I do another tut series buddy!
        Pura vida,
        – PD

        p.s. apologies for the name on my original comment, I assumed that WP.com would have used my normal name, should all be good now having changed it.

        Like

  2. Read the 4 Hour Work Week last year and have started following you more closely in the last few months. I love learning from you and the people you know. You’re setting a new bar bro, keep it up.

    Like

  3. 300 000 email adresses is pretty impressive for someone who hates email. Didn’t you even used them to promote you last book ?

    I have the same problem. My Aweber account costs me $30/month to save my 1300 readers’ email adresses and I never send any email because I’m lazy.

    Every Marketers say it’s the best way to sell stuff but I don’t have anything to sell in the moment. Anyway, Facebook kill my free time and emailing takes my money. Great.

    Sorry for my english, I’m french. La preuve, j’aime manger du pain avec du fromage. Bonne soirée :)

    Like

    • Antoine, I thought the same thing. I had over 1000 subscribers with nothing to sell. Then someone in my mastermind told me DON’T. Why not just GIVE them amazing content for the next 12 months. DON’T sell them, just befriend them. ENGAGE your audience. Make them excited to be on your list. If in the next few month’s you develop a offer that speaks to this audience, then, sure, send it out. By then, they’re far more likely to buy because they like you and feel like they know you.

      Now, like Tim says, respect their inbox. Don’t bombard them every day. Even one or two great, quality pieces of content per month can be great. Sure there’s other formulas and strategies(ie- 3 pieces of content to every 1 offer) but building a list CAN be an asset, captivating an AUDIENCE is a true value to both.

      Liked by 2 people

      • Kevin, GREAT advice. I should have been sending out blog posts via email much earlier. That said, I associated email with “selling” for some reason. Antoine, keep in mind that I have published 500+ posts on this blog for FREE. I intend to still focus on the content. Good content is king. Then, as Kevin said, if I have an interesting book/product/offer and I think long and hard about it, there will be an audience willing to listen.

        Liked by 1 person

  4. Thanks for that, yesterday I downloaded the book onto my ipad so I can now have you read it out to me as I follow along. Loving your work and thoughts, and the DISSS model its extremely useful and refreshing. Thanks for your honesty and humour its really appreciated… All the best Steve Kelly

    Like

  5. Just signed up! FYI, after I hit “submit” the redirect took me back to your blog. I was not sure if it worked or not, so I tried again. Might be worth having a different custom “confirmation” page that either says “check your email to confirm” if they have not subscribed, or “you are already subscribed” if that is the case. Happy to help you get those set up in AWeber if you like.

    Like

  6. Hey Tim, curious what you plan on doing with the 300,000? Are you going to resend them a confirmation email to opt-in? Just hit them with the first email?

    I know bounce and spam would be really high and that can definitely effect your quality score with the big players (which I’m sure you know). Did you get to consult Aweber on this?

    Like

    • Hi Zac,

      I have the AWeber guys helping me with all of this, as I’m a first timer. We already ran the whole list through the Do-Not-Call (DNC) registry and have taken a bunch of precautions. Definitely trying to do this properly and haven’t been rushing (clearly – ha!).

      Best,

      Tim

      Like

      • Nice Tim, sounds like you got it on lock down! I email around 100k/month and really try to engage and make it useful. I know what a challenge that is.

        I was PUMPED to see that you implemented this on your blog because I think it is huge for you.

        If you ever need someone to listen and give feedback I’m happy to do it (as if you don’t have enough people to help).

        Like

      • Tim,

        I’ve been receiving duplicate emails. For example, on 10/21 @ 7:14PM I received the Maria Popova email powered by Google. On 10/22 @ 4:37AM I received the same email, with a bit different formatting, from Aweber.

        Like

  7. Represent New York Tim! Always wanted to ask you, what happened to
    Your Long Island accent? Do you make a concious effort to annunciate during your podcast and other public events? As a New Yorker living in SF I am not taken seriously if I speak in my native accent. Similar experience? Very curious

    Like

  8. The emailers who have earned their way into my Must Read inbox are:
    – Ramit Sethi IWT (and he emails a LOT)
    – Noah Kagan/App Sumo
    – Neville Medhora (Kopywriting)
    – Laura Roeder (LKR Marketing)
    – Bryan Harris (Videofruit) – who recently wrote an EXCELLENT blog post about the Easiest Way to Turn Readers Into Email Subscribers – in under 30 minutes. This post is all about content upgrades to entice subscribers, if you’re interested in increasing beyond your 300,000. Since you already have your blog post topics tagged, you could include content upgrades like:
    – the 4 Hour Chef audiobook (which you’re doing! but linked to 4HC posts
    – PDF reading list of audiobooks on audible
    – 4HB and Lift challenges
    – compiled notes from the Random Shows or podcast

    I’d noticed Feedburner was unreliable in getting your posts to me right away, so I’m pleased to hear about this change!

    Liked by 2 people

    • Thanks for the mention Andre! Content upgrades are the single best email strategy out there. My buddy Brian Dean (backlinko.com) recently installed them on his site and saw a 758% increase in conversions [pretty nuts].

      Here is a case study he wrote: http://backlinko.com/increase-conversions

      They accounted for 65% of the email subscribers on my site.

      If you need a hand setting it up, I’d be glad to help.

      Like

  9. 1. Signed up
    2. Really enjoying your podcasts
    3. Read 4HWW back when it came out, failed at all of it. Re-reading now and getting much better traction. Guess I got wiser
    4. Read 4HB and executed it for a year with success, great read.
    5. Mutual friend Garrett Gunderson (funny joke about when you were crafting 4HB)
    6. Recently began using an auto responder via mac mail. hit the wrong button and sent every email in my inbox an auto responder message #epicfail
    7. Crushing your book recommendations, thank you.
    8. On a timer for everything, even this bit of time to craft a reply (thank you again)
    9. If you ever come to Sydney, I’m available to assist in the social media world, community building, event help (gratis)
    10. Malbec

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Awesome! We’ve found a lot of your newer content really actionable (i.e. How to Gather 100,000 Emails in One Week), so this will definitely be useful. I find that good, quality content makes up for the overabundance of email in general. I personally spend 1 day per month deleting and unsubscribing from 100’s of emails, but will still subscribe (and sometimes archive) good actionable content. The “Hack of All Trades”, Tim Ferris will definitely be on good list!

    Like

  11. An alternative to Feedburner is feedblitz.com. I’ve set several clients up with them and it works, is fast, and no long delay between posting and emailing to your list.

    Like

  12. You know- I’m quite glad you’re doing this. We already have an idea of the quality you offer, and we know you don’t try to sell us unnecessary stuff.

    This week I unsubscribed from Ramit Sethi, Noah Kagan, and Neil Patel. I love those guys. I think they honestly try to add value as much as possible, and they hustle like crazy. But I’d get 10-15 emails a week from them (combined), and often the value just wasn’t there, or I felt like I was being funneled.

    As long as you keep up the quality that you’ve always delivered, and focus on depth in your content instead of volume, I think we’re gonna love your emails.

    best of luck with this!

    Like

  13. I listen to the 4 Hour Work Week audiobook probably three times a year. The fact that you got Neil Gaiman to join you on 4 Hour Chef is a total collision of my professional development and recreational reading worlds! I’m in, Tim. Well played.

    Like

  14. I tweeted this at you, but thought I’d comment here too – be a bit careful with your older emails. I know that both MailChimp and MailGun lock you out of your account if you exceed 5% bounce rate, and if you’ve been accumulating (but not cleaning) emails for the past 3 years, it’s likely gonna be quite easy to hit that 5% bounce rate.

    You may want to re-verify them, segment separately, and/or use a email-cleaning solution

    Like

    • Thanks, Sol. Totally agreed. I’ve been working with AWeber and a bunch of teams for months to reverify, remove inactive/old emails, delete honey pots, etc. This email stuff is an entirely new world!

      Like

  15. This is great news…

    Like most things, a database of email addresses can be abused but content led emails as apposed to sales led always het better open and click through rate so it is actually a great medium for you because of the quality of your posts.

    Facebook has become a slightly different beast and is doing lots to get people to spend money on extending the reach of posts, even to your own fans which is fine because the shareholders need to get paid but it does make it difficult to get time sensitive stuff to people and Twitter only takes scrolling through the feed a little too fast to miss something…

    Look forward to receiving your emails.

    Great work as always!

    Like