I love great tool deals, and I know many of you do too.
I’ve been meaning to post about what makes a tool deal good enough to post about, but that’s a story for another time. Today, I’ll be talking about the best way to ensure you don’t miss any of the deals I post about.
I suppose there’s an option for browser notifications, but quite frankly I hate those pop-ups from other websites and always opt out.
In addition to being featured on the ToolGuyd.com home page, headlines are pushed to our Twitter and Facebook accounts, as well as our RSS feed. For the savviest of RSS users, there’s a “DealGuyd” feed (RSS) where you can set up your own notification services.
Newsletter subscribers have complained over the years about time-sensitive tool deals ending by the time they receive an automatic ToolGuyd newsletter email the next day. This led to a cut-off threshold of 11am ET.
I sometimes missed the cut-off.
After a couple of complaints I implemented manual overrides. Let’s say it’s Cyber Monday and a new “deal of the day” post goes out at 3:30pm ET. I can override the 11am ET timing and push an email out to daily subscribers at 4pm.
Daily newsletter subscribers should have received yesterday’s deal post, which emphasizes part of a larger deal I posted about several day earlier, at 1pm ET.
Here is what ToolGuyd’s newsletter subscription form looks like:
Special newsletters are rare, but I set the form to automatically toggle this option for you. Then, there are daily automatic updates and weekly automatic updates.
In addition to when you first subscribe, each email will have a link at the bottom where you can opt into daily newsletter emails.
This morning, a reader emailed in, complaining that they received an email after the mentioned tool deal was already over.
I’m sorry, but if you’re only subscribed to weekly automatic update emails, you’re going to miss out on a lot of time-sensitive tool deal posts.
There’s not much I can do about overriding weekly emails. You get a once-a-week email Monday morning at around 11am ET, and that’s it.
Daily email subscribers will typically see 5 or 6 emails a week, more if time-sensitive tool deals justify it.
I am open to feedback and suggestions. This is maybe the second time someone wrote in complaining that they missed out on a deal, but I feel the blame is unfair or at least misdirected.
If you want tool deal notifications emailed you to a timely manner, the easiest way is to opt into a daily automatic updates email subscription.
There has never been a need for me to offer an intermediate email frequency between daily and weekly newsletters, and even then, bi-weekly or tri-weekly subscribers are still bound to miss out on deals.
I suppose I could set up a separate tool deals subscription option, but I treat tool deals as regular content, and so the frequency varies widely between once in a while and multiple times a day, depending on the time of year.
With all that said, if you’ve missed out on tool deals because you received our email newsletter late, I would like to remind you that:
- We have both daily and weekly newsletter options
- I am always open to suggestions as to how to better reach you about new tool deal and post notifications
I get it, sometimes a subscriber signs up for emails and doesn’t remember their preferences later on, or sees that they can update their preferences from the bottom of every newsletter email.
If signing up for daily emails fulfills your needs and wants, that’s great! And if it doesn’t, I am open to alternate or additional options and am in need or ideas or suggestions. With deal notifications and pretty much all aspects of the ToolGuyd.com user experience, I can’t fix a problem or serve a need I’m not aware of.
Do you have any plans for UK/Europe deals or will this be US-only?
Unfortunately, I don’t.
I’m in the USA, and so are a majority of readers. I could possibly try to keep an eye out for Amazon UK tool deals, but quite frankly it would add too much to my workload.
I think what people might be complaining about are the email notifications appear to be coming late. I’m on the Daily Automatic Update and looking at my mail history a lot of notifications about posts come in the day after they are posted. I did get notification emails about the Olight S1R sale both yesterday at 10:19 AM PST and today at 8:01 AM PST, but I haven’t gotten an email about this post yet, likely tomorrow. I hope that helps.
Right, since this was posted after today’s daily thing already went out, it’ll get sent with tomorrow’s. Not a big deal for regular content.
Stuart, I think you’re going above and beyond what most content creators would do in terms of making sure people get possibly time-sensitive things in time. There comes a point where people also have to put in their diligence and effort as well. If a reader wants deals spoon fed to them without having to put in any effort on their part, then this site (or most other sites) aren’t the right place for them. They need a personal tool shopper or something. Otherwise, I’ve seen the extra-editions of the daily thing when there are time sensitive deals that miss the cutoff, which I greatly appreciate and also think are honestly above and beyond.
If you’re that concerned about missing a deal, keep toolguyd up in a browser window on your mobile or other device (tabs are not that expensive computationally), and check in on it yourself occasionally. If you’re that concerned about missing one, set up twitter or facebook notifications as is mentioned. If you’re really concerned about missing a deal, set up RSS. There’s plenty of free RSS readers out there that just take a couple minutes to set up. Let’s face it though, these are tool deals. It’s nice to catch them if there’s something you’re looking for, but it’s not going to end your life if you miss one. I think readers also have to realize this is a blog, run by a human, with the attendant limitations thereto. While tool deals are often posted and relevant, this blog just isn’t the best “source of truth” for tool deals. There’s plenty that just get missed because there’s only so much time you can put in being a deal-hunter, some that may not be as big or as interesting to the wide base, etc. If people are really serious about getting a deal, they need to be smart about their sources, which usually means using multiple. Slickdeals is crowdsourced, so catches a lot more than a blog by a couple people ever will. There’s other sites as well, e-mails from retailers that can be monitored, all sorts of other alternatives as well. Not that I don’t appreciate seeing the deals here (and it’s where I first see a lot of ones I may be interested in to dig into further), but it is not your responsibility to make sure every reader gets every deal there is on whatever tool it is they may be interested in.
It’s like the tradeoff triangles, have it cheap, have it fast, or have it quality, can’t have all 3. In this triangle there’s the reader’s level of interest in getting the deal posts, which is influenced by if there’s a specific product they’re looking for, if it’s more just in general what deals are going on, etc. Then there’s the amount of effort the reader is willing to put in to get notified of those posts. Lastly, is the timeliness of the notifications of the deal posts.
Effort takes many forms. Reading an e-mail every day is a higher level of effort than reading an e-mail once a week, but indicates a higher interest in getting the notifications as a reader, and also means you get them more timely. Checking in on the website multiple times a day is more effort than a daily digest e-mail, but if you’re truly interested in getting the deals and want them timely, then you have to increase the effort to match. Setting up an RSS reader is again a higher level of effort, but if you’re really interested in getting the deals, and again getting them timely, that may be the level of effort you as a reader have to put in to balance the triangle.
I think you as a content creator have done more than your share in making it as easy and as friendly as possible to get notifications of these deals, and provided multiple friendly and commonly-used avenues for doing so. As readers, folks need to step up and put in their own effort to go the last mile, as suits their interest level and needs in getting deal notifications. Blaming you Stuart for them missing a deal is unfair to you, particularly given the level of effort you already put in on their behalf. It indicates to me somebody who isn’t willing to do their part to get what they want, and that’s ultimately on them.
Well put Tim.
Sorry if that came across as addressed to you, I was just replying to the this post will be in tomorrow’s e-mail thing, then I just put the rest in the same comment.
The thing about the e-mail times you posted matches what I saw. The olight thing yesterday was after the regular cutoff, so I imagine Stuart manually sent it out around noon (CST), then I also saw it in today’s regular update which was on time around 10 AM CST. So yeah, that reinforces for the person who wrote in (and the point of this post), if you do the daily updates, Stuart is pretty good about force-sending them when called for, and that would have captured this olight sale at least.
Thank, you, I appreciate it!
There have been a couple of instances over the years where I’ve had to remind subscribers of the options available to them, and it’s not a big deal. The point of this post was to serve as a reminder and open request for feedback.
If one person speaks up about a question, concern, complaint, criticism, or request, others will usually share in it but without necessary vocalizing. And so, a reminder seemed appropriate.
Tool deals are regular here, but usually infrequent or unpredictably spread out.
The subscriber who wrote in wasn’t so much disappointed about missing this deal; they missed a few deals due to late delivery, and I sensed they were worried they might miss out on a deal they might otherwise be interested in or benefit from.
As for the feedback and suggestion request part of this post, a lot has changed over the years, and there could be features or services that some readers might want and that we could implement without too much trouble.
A few years ago, I started pushing post titles and excerpts to Facebook because a reader requested it. When I redesigned the ToolGuyd theme and layout to be mobile-friendly, the previous/next post links disappeared and someone requested I bring it back, and so I did.
A subscriber being signed up for weekly emails and blaming me for their missing out on deal posts is unfair, and sometimes I take accusatory tones a little personally, but it seemed like an honest mistake.
I considered adding a “latest deal” feature on the website, but it’s easy enough for interested readers to check the front page, new post sidebar column (on desktop), or DealGuyd category.
If someone requested a tool deals-only email, that’s something I might consider, but it could be difficult. Well, not difficult, but tool deals aren’t posted with regular enough frequency, and I don’t think there would be much interest in it being a public subscription option.
I once toyed with the idea of “DealGuyd” being expanded into a bigger thing, but felt it would take too much away from regular content and review efforts.
I created the manual email override a few years ago, and it’s basically a second email campaign that I flip on to force-send a time-sensitive deal, and then I flip it off after the email sends. There’s a second manual override, thanks to the craziness of the holiday shopping season which had me finding and posting about time-sensitive tool deals multiple times a day.
Mobile vs. desktop users is now 2.3 to 1 (past 30 days). There very well could be better ways to set up better alerts for tool deals and other types of posts, and asking for suggestions or requests would serve as a good start.
If a post is published after 11am ET, it gets pushed to the next day.
With COVID-19 keeping everyone home, my schedule has been affected.
I don’t have much content scheduled ahead of time these days, and there are a lot of days where I can’t get in front of a keyboard early enough to ensure I meet the 11am cut-off time. It’s usually not of consequence unless the post is about a timely deal, in which case I override the newsletter and it gets published at the next hour mark.
A consequence of that is that there are several campaigns (one always active, two serving as manual overrides for timely deal posts), and so you’ll see the email the next morning at 11am as well. I aim for timely deal posts to be published prior to 11am ET, but it doesn’t always work out that way.
I just read the website every day and check for updates every few hours. Problem solved.
Thanks, I appreciate it!
Things are slower these days, but I’m also working hard to improve things for down the road, to allow for faster work and a return to the previous 2 and 3 posts per day routine.
Granted this could and should have been done earlier, but my worries about how disruptive the gargantuan efforts would be to set up my workspaces have proved to be fully accurate.
I’m just sad that you don’t actually buy me all the cool tools that you post about.
Just kidding! Seriously, I’m in Hawaii so I miss out on nearly every time sensitive thing because of how many time zones away we are. We’re still sleeping by the time half of these things expire or run out. I guess that’s the price of living in paradise. Unbelievable shipping prices, great weather, and missing out on most tool deals.
I’ll sign up. Have you thought about getting chrome notifications set up? Keep up the good work.