I received the first “why are your tool deal emails always late?!” complaint of the 2020 holiday shopping season today.
I wrote about this a few months ago, here. This happens every year.
Here’s the thing – we have 3 email newsletter options:
- Special Newsletter
Before we get into it, here’s the newsletter subscription link, and with the recommended checkbox settings already toggled.
Subscribe to Daily Newsletter Here
The newsletter subscription box usually has only the “special newsletter” checkbox toggled. The link just above has the “daily automatics update” checkbox also toggled, and you will usually see the same when there’s a subscription link in a Black Friday or holiday season deal post.
If you have suggestions or feedback on how the newsletter could be better, please let me know!
The daily newsletter is sent out at 11am ET, every day for which there are new posts at ToolGuyd.com in the preceding 24 hours.
The weekly newsletter is sent out at 11am ET Monday, when there are new posts at ToolGuyd.com in the preceding 7 days.
The special newsletter gets sent out whenever there’s a manually-crafted email to be sent out, which is very rarely.
Everything you need to know is above, and deeper discussion of some of our email newsletter practices and decisions follows, along with a brief message that can be summarized as saying “please don’t be a jerk.”
ToolGuyd Daily Post Timing Practices
I try for time-sensitive deal posts to be up before 11am ET, in order to make the newsletter cutoff. Let’s say I post about a particularly compelling tool deal at 12pm ET. Based on reader and subscriber feedback, I now have manual settings for the daily subscription, and so you will usually get a second email at the next-nearest half-hour I can schedule it for.
I have a second alternate manual setting, just in case there are multiple “don’t miss this!!” types of holiday season deals that I believe will sell out or expire before the next 11am ET newsletter goes out.
I don’t like to do this – send out multiple emails per day – but I will if I believe daily newsletter subscribers will benefit or prefer it.
What About Weekly Subscribers?
But for newsletter subscribers who opt for the weekly newsletter? There’s not much I can do.
During the peak holiday shopping season, which seems to be all of November this year due to COVID, there will be deal posts every day. What would you have me do – manually push out weekly newsletter subscriptions on a daily basis?
The way I see it, daily subscribers will forgive me if there’s an extra email or two per week, or couple of extra emails, as I believe was the case during Cyber Monday week last year.
But for weekly subscribers? One extra email per week would be DOUBLE what you signed up for. Which day might that even be for? Thursday? You’re still going to miss timely deals most other days.
There doesn’t seem to be any middle ground. Weekly newsletter subscribers will almost always miss out on “deals of the day” and deals where supplies are limited.
I could perhaps change things for Black Friday – creating a special second newsletter of the week there, or for Cyber Monday, but what about the rest of the season?
If you’re a weekly subscriber and unhappy that you’re missing out on all the sold-out or expired tool deals, consider updating your user preferences and sign up for the daily newsletter. This doesn’t have to be a permanent change.
Frankly, this is the best remedy I could think of, short of eliminating the once-a-week option and simply ending daily newsletters to everyone.
Sometimes subscribers forget that there’s a more frequent delivery option, and that’s a big part of the motivation behind this post.
There’s a link at the bottom of every email newsletter where you can update your preferences. You can switch back at the end of the holiday shopping season, or earlier if you’re tired of the email bombardment.
If you need help, I can make the change for you, although it’s far quicker and easier for you to update your settings than for me to do it.
Best Feedback Practices
Please don’t yell at me for emails being “late” or “after the fact.” Emails are automatic, and I go to reasonable lengths to ensure that more time-sensitive posts are published prior to the daily cut-off time. And when that’s not possible, I send a second email out manually. I even set most giveaway end dates with email subscriber inclusion in mind.
Sarcasm doesn’t give me warm and fuzzy feelings either.
There could be another setting between daily and weekly email frequency, but I have never felt it to be necessary. Daily and weekly settings have always seemed to be enough, and no one has ever asked for more options.
There are lots of things you can yell at me for.
“My spouse is angry at all the tool shipments that came in this week, so I blamed you to get out of the dog house.” (Join the club – I blame ToolGuyd as well!)
“Thanks to you, I’ve saved so much money on the tools I need, but I don’t know what to spend the rest of my budget on!”
For for other things, I’m only human, and there are some things that aren’t my fault or ToolGuyd’s – things like the email newsletter frequency that subscribers sign up for.
“Thanks for nothing” is also a sure way to incur my ire. To that reader – that your local home center has tools marked the same in their regular shelf placement as in the holiday gift center promo display does NOT mean it’s not on sale, it just means that staff is updating pricing as they’re supposed to.
If you’re going to craft feedback to me this time of year, or really any time, here are some examples of more effective approaches:
I would like it if:
It would benefit me more if:
Could you please:
Have you considered:
I never take kindly to hostile communications, but the increasingly frequency of “it’s all your fault” and “you did something wrong” tone I’ve been seeing lately is especially frustrating.
I suppose I could encourage communications and customer service or support practices I try to adhere to as a customer – be polite and convey what you want. If more people tried this, a lot of the nasty “this email is useless, all the deals expired” emails would sound more like “how can I get more timely email newsletter delivery.”
Quite a few people seem to be unaware or forgotten that ToolGuyd has different newsletter subscription delivery options, and that’s okay. Seriously, I made this mistake once or twice as a subscriber before as well. Being hostile or rude can be understandable in some situations, but not here.
I am much more willing and eager to try to improve a situation – even when it’s not at all my or ToolGuyd’s fault – if the request is polite and respectful, and am sure that most people feel the same way.
I appreciate you and this site immensely! Keep up the good work. My only gripe is you don’t post enough! 😛
Thank you! Be careful what you wish for! =)
I have also learned from the past, and have a mix of other content prepped for when the “too many deals, no one wants this” comments start coming in. There’s always a couple every year.
I also appreciate immensely. Tool deals are an addiction so I just check back 2-3 times per day.
If there i nothing new posted…then I only spent 30seconds. If there are new posts that look time sensitive I check them out right then. If it’s a review and not a deal I may bundle them into my evening reading.
Regardless, I’m not sure I could defend anyone complaining about emails or timelyness of the posting because it’s essentially a free service (no direct cost to us).
Please keep up the great work. Good luck over the next 2-3 weeks!
People are upset that a free blog doesn’t give them enough information to save money. Good lord. I’d find a way to pull their email address from email notifications all together.
I’ve never had issues seeing deal emails in a timely manner when I’ve been able to open email and go looking at a deal. My schedule and [in]ability to shop isnt something I’m going to bother you with.
On another note, I’m not sure how your emails are distributed but do they get sent directly by you or a third party? Reason I ask is that in the case of our kids’school, my wife and I get the same email from them at different times. Sometimes they are minutes apart, other times it’s a couple of hours with no rhyme or reason why. Something like that may play a role in your user’s dissatisfaction.
I use a 3rd party service, and the emails typically go out in batches maybe? I know I’ll sometimes see a timestamp of 11:03 or 11:05.
I’ve run tests before, and there’s never been a big delay between when the emails are sent and when they’re received by my test email accounts.
We use iContact and Sendgrid and can see delays of up to twenty – thirty minutes at times with big email blasts – but often delays are on the receiving side (google Greylisting for an example).
There is something in the American psyche that makes us love a bargain and sometimes go to seemingly extreme measures to get one. I grew up in an age where newspaper advertising was king. The Sunday and Thursday papers were filled with ads this time of the year promoting holiday sales. The Sunday paper could be read at leisure because stores did not open until Monday morning. But I knew folks who would try to get the early edition of the Thursday paper so they could line up their “battle plans” for Friday. While the radio advertising in my youth seemed more laid back – I remember the toy ads on the emerging medium of TV. Then in recent years TV news showing the folks line-up for “doorbuster” deals at the mall or big-box store.
The Internet and online shopping has transformed all that – and the pandemic has upped the ante further. We still seem to still be a bit obsessed with getting a bargain – but now sense that we are competing with a whole larger dimension of shoppers compared to the line in front of the WalMart doors waiting for opening time on Black Friday. So now we don’t wait on the newspaper truck delivering the early edition – but on email and text messages. Stuart, for his part, must be keeping wicked hours to spot the deals that he does to help us at this time of the year and our shopping. So I thank him for that – and for keeping us entertained during the rest of the year. But, as we probably realize, if we miss a bargain, it will not end life as we know it – and we should shrug it off contemplate our blessings and decide how best to pass some of that along to others in need at this time of the year. Then we can also bless (or curse as we may feel) Stuart in his aiding and abetting our quest for new tools at bargain-basement prices.
Thanks again Stuart for what you do,
Thank you, I appreciate it!
*knock on wood* as long as I’m able to, I’ll be up late Thanksgiving and the day before Cyber Monday, so I can compile the deal posts as early as possible to provide as much benefit as possible.
I need to be careful though – 2 years ago I wore myself out right after Cyber Monday, and it took me a month to fully recover from strep and pneumonia. Not enough sleep can really mess with one’s immune system.
I did better last year. But, this year is all over the place due to everyone being home and due to COVID expanding the deals schedule.
Tool deals are still impactful for me as a shopper now, despite my tool budget being greater than when I was younger. Nobody likes spending more on something they know might be discounted soon, which is why a lot of people (myself included) put off some non-essential tools until there are holiday promos, and others are simply looking to stretch limited funds.
I didn’t start off with deal posts and Black Friday guides for affiliate revenue or web traffic, it was because I wanted to spend wisely on my own tool purchases. Sorting through everything allowed me to create shortcut guides so that when Black Friday hit I could buy with greater ease and organization and for maximum savings. Somehow that became habit.
Plus, it really bugs me when channels/magazines who don’t know tools try to promote mediocre deals as being amazing bargains, and it’s all over the place these days. The Dewalt DCD771 kit is $99 again this year, but despite the mass media hype about that entry-level brushed motor drill, there are 3 better Dewalt cordless drill kits I’d recommend at the same $99 price point. I almost feel compelled to set things straight.
Hopefully this year with things more spread out, we’ll see less “specifically black friday” and “specifically cyber monday” deals, so less to do around then. I think overall that’s a good thing, lately it seems like Black Friday and to a lesser extent Cyber Monday have become physically dangerous to go to, and/or the lines have continually gotten longer, so you’re investing more of your time just in order to get a deal. There’s opportunity cost to standing in line to save $50 on an already-cheap TV. I don’t want to knock that being worth it for some folks to be able to get a TV they might not be able to otherwise, and I’m not a fan of people who don’t need a TV and don’t really need the savings going to get it “just because it’s a deal”. But it’s gotten so crazy with people lined up for limited deals it’s just insane. And now retailers are having to manage the insane with tactics like “tickets” to purchase a given item to avoid stampedes and such. Maybe COVID will be a turning point that the monthlong deals will give enough sales that retailers go more to that method in the future, rather than a one day blowout event.
What’s a newspaper?
Toolguyd is offering email subscriptions options that serve 80% or more of its readerships needs. On top of the amazing content, it comes at a frenetic pace this time of year. No other site, that I follow, trust or am aware of, is turning out tool deals multiple times each day.
Blaming toolguyd for not sending deals in a timely manner? I mean seriously, what’s next? How about some personal accountability? As readers have the ability and a responsibility to ourselves and wallets if we are if so interested in snagging a deal.
All we have to do is check the site.
Keep up the great job Toolguyd and thank you!
Thanks for all you do all year long! You have saved me money and helped me spend more money.
Thank you!! You are very welcome!
To change from deals to companies, here’s a China Law Blog about SBD closing its Shenzhen factory:
(BTW, the article overall is more negative about China than China Law Blog typically is. )
Thanks for sharing that article. Interesting stuff!
We [China Law Blog] have become extremely negative about China in the last two years, based on what we have been seeing. Truth is that pretty much every American and European company that manufactures in China would prefer to manufacture somewhere else. It is simply a question of whether they can do so economically. We are expecting a large number of companies will leave China once COVID subsides; they just are not well-positioned to do so until that happens. We have already helped a ton of companies get out of China and set up in Vietnam, Thailand, Mexico, India, Sri Lanka, Cambodia, Indonesia, Taiwan and the Philipines, and yes, the United States too.
If you’re not refreshing the site every ten minutes looking for new posts (and comments) – you may be doing it wrong.
I don’t know if this is the best place for it, but I found this interesting Fastback variant today; it’s not on sale, but may be interesting to some.
You have to be able to ignore the morons out there. There seems to be an increasing amount of them. People who think they are entitled to this or that and blame everyone else for their issues.
Hope your website keeps doing well.