When I launched my blog’s newsletter a few years ago, I promised a new, subscriber-specific coupon code every month. I figured this would entice people to sign up, imagining they’d need a tangible reason to invite me into their inboxes on a monthly basis. I based this assumption on my own preferences: Canned roundups of recent posts irk me, but new, interesting, valuable content makes me appreciate the time and energy other bloggers pour into their email newsletters.

A few months back, I hit a bump. Coordinating a different discount every month was considerably more work than I’d anticipated, and I was running out of partnership-worthy vendors. So I sent a newsletter without a code. And there was no deluge of angry emails or disenchanted unsubscribes. I realized that — since I wasn’t actively pushing for new signups anymore — many of these readers might not even know about the coupon code promise. I also realized that I might have been putting undue pressure on myself.

So I polled my subscribers: A tiny portion responded — only 44 in all — but out of that group only three said they’d abandon ship without a regular supply of coupons. The rest either didn’t care at all, or were just fine with sporadic codes. I was unspeakably relieved.

And it got me thinking about how much time and energy I’d wasted chasing after a newsletter feature that had probably never been a deal-breaker to my readers, and how important it is to do an audience check-in on occasion. Not just in my case, but in the cases of most regular email newsletters. Features and content that were integral to your newsletter’s launch may become stale or superfluous a few years in, but you won’t know how your audience feels about them unless you ask. So ask!

A poll is the simplest way to do this. That said, I’ve got 2,100 newsletter subscribers and only 44 responded to my poll, so don’t expect the majority to weigh in through a poll, no matter how simple it may be. Requesting email input can feel a bit like opening Pandora’s box, but if you can create a dedicated email address for responses and get help sorting through them, this route will lead to more and deeper feedback. You’ll definitely want to request responses to specific questions to keep subscriber emails as concise and relevant as possible, but be open to other input that may flow in, too.

This subset of your customers, readers, or fans is invested in you, and they may have innovative or insightful suggestions that they’ve been itching to share.

Or they may just want to tell you that no, they don’t care all that much about what’s new in the CEO’s personal life or that yes, you should keep the cute dog photos coming. Either way, they’re more likely to stick around if you consistently give them what they want. So reach out, ask questions, and let your subscribers know you’re listening.