Back in April, I had the privilege of speaking at Newsletter Fest (“A FREE online conference to ignite your newsletter strategy!”) and you can watch the talk here.
The polite version of how this talk came to be is that Curated asked me to come on and talk about email newsletter myths. The real version is that the lovely Ashley Guttuso and I were talking about how everyone and their mom wants to know how long their newsletters should be as if there is a magical number they need to hit (there is and it’s 42).
And I was losing my temper.
The problem is not that people have this question. The problem is it’s the wrong question. Length is irrelevant to whether or not someone is reading your newsletter ( @ me bro. I will die on this hill).
“No one is reading your newsletter because it is boring!!” I blurted out to Ashley.
I don’t know why we don’t want to say this. It’s boring! Not poorly written, not too long, not “sent at the wrong time of day.”
We read plenty of poorly written emails sent at stupid times that are way too long (or short).
We’re missing the point and the point is that email – like all marketing – is in service of connection. Anyone who has enjoyed a text message convo with friends knows that Good Writing and Length are not prerequisites for strong connection. It’s deeper. It’s the bond, the feeling, the exchange of ideas, the relevance, the inside jokes, the depth, the superficiality – the parts we overlook when we obsess over length.
(I address the length question in minute 5ish of the recording, so if you must know here you go.)
The same rules that apply to “how to engage with people at dinner” apply to email. Do you talk too much or too little? What kind of questions do you ask? What should you wear? Should you order drinks or is that rude? Who should pay?
How can I possibly answer those questions if I don’t know who you are at dinner with and why you’re at dinner?
Is this a date? Are you with your mom? Are you courting potential clients?
Answers will vary.
If you want to improve on email, improve your cognitive empathy and generosity. Take the perspective of someone who isn’t you and answer the question, “If I were them…why should I care?”
That is your email.
Watch the recording of Why Is No One Reading My Newsletter? where I chat with the awesome Ashley Guttuso and we discuss:
- How long should your emails be?
- When should you email?
- How often should you email?
- How can you email without being annoying?
- How important is your subject line?
- What’s a “good” open rate?
- Should I delete my list if I am pivoting my business?
- What metrics should I be looking at?
And the hack I stole from Pat Flynn