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Introduce Yourself!

CJ Chilvers
CJ Chilvers
2 min read

Wondering why email newsletters are starting to introduce themselves with every issue lately?

It’s a practice that goes back years, but was recently popularized (and templatized) by Craig Mod in his post, On Being a Good Newsletterer. He offers the following examples as introduction paragraphs he uses in his newsletters:

Hi, I’m Craig Mod and you’ve signed up for Humidity Monthly, a monthly newsletter on all things humid. Just kidding. (Although I could very easily write such a thing.) You’ve signed up for the Roden newsletter, which has no explicit theme and threatens only to inspire you to one-click unsubscribe

I’m Craig Mod and you (in theory) signed up for this weekly letter on walking — yes, walking (you know: the literature of walking, walking experiments, publishing and walking, talking-and-walking; the permutations of walking abound, and we are here to drill down into them all).

I’m Craig Mod and this is the Ridgeline newsletter about walking, mostly walking in Japan. You signed up on my website. If you’d like to unsubscribe, just click that link or the one at the bottom. One click, all done, good bye.

Since that article, Paul Jarvis updated his newsletter with the following intro:

Oh hi, I’m Paul Jarvis. You’re getting this email because you signed up for the Sunday Dispatches, a weekly newsletter on working and living online. If you’d like to hop off at any time, simply unsubscribe. I appreciate you being here.

There’s many others, but I’ll be referring mostly to Craig and Paul in the next few weeks as examples, since they have written so much in the past few years on newsletters. They’re worth subscribing to just for the newsletter best practices alone (I also bought and recommend Paul’s course, Chimp Essentials).

These intros matter. As a publisher you want to foster two primary relationships: the most important is with your reader. A distant second is with the email host/providers.

By reminding the reader of who you are and what you’re doing, you strengthen the publisher/reader relationship (read Craig’s article for more on that). Also, it’s just a nice thing to do.

By making it easy to unsubscribe up front, you’re making it easier for readers to go away (and feel good about coming back) whenever they feel like it. This increases your open rate, which allows you stretch your dollar as a newsletter publisher, and helps you look better to services like Gmail. Low open rates and a lack of responses/interactions with your newsletter can quickly land you in the spam folder, never to be seen again (even though you're spending the same amount of money to be seen).

Why haven’t you seen this in corporate newsletters yet?

Corporate newsletters tend to lag behind the indies in terms of best practices by years. They also pay to play sometimes — you can pay for higher delivery rates regardless of your open rate. There are several caveats about how that’s done, but no one outside of a big company should be concerned with it. Just be good to your readers.

Keep an eye out for your favorite newsletters and how their intros have changed/magically appeared this month!

Check out the rest of this month’s posts on creating email newsletters.

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